God Made Girls to Do More Than Impress Boys

I grew up in a Southern Baptist Church, the same one I still attend every Sunday. On Wednesday nights, I help teach a group of elementary school girls about missionary work. My co-teacher is much better at sticking to the lesson plans than I am. Mostly, I just want to talk to the girls, tell them things I wish I had been told at their age. I want to tell them that they do not have to fit into society’s definition of “beautiful.” They do not have to “act like a lady” in order to have manners. And they certainly do not have to act in accordance with men’s actions.

 Photo by London Scout via Unsplash

Photo by London Scout via Unsplash

A while ago, I stumbled upon the song “God Made Girls” by RaeLynn. After watching the music video, looking up the lyrics just to be sure, and gaping for a while, I posted a link to Facebook and went on a tangent that probably got me unfriended by at least five people.

This song could have been something really beautiful if its message was that God made girls for a multitude of reasons: the same reasons for which He made boys. But it isn’t. This song argues that God made girls for completely different reasons than he made boys—and yeah, most of those reasons are pretty dang shallow.

According to this song, God made girls to wear pretty skirts, be the ones to flirt, and want to hold his hand (whomever “he” is). God made girls to make him get dressed up, give him a reason to wash his truck, and teach him how to dance.

Apparently, RaeLynn thinks boys can’t do any of the above (And apparently, she thinks that girls would only do these things for boys, never other girls. But that’s a whole other can of worms.)

So RaeLynn, I hate to break it to you, but God didn’t make girls or boys to do any of the above. You don’t have to fit into a societally recognised gender stereotype (or just a societally recognised gender, full stop) to have a purpose.

On its own, this song isn’t that much of a problem. Some traditionalist wrote something about antiquated stereotypes of women. So what? Well, the “so what” is that the music video alone has over 30 million views on YouTube. That, combined with those listening on Spotify, Apple Music, and the radio, means a boatload of people have heard this song. And many of those people have probably been girls.

It’s a little country, a little pop—an all-around fun song if you’re into that kind of music. And I want to like it so badly; I really do. The melody and video are lovely in many ways, and some of the lyrics do tell these girls whom God made that they are strong, beautiful creatures who deserve independent recognition (that’s like three lines, but I’m trying to be fair here).

But the real problem with this song (other than the fact that the music video places the whole of “girls” in a straight, white, feminine, cisgender, middle-class stereotype) is that the only validation it gives girls is expressed through the validation they give boys.

Of course, by any indication of the title alone, this song is directed primarily at girls like me, who grew up in the church. If you had shown me this song in sixth grade, I probably would have learned every lyric and played it in the car with my mom driving home from school. Looking back, I wouldn’t blame myself for enjoying the song. It wasn’t my fault I bought into this idea of woman being made for man. It was simply the way I had been taught my whole life.

Speaking from a Christian standpoint, I know that woman was made from man and for man’s companionship. That’s basic, elementary-level Sunday school stuff. But what no one tells you is that this does not mean she should be defined by her humble beginning or her usefulness. God did not make girls to highlight their gendered counterparts. I refuse to believe in a God who would bring into existence such a creature, especially one of those whom He calls His precious children.

As more or less one-half of the blanket group “humanity,” women should have exactly as much independence as men to be described as beautifully and wonderfully made (full stop), not beautifully and wonderfully made... because man needed [insert antiquated stereotype here]. Women should have as much independence as men to be who they want, whether or not that matches this song and society’s general description.

I hope no one interprets this as an impulsive, angry response to how society (and in particular focus, the Church) raises girls to become women. It’s not. Instead, take it as a reminder that we should be empowering our girls to be strong, courageous, proud, and self-sufficient.

So girls, please know this: You can wear pretty skirts, be the ones to flirt, and want to hold his hand—but never forget that this does not define you. You are worth very, very much without him. You are worth more than enough on your own.