Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Sigh. Another Post About Modesty and Teenage Girls

So this blog is a response to this - which is viral amongst my Christian friends and many of my non-Christian friends who are mothers of boys. 

First of all, this mom is trying to lookout for the moral welfare of her boys.  If you haven't read the blog, it talks about how they go through their boys' Facebook friends on a semi-regular basis around the kitchen table and delete the teenage girls from their boys' friends lists who have posted selfies in their PJs that might be sexual.  Or not sexual, but bra-less.

I have several issues with this blog.

First of all, one of the first things I see when I go to this mom's page is a picture of her family at the beach.  All of her boys are wearing swim trunks and bare chests.

I have serious issues wish her saying that teenage girls can't post pictures of themselves without bras (but covered in PJs), but her boys are allowed to post pictures of themselves making muscles without shirts at the beach.  This is a huge double standard.  HUGE.

Second she is basically saying that these girls posting pictures of themselves in their pajamas makes it impossible or nearly impossible for her sons to continue to view them as respectable, equal human beings.

So - the message I'm getting from the post is:

1.  Girls don't have hormones and are completely unaffected by pictures of scantily clad men showing of their strength.

2.  Women hold a huge responsibility for their own objectification, dehumanization, and possible rape.

3.  Men can't be held responsible for continuing to view smart, interesting, incredible women as "women of character" if they post any pictures of themselves that could be construed as sexual.

Oy.

The prize of virginity in girls, the shaming of girls who love their bodies and who might be experimenting with sex...  Oh, Church...  this is why society is running from you as fast as their legs can carry them.

I know this mom has a good heart.  All of the women I know who posted this have beautiful hearts.  We want the very best for the teenagers in our lives.  And maybe these girls should think more highly of themselves than trying to get attention by posting these pictures.  Or maybe they are proud of their beauty.  Or maybe they're just experimenting with this stage in their lives and their raging hormones.  It doesn't matter why they're posting them.  What matters is that they are.  And that saying that these boys need to turn away in order to maintain respect for these girls is the wrong message.  These boys need to be taught that women have bodies.  Women have sexuality.  Women think about sex.  Women are sexual beings.  AND they deserve respect as equal partners in earthly stewardship.  AND they are capable of great and intellectual feats.  AND they sometimes wear bikinis - and this is not an excuse to see them as objects.

So girls - yes - think before you post.  Remember that people of all ages and types can and will see your pictures - and that the internet has an extremely long memory.  I think we would all do well to remember this.

And boys - if you don't like something a girl has posted because you feel like it makes her look less than beautiful or that it might attract the wrong sort of man's attention - tell her that you think her other pictures are more beautiful.  If it bothers you, look away.  Women love to be lovely.  Women are constantly asking if they are beautiful enough.  So look past the PJ bra-less pic and answer her question in the positive.  See the beauty in the girl - not the body for you to lust after.  It's not fair for females to have all the responsibility for your morality.

And moms - talk to your boys about sex.  Be frank and honest.  Talk to them about girls and their bodies and how they like to be beautiful.  Spill  your guts about your premarital sex and your ex-boyfriends and what it felt like to be dumped/objectified/wolf-whistled at. Talk to them about feelings and about sex-trafficking and talk to them about their responsibility to women.  I don't think much will be accomplished by deleting their Facebook friends who you say are really nice, smart girls - but a lot will be accomplished by your openness.

After reading many other responses to this particular piece, I found one that I thought said everything, but with so much more grace than mine.  Thought you might like to read that as well, so I linked it up here.

4 comments:

andekat3 said...

Standing "O". BRAVO!!!

Karen Janowsky said...

I think she took issue with the pose more so than the p.j.'s. I wasn't thrilled with everything she had to say either, but overall yeah, I think teenage girls especially need to stop objectifying themselves, which is often the starting point for posting questionable pictures of themselves. I got that double-standard vibe also, and also took issue with the deleting friends (I agree it's better to discuss rather than delete/become overprotective of what kids see, within reason). But, having said that, the thinking before you post, self-respect, deciding on what kind of image of oneself you wish to convey--those are all good messages.

Healing said...

"women are constantly asking if they are beautiful enough." that's true :)

Healing said...

My first husband I met when I was showing a lot of body. He was disrespectful and always talking about other women's bodies. My current husband says he fell in love with me partly because I don't show everything like most other females. And he still always tells me I'm the most beautiful woman, and he doesn't spend his time looking at other bodies for pleasure, by the grace of God. So I think it's good incentive to dress in a way that makes you look pretty and beautiful, instead of "hot." Relationship books tell you the same! One type of guy is looking for pleasure, the other for commitment. :)
Also, women need to get their sense of being beautiful and loved and wanted from Jesus. He really does think you are beautiful.

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