In 1916, Margaret Sanger published What Every Girl Should Know, which addressed young women about their femininity and fertility. This book promotes a culture of “use”, where our bodies become mere instruments to be manipulated for whatever outcome we desire while masquerading under the banner of liberation and freedom.
That book title made me think. Here is what every girl should really know:
Each of you is “a good deal more than beautiful.” to borrow an expression from the incredible novel Gilead (By Marilynne Robinson). This beauty is an incredible gift to the world, and can’t be limited to your physical appearance, which is only one aspect of it (and not the most important for that matter)!
The greatest measure of your beauty is holiness–your closeness to God. Fulton Sheen explains, “Beauty on the outside never gets into the soul, but beauty of the soul reflects itself on the face.” This inner beauty manifests itself on the face; it’s captivating! Sisters, pursue holiness and virtue! You’ll be the most beautiful women around!
Furthermore, John Paul II proclaims that each woman “is the master of her own mystery as a “garden enclosed” and a “fountain sealed.” The way you carry yourself, dress, and speak all reveal the mystery that you are. This mystery is worthy of deep respect and care–you’re not meant to give your heart away to someone you just met, and shows interest in you. Prudence is needed to know how much to share, when to share, and IF you should share.
Your beauty is meant to be fierce and free, and not bound by the comparison game. Sisters, don’t compare yourselves to each other. You are God’s gift to the world! Rejoice in each other. Comparison belittles; comparison tears down; comparison leads to envy. Rejoicing builds up; rejoicing enlarges your heart; rejoicing leads to gratitude. Affirm each other’s goodness and beauty! Here is a question to reflect on: Do I build up my sisters or do I tear them down and compare myself to them?
You are made for a life-long love! Sisters, don’t settle for anything less. I can be honest: there are men that will be interested in you that are not worth your time! They may even be really attractive men. The measure of masculinity is holiness and virtue. Hold men to a higher standard; hold yourself to a higher standard. You can divide the boys from the men:
Is he a virtuous man who knows how to sacrifice his own wants and desires?
You deserve to be seen as beautiful! In our culture, a woman’s beauty is often reduced to her physique. With the rise of pornography and sexting, this lie continues to be told every day through social media, music, movies, and literature. You aren’t meant to be seen as an object that pleases the eyes. As a man, I apologize for any time that a man looked at you in this way. You are meant to be seen as the beautiful and fierce daughter of God that you are. Reflect on this question: What is media telling me about my own beauty and identity? Do I dress, speak, and act in a way that reverences my beauty?
Your fertility is a precious gift, not a disease. Your ability to conceive, nurture, and give birth is unbelievable! It’s not something to be afraid of, but something to receive as a gift. Birth control is a domination and disrespect to you; it takes a gift and distorts it. It rejects a deep and beautiful truth of who you are as a woman. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. To learn more about the gift of your fertility, check out: https://femmhealth.org/ Ask yourself: Do I view my fertility as a gift or as something to be dominated?
You’re more beautiful than you realize. The measure of your beauty comes not from your physical appearance; it is rooted deeply in the beauty of your soul. Clothe yourself with virtue and holiness. Never settle for less. Hold men to a higher standard. Receive your fertility as a gift. I can say confidently, there is nothing more attractive than a virtuous woman whose inner beauty can’t be contained and bursts forth on her face. This is what every girl should really know.