I recently read a blog post that several of my friends have been sharing like the common cold on Facebook. The article was directed at teenage girls, and was written by the mother of teenage boys. Her main point, I believe, was that girls should protect their modesty. When they share bathroom pictures of themselves scantily clad via social media with her sons, they are sharing that with the whole family. (this is a good point, anything you put on social media is out there for everyone, and should be viewed that way!) She also went on to say that those types of pictures weren’t welcome in their home.
I agree about the modesty issue. Not only are many girls posting inappropriate pictures and dressing in clothes we wouldn’t necessarily approve of, it’s getting harder and harder to even buy clothes that are appropriate because less clothes is the norm. The shorts get shorter and the tops get shorter too. I also respect the blogger’s decision to monitor what comes into her home, and what appears before the eyes of her children. That’s a good call, one every parent has to make. I did not appreciate that the article featured photos of her sons in swim trunks at the beach. Is it okay for men to only wear one item of clothing and for women to look at their bodies, but not vice versa? Kind of a double standard, in my opinion.
What bothered me the most, however, was the placing of blame for any potential problems these photos caused the blogger’s sons, on the girls whose pictures they looked at. The article stated:
“Did you know that once a male sees you in a state of undress, he can’t ever un-see it? You don’t want the ‘____’ boys to only think of you in this sexual way, do you??”
I have a huge problem with that. If you don’t want your sons to think inappropriate thoughts about girls, then you need to teach them that women are not objects to be judged by their outward appearance. You teach those sons how to be men, by showing respect to all women regardless of their wardrobe. That attitude is a more subtle reflection of a larger national problem. We live in a society that skirts the line between forward thinking and fostering a rape culture. What does that mean? It means we have created a culture that makes young girls think that boys won’t even notice them if they don’t act in a provocative fashion. It makes men expect to see women as sexual objects and not individuals. Women in our media are objects. We talk about women’s rights and being modern but when it comes to music/tv/books and movies, we dehumanize women by focusing on their physical appearance and nothing else.
In all honesty, it’s not just men who treat women this way, it’s other women too. Think about your basic woman’s magazine and how many advertisements in that magazine will be geared toward making women more attractive, younger looking, or more sexual. We feed the beast with all that junk.
So why are those young girls posting selfies in their pj’s? Because society is telling them to do it. They are being told at every turn that this is where their value lies and that if they don’t want to be left behind, then this is how they have to act to keep up.
Modesty is an important message for girls. Girls are awesome, I am one. We need to teach them to respect themselves and make healthy choices. Just as important, however, is that we need to teach boys how to control themselves, and that women are awesome, and not just an outlet for sexual frustration.