Dear People of the Internet,

I write to you today because of an increasing epidemic on social media. Let me first explain the situation:

Yesterday I was sitting at the vet scrolling through Facebook as I waited on the vet to come in the room. There in my newsfeed, I saw a picture. It was two pretty girls in their 20s standing together. They were a little dolled up but nothing too fancy. By all accounts, it was a nice picture.

I continued scrolling and saw a picture from the same pretty 20-something. This picture was much different than the first. This one was a selfie with her Upper Lady Parts (ULP) almost fully exposed and pushed up to her chin.

Same girl in both pictures.

The normal picture had 10 likes.

The ULP picture had 56.

They were posted within minutes of each other.

We have a problem on our hands that’s getting worse by the day. Teenage and 20-something girls are posting pictures to social media with more and more skin showing. That on its own is troubling, but that’s another issue for a different day. The issue at hand today is the part we play in this epidemic:

We are enabling a generation of girls to put their self worth in what random people on the internet think of their body.

When we “like” or “favorite” the pictures of the ULPs, we tell those girls the best way for them to get attention is by showing off their body. Conversely, when we think, “Oh, that’s a cute picture” and continue scrolling past the normal, fully clothed, ULPs covered-up pictures without acknowledging them, we reinforce the idea that girls must take their clothes off to get noticed.

We need to start paying attention to the pictures in sweat pants and cat t-shirts.

We need to acknowledge the normal and every day occurrences that are worth celebrating.

We need to be able to tell girls they’re worth more than a push-up bra and Instagram filter.

If you’re reading this letter and have bought into the lie that you have to show your body to get noticed, let me say something to you that maybe no one has ever said to you before: you are worth more than your body. Your mind and soul are so much more valuable than the skin that encases them. You deserve to be noticed for who and what you are, not what you look like. You deserve someone who will honor you, respect you, and serve you for you and not your body. If you are seeking approval and self-worth in your looks, you will never find it.

Who you are will last much longer than gravity defying ULPs and great skin.

You were made to be more than a piece of meat on the internet.

On behalf of those of us who may have given you the wrong impression, I apologize. I apologize we haven’t made it more clear before now that we’d rather see you smiling in sweat pants than making duck faces in clothes that don’t fit. I apologize we made you think you had to look or act a certain way to get our attention. I apologize that we didn’t initially accept you for who you are.

Our likes and favorites hold more weight than we realize.

What we acknowledge and celebrate will become what people continue to do.

Let’s celebrate what truly matters.

Say your prayers and take your vitamins.

Have a nice day.