The Art of Raising Daughters in Today’s World

Audrey Hepburn epitomizes femininity, grace, and style.  For me, she represents the gold standard for womanhood.   Raising girls into womanhood today is not as straightforward or simple as it was in Audrey’s time. We have come so far as women. We can wear what we want, have whatever careers we like, and we can expect equal pay and equal rights.  Our girls go to college and return with all sorts of degrees, not just an M.R.S. (though there is nothing wrong with that either and you can read this post for my views on young marriage.)

I have four girls of my own, ranging in age from 19 to 7 years old, and I feel constantly pressured to steer them away from the gender-neutral values of society today.  Have you heard of the couple in Canada who refuse to reveal the sex of their child?  Have you seen how unisex fashion has become? Or worse yet, have you heard how girls talk these days?

Recently  I came across the book pictured below, How to be a Hepburn in a Hilton World by Jordan Christy.  What a find! The title spoke to me, and if you are into cover art, this cover says it all.

If you are the mother of girls, or if you just want to read about modern womanhood, this is a book you don’t want to miss. In the introduction, Jordan Christy defines what it means to be a stupid girl. Hint: Think of Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, and other “celebutantes” who make headlines for their antics.

Let’s be honest: our current female landscape is embarrassing, flippant, and shallow. We need to start representing a new type of it Girl—a successful, stylish, smart girl who still maintains classic ideals and values.”

In her chapter  called “Words, Words, Words” the author addresses speech patterns which have been adopted, to include like and whatever,  as well as how unintelligent many girls sound in conversation today due to vulgarity and poor syntax. She provides suggestions for activities that will help girls to think and speak outside of their comfort zone.  Blessedly, she does reminds us that silence is golden and we need not fill every silence with endless words

The chapters in this book include:

  • Keep Your Chin Up and Your Skirt Down (about self respect)
  • Words, Words, Words
  • Use Some Elbow Grease (about work ethics)
  • Choose Your Friends Wisely
  • Let Him Come Calling
  • Dress to Impress
  • Less is More (about makeup)
  • Have Your Cake and Eat It Too  (about healthy eating and keeping dieting in perspective)

This book is a wonderful guide for parents today. Jordan Christy provides sound advice illustrated with both positive and negative examples of people in the headlines today.  She is a publicist in the music industry, and she has her finger on the pulse of the latest trends. I bought this book for my 19-year-old daughter to read.

As Catholics, we are called to be the gold standard of good behavior in society.  We should dress modestly, and we need not sacrifice fashion to do so. We should be models of propriety in a world of temptations and distractions.  However, this does not mean that we cannot enjoy life, and Jordan Christy does a great job of covering the basics of good, feminine behavior in a way which speaks to women of today. I would recommend this book for girls age 16 and older, and for mothers of girls. I know I can sometimes get on a soapbox with my children when it comes to some of these topics. Therefore, it is nice to have someone else say these things for me, in a language my girls may actually hear.

Raising daughters is truly an art, perhaps it is the art of balancing on a high wire without a net, and we only get one chance to do it right. I think I will go get my girls and put on a favorite DVD, My Fair Lady, and watch Audrey Hepburn in action

Lily lives in the mountains of New York and is happily raising four girls and two boys with her husband of 20 years. Visit her blog, Never Fading Wood, to read more about the books she is reading and the family she loves.