September Young Women Lesson: How Do I Guard My Virtue?

September Young Women Lesson: How Do I Guard My Virtue?

Click for French Translation/Traduction en français
The outline for this lesson is here and the corresponding Young Men’s lesson is How Can I Resist Pornography? Despite not including it in the lesson title, the outline for the young women talks a lot about pornography and both lessons use the same scripture sources. Keep in mind the ages and maturity of the youth you are teaching and respect the boundaries of the parents. If you are going to go in the direction of discussing pornography, I think it would be wise to type up your outline and what quotes/scriptures you will be using and send that to the parents ahead of time.

I will first give ideas for a general “virtue” lesson. After that, I’ll add “bonus” material for pornography discussion.

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Performing Gender

A week and a half ago I cut my hair. A lot. I buzzed it to half an inch.IMG_5262

My initial thoughts were, “Oh wow. There actually is some family resemblance between me and my brothers!” I had gone most of my life having no idea how we could possibly look related. But buzz my head? Spitting image of my brother. Who knew?

It’s made me think about how I represent my gender. I’ve always identified as a heterosexual woman/girl. My gender and sexual identity have always been clear to me, but this haircut, which is culturally “masculine”, has made me think about all the times I’ve tried on different levels of femininity and masculinity.

I don’t remember being particularly “girly” nor do I remember being a “tomboy.” The same fifth grade self who wrote a diatribe against pink for an assignment made sure she wore an anklet, necklace, bracelet, and hair bow every week at church. I loved dressing up.

When I joined speech team my freshman year in high school, I bought my first  suit. I loved the feeling of power wearing pinstripes. It looked good on me and I wish I still had it!

When I went to BYU, I started a collection of ties I acquired from DI. I would wear them to class, to church, everywhere. Those were the days of the Avril Lavigne tie style. I couldn’t get enough of the ties. I remember doing my makeup in costume-like colors and juxtaposing the tie with formal wear to dances and thinking, “Yeah, I’m a girl, but I can wear this tie better than any of the guys here.”

Oddly enough, I didn’t try wearing pants to church until 3 years ago when I was nursery leader and the calling nearly necessitated pants. (small plug for wear pants to church day this Sunday!)

I have tried different lengths of hair, different levels of make up, different levels of shaving/plucking, etc. It’s fun. Part of the motivation behind this haircut is wondering, “If I take off my hair, will I still be feminine?” The answer is, “Heck yes!” And I love that I’ve been able to “try out” different ends of the masculinity/femininity spectrum in my life. In the end, I think I’m rather feminine and you can’t mistake that, though I like to be feminine with a very easy hairdo.

Do you consider yourself culturally feminine? Masculine? Neither? Both? How do you represent that?

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The Best New Year’s Resolution I Ever Made

vintage-weight-gain-ad-2A couple years ago as it came time for New Year’s goals, I realized that I had made the same goal every year since I was thirteen—I would lose some weight (five pounds or ten or twenty–depending on the year and how much I hated what the scale said).

It made for a lot of miserable Januarys and a few miserable Decembers since I’d justify eating extra even if I wasn’t hungry because the food was delicious and available. And throughout the year, I’d continue this pattern—as the seasons changed, when big family events occurred, when I started blaming the dryer for shrinking my clothes–until I realized that I was living my life in two speeds: dieting and preparing to diet.

It was so much a part of my life, one that didn’t necessarily make me happy or fulfilled, but something I felt like I had to do.

So, for 2012, I vowed not to diet for a whole year. A year would give me time to really see what happened to my body. If I gained a million pounds, I gave myself permission to reassess at the end of the year. I had lived in one of those gears for so long, I really had no idea what would happen.

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Guest Post: The Miracle of Forgiveness

By East River Lady

(CW & TW: child and sexual abuse; suicide)


“Ask God for forgiveness first.”
“Okay. God, please forgive me…”

Right before my teenage cousin told me to perform a sexual act on him, he told me to pray to God and ask for forgiveness for the sin I was about to commit. I was around six years old at the time. I realize now, it wasn’t me who should’ve been asking for forgiveness. And I realize he was distorting the beautiful gospel principle that forgiveness is. At the time, I didn’t even think for a second my cousin was at fault. Perhaps it was because I was used to it. Around the same time, my mother had a friend with a teenage son. One evening, when my mother and her friend were in the other room talking, the son took a break from playing a computer game and came over to where I was sitting on the couch. He then proceeded to sexually molest and abuse me.

Growing up, I thought nothing of it. My uncle would make detailed comments about my body and how beautiful it looked and would have me spin around to show his brother how pretty I looked. And then I would be given a dollar. This same uncle would even watch pornography with me in the room. He told me to cover my eyes, but I could hear. It was my father, surprisingly enough, who let me see. He would show me pornographic pictures on the internet. Again, I thought nothing of it.

But my soul knew differently.

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Books (That I Think) Everyone Should Read

I’m not sure how many copies of The Two-Income Trap: Why Middle-Class Mothers and Fathers Are Going Broke (Basic Books, $19.99) I’ve bought over the last ten years. It’s a book I keep lending to people, and sometimes it comes back to me and sometimes it doesn’t, so if I buy two copies at a time I always have one to pass on to someone else. I’m happy to do so, and I hope the copies I give people get passed along to someone else, because I think every woman in America should read this book. Elizabeth Warren and Amelia Warren Tyagi explain what changed in America economically between the 1970s and the 2000s, what it’s doing to family economics, and why the rules that our parents taught us simply don’t apply any more. Bankruptcy laws have changed since 2003, but the basic trends that Warren and Tyagi identify are even more firmly established than they were when the book was written.

The same goes for The Gift of Fear (Dell, $16), Gavin de Becker’s how-to-deal guide that has “This book can save your life” splashed across the front of it.

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