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Fear Factor

What’s scarier than losing a tooth?

When ASKED what my greatest fears are, my answers have been the same as far back as I can remember: the dark, deep water, and losing a tooth. I have a strong need to know what is going on around me, and pitch blackness totally impedes that ability. Similarly, deep water steals my sense of stability and control—plus, I always assume there are sharks lurking beneath me . . . even in swimming pools. (Stop laughing!) And losing a tooth is pretty self-explanatory, I think. (Basically, I love my teeth.) But recently, I realized a new fear has been added to the list that quite possibly scares me more than the other three combined: raising a daughter.

Raising a daughter?!? What exactly are you scared of, Gina? Braiding hair? Playing with dolls? Hardly. It’s not the girliness of girls that frightens me. Heck, no one loves being a girly girl more than this glitter queen! No, what scares me is the world I would be raising her in, and, ultimately, wouldn’t be able to protect her from.

When I was a girl, the world was different. There was no texting or Facebook or Tinder to make meeting guys so readily available. There wasn’t pressure to have sex in middle school, or, God forbid, elementary school. Pornography wasn’t an acceptable or glamorized career, and certainly wasn’t something you could access on your phone.

Nowadays, more and more girls are succumbing to the expectation of having sex at a young age. More are being approached by considerably older men. More are taking jobs in the adult industry. The “sexpectations” have increased and so have the outlets to fulfill them. “Sexting” has gone to a new level with inventions like Snapchat. Now, not only can girls send sexy pics, there is no direct record of them. And those girls who try to remain “good” and avoid these dangers run the risk of being bullied. It’s like a no-win scenario!
Of course, having a son wouldn’t necessarily be much easier. They’re subject to a lot of the same pressures as the girls, with the additional pressure of constantly being told to “man up” (whatever that means).

When you think about it, having kids is scary these days. You can’t monitor all their behavior all the time. If I’m ever blessed enough to have a daughter (or a son), I guess the best I can do is instill good values in her, keep those lines of communication open, warn her about the dangers of being too trusting with strangers, and make sure I’m not “in the dark” about what she’s up to.