Monday, November 1, 2010

Own it!

By: Melissa Atkins Wardy

Last night I read an apology posted on a blog belonging to a young television star who is at the center of a controversy surrounding racy photographs taken of her for a men’s magazine. Let me restate that, photographs she participated in, for a men’s magazine.

I’m sure you have heard the whole story by now, but what has really struck me as interesting is how the stars explained themselves, and made a lame attempt to apologize.
I am currently raising two preschoolers, a four year old and a two year old. I frequently feel like a prison guard, controlling riots and breaking up yard fights.

The two year olds’ favorite game to play is “Wild Animals” in which he tackles his sister from behind, sits on her, and bites her hair. Needless to say, my crew issues quite a few apologies back and forth throughout the course of the average day.

I don’t mind that I have ‘high energy kids’, as I like to call them. While I sit here in the quiet of a house when everyone is sleeping, I can honestly say I enjoy the craziness and crack up at the insane situations the kids get themselves into.

You have to be able to laugh at yourself, while scolding the two year old after removing him from his sister’s head, when you say, “Ben! We are not wild animals and we do not bite people on the hair!”

Which brings me to my point – the apology. I realize the boy lacks impulse control. He is two. But he needs to develop some emotional intelligence and empathy towards his poor, saliva-covered sister.

So every time he is a rascal, he has to stand face to face and say, “Amelia, I am sorry I made you feel______.” Hurt. Scared. Slimey.

For the age of two, that is an acceptable apology. Now what if he were a famous 24 year old television actress whose participation in a super sexy photo shoot left her fans, and the parents of her fans, in an uproar? The thing NOT to say is, "Well! I'm sorry if you're offended!" That isn’t really an apology, because there is no ownership of action. Nor is the right thing to do to shift blame, deflect responsibility, or claim you don’t know how it happened.

I don’t know how magic happens, but I do know how young women end up with their clothes off in front of a photographer. I’d much rather hear an apology that is authentic, mature, and demonstrates ownership: "I participated in a photo shoot that I wasn't necessarily comfortable with as it went on, and in hindsight I made poor decisions in what I agreed to wear and how I agreed to pose. These photos do not reflect who I am nor do they show respect to my fans, many of whom are young. I apologize for my actions, and will do better in the future."

When you hurt someone, let them down, or scare them, apologize and mean it. Care about that other person. If my two year old can do it, so can you.screamfree, parenting, young girls, oversexualization of girls 
Melissa Atkins Wardy is the owner of Pigtail Pals – Redefine Girly, an empowering apparel and gift company for girls.
She advocates and writes about issues involving the sexualization of girlhood. Check out her website at
You can read her blog at:,find her on Facebook Pals or on Twitter at @PigtailPals.

It is time we change the way we think about our girls.

No comments:

Post a Comment