Precious Self-Esteem

PreciousLast week, I went to see the movie “Precious” with two of my friends, primarily because one of my friends really wanted to see it after reading the book. My friends summary of the book sparked our interest, so we all decided to go see it together.

The movie is about Precious, a 16 year old girl who had been raped by her father since the age of three. He fathered two children with her. In addition, she was also violently beaten and sexually abused by her mother. There was a scene in which her mother threw a TV at her as she was walking down the stairs with her newborn baby. Precious dealt with the abuse perhaps because she felt she had no way out. She was not aware of where she could get help. She didn’t know who she should talk to or who she could trust. Among many of the themes in the movie, this lack of resources was one of them. She was unaware of the many resources that could help her with her home situation.

It is so important to spread awareness of resources to help people deal with rape, domestic violence, and child abuse. Obviously, frightened teens are not going to go up to people who they don’t know or trust and tell them their life story, but if the resources are accessible, I believe it will reduce the chances of teens dealing with these issues on their own.

Towards the end of the movie, Precious started meeting people who helped to support her to get out of her horrible situation. For instance, her teacher Ms. Rain found out about Precious’ home situation through her journal. Precious wrote a journal entry every day as a requirement for her class. Although she wasn’t required to reveal her fears or secrets in her journal, she felt like she could trust her teacher. Ms. Rain and welfare social worker eventually helped Precious move out of her parent’s house.

Can you imagine being in Precious’ shoes? Severely beaten and sexually abused by both of your parents? How would that affect your self-esteem? Self-esteem is your self image and how you feel about yourself. You probably wouldn’t feel good if you were abused day after day and told that you were worthless and stupid by the people who gave you life.

In the movie, Precious is portrayed as a big girl, but I think that her self-esteem issues go beyond that. A lot of people assume that big girls have a negative self-esteem, but that’s not always true. This idea is formed by the notion that skinny=beautiful. However, there is no exact definition of beauty, because everyone is beautiful no matter their shape, size or color. So, Precious may not necessarily have had negative self-esteem because of her weight. In the movie, she pictures her life as a Hollywood star singing and dancing (as a big girl-not as a skinny girl).

What’s not surprising is that Precious has negative self-esteem because of the remarks she hears from other people. She feels bad when her mother calls her stupid and says she is incapable of learning. It hurts her to such an extent that she ends up believing it. However, as the movie goes a long she realizes that she is capable of learning, and that she isn’t stupid. The love for her son motivates her to learn and progress in life.

Although her life is tough, her strong character enables her to reconstruct her self-esteem and begin to change the course of her life. Precious is a great example for many young women. She was able to cope with all of her struggles and continue her education despite the abuse and lack of support from her parents and having two young children. I feel that Precious was able to re-build her self-esteem because other people cared enough to reach out and show her how to access resources that would ultimately change her life.

For more information about self-esteem, check out our health guide.