“I Am Only 16 Years Old”

May 5, 2016

I am only 16 years old.

The sexualization of my body is not my problem; it’s yours.

If you look at me and think, “She’s too young to be wearing that!” then I’m too young to be sexualized.

You should not be teaching me that my shoulders, bra straps, belly button, legs or back are a distraction in class. You should be teaching your male students and faculty to not over-sexualize female body parts.

Stop telling me to change out of my tank top, and start telling the men to be more respectful toward women of all ages.

I do not understand why you’re telling me “Boys will be boys.” Is that just an excuse for that boy who just whistled at me because I am wearing shorts? Is that just an excuse for why women are treated as sex objects? Is that just an excuse for boys to objectify and sexually assault girls everyday?

Stop showing me pictures on TV of half naked women just so you can sell an overpriced cheeseburger.

Showing pictures of girls and women portrayed as sex objects makes people more accepting of sexual harassment, stereotyping, victim blaming, and violence against women.

You have been teaching me all of these years that the mitochondria is the powerhouse of the cell. Why haven’t you been teaching me how to protect myself from older, sexually driven men?

One in four girls under the age of 18 years old gets sexually abused.

Just because I have to walk home from work at night, because I am unable to drive, doesn’t mean that you can cat call me and ask me how much I sell for.

Do not tell me that I can wear shorts that go past my fingertips, then punish me for wearing jeans that have a hole in the knee because it looks “trashy.”

I refuse to stand for rules (implied or explicit) that enforce rape culture and slut shaming.

Quit telling me that “it’s all about my appearance,” and “you don’t need makeup to be pretty!” How about you tell me, “You don’t have to be pretty to be a valuable, respected, and an important human being.”

My appearance has nothing to do with my intelligence or self-respect.

What I wear shouldn’t be affecting you in any way.

Stop teaching me at such a young age that I need to look the prettiest.

And please, stop sexualizing me.

I am only 16 years old.


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  • M

    MakaylaSep 2, 2016 at 2:07 pm

    PREACH! About time someone has spoken up about this issue.

  • D

    Debbie BurnsMay 6, 2016 at 7:33 am

    Awesome words. Very well said. Love you Maddie

  • J

    JenniferMay 6, 2016 at 6:48 am

    This article is so eloquently written and on point. Knowing you personally, I say thank you for having written this. Keep fighting the good fight. much LoVe.

  • D

    Dylan GregoryMay 5, 2016 at 10:51 pm

    This is actually so amazingly good. Wow