“FYI (if you’re a teenage girl)“* came up in my facebook news feed a lot yesterday. It’s being shared with such enthusiasm that I was eager to read it. I hoped its advice for teenage girls about their facebook activities would live up to the hype.
But instead, when I read it, my heart sank. Although the post is well-intended, the author, Kimberly Hall, makes a tremendous error: She places the responsibility for her teenage boys’ sexual desires on teenage girls, rather than on the boys themselves.
For example, addressing her sons’ female friends, she writes: “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 Hall boys to only think of you in this sexual way, do you?”
Well, no. I’m sure that her sons’ female friends don’t want to be thought of only in a sexual way, considering that they are complex human beings with a range of feelings, ideas and interests. So why ask these questions? Doing so places the blame for her sons’ thoughts and desires squarely on the shoulders of the teenage girls they know–dodging the fact that boys are responsible for how they choose (yes, choose) to think of the girls in their lives.
I suspect that Hall’s post has gone viral because so many people are concerned with teenage girls’ self-presentation on facebook. We’ve all seen it: teenage girls trying to mimic the scantily-clad celebrities and models plastered on billboards and magazine covers. And naturally, people want to do something about it. After all, the implications of our media culture’s sexualization of girls is serious: As the American Psychological Association has noted, when girls learn that our culture values their appearances above all else about them, they may in turn learn to sexualize themselves–and the impact of self-sexualization on girls’ self-esteem and self-image is devastating. The damage of thinking of oneself first and foremost as an object can take a lifetime to undo.
Furthermore, once a photograph is online, it’s essentially impossible to remove it from the internet. So when girls place sexually provocative “selfies” of themselves to facebook, it’s a huge issue. For example, the photos can be used by bullies to shame the girls–and they can resurface years later, too, causing myriad problems in their lives.
But these are not problems that would affect Mrs. Hall’s sons. They would affect the girls themselves. Furthermore, the sexual double-standard in our society is so pervasive that any “sexy” photos the boys may post of themselves are unlikely to cause them similar harm.
We are living in a post-Steubenville world (which I wrote about here). We have seen graphic evidence of the results of the sexual objectification of young girls, and of the victim-blaming mindset–that a girl who presents herself in a sexy way “deserves it.”
Therefore, for parents like Mrs. Hall who are concerned about their sons’ well-being, their best course is not to focus on shaming girls and controlling their behavior.
Instead, we must teach our sons compassion. Help them understand that girls’ self-sexualization is prompted by a toxic culture.
We must teach our sons to always respect girls. Help them see them girls as complex human beings, like themselves—never simply as sex objects.
Our boys MUST be taught these lessons. They must know that when a girl engages in sexually provocative behavior, her behavior does not give boys a “pass” to dwell exclusively on the girls’ sexuality. Nor does it entitle them to expect sexual favors from girls, or to pressure them sexually in any way.
Contrary to popular opinion, boys are not animals. They can practice self-control. And yes, it takes practice. But if we focus on raising our sons, rather than chastising other people’s daughters, it’s possible.
*Note: I link to the cached version of Kimberly Hall’s article instead of the current version because several days after my post was published, she edited her blog post. One of her edits was to the sentences I quoted. A full discussion with more details may be found on my facebook page.
UPDATE, Sept. 6, 2013 at 9:40 a.m.:
Last night, I was a guest on CKNW AM Vancouver’s The Shift with Mike Eckford, chatting about my response to Mrs. Hall, raising compassionate sons, and the sexualization of teenage girls.
My segment is embedded below; just click on the 8:22 mark to find it.
Thanks for listening!
For further reading:
- The APA’s report on the sexualization of girls may be found here.
Rebecca Hains is a professor at Salem State University. Follow her on facebook and twitter.
Love this response!
Thank you! I, too, read that and wondered why Mrs. Hall doesn’t think she should educate and control her *boys*?
Oh. Yeah. ‘Cause she’s a sexist idiot.
Absolutely loved this post! I read the FYI post and honestly couldn’t believe that it was a serious post I was so shocked and horrified on how not only how she viewed the young vulnerable women posting these images, but the male species also!
I’m sure she created the post with the best intentions, but it’s kind of scary to see how women are perceived in this day an age, not only by men, but by women also!
I don’t think she’s a sexist idiot. That is very harsh. I expect if you’ve read her response to all of this, you will see that she certainly does wish to educate her boys in a manner respective of girls. It’s completely irresponsible of parents to ignore training a child of either sex as to what is appropriate behavior.
Not to overstate the obvious, but biologically, men are high in testosterone and once in/past puberty are inclined to virtually immediately think “sex” when presented with something remotely sexual, and then, God willing, they will immediately work on not objectifying the female. I don’t think parents of girls or even adult women out there have thought all that much about the impression our scanty or sexy clothing makes on people- men or women. I’m turned off when I see a woman trying to look sexy or a man for that matter. I think many people are either uncomfortable with the display or they are turned on for at least a time and have to consciously work to not pay attention to that. Neither of which results in the most productive way to present yourself to another person for any type of communication- unless of course the person is looking for some “action”. There is so much here. I believe this mom was probably fed up with seeing these photos and struck back, perhaps without thinking of how to accurately get a loving message through to the girls.
As a Mom of pre and slightly pubescent boys, I have been appalled to see how many of our “young ladies” dress, pose and otherwise purposely try to entice these young guys via photos of selves or in person acting clearly flirtatiously. Lots of the boys aren’t even interested at this age.I immediately fell into this mom’s camp because I have been upset by this behavior recently.Perhaps if my children were much younger or older, this wouldn’t be as much in my attention as it is at this time in my life.
For the record, my daughter is 14 and we began discussing these issues from an early age “Polly Pockets” dress inappropriately for their body shape. She now is , thank the Lord, neither immodest or really body conscious but aware of how boys might view her if dressed sexually rather than femininely. She has plenty of guy and girl friends. My ten year old son heard us talking about this topic and immediately offered that some girls are “inappropriate” (Big word in our house, I guess).Parent need to do a better job with this. It’d be nice if culture didn’t sexualize so much also, but I think it’s best to at least start at home.
I agree with this assessment. Yes, young men need to be taught self control. Their decisions are their, and only their, responsibility. Period. However, the reality is that young men are highly visual creatures and their trials with hormones are 10 times more difficult than young women’s. The question that begs an answer is, “Why would a young woman pose in such a provocative manner and post it for everyone to see? What is she hoping to gain from it? Anytime we post pictures or make a statement, especially on the Internet, we have a reason for doing it. Is she evil for posting it? No. Is she wise? Probably not. Some may be totally unaware that it may cause an issue, and those aren’t the ones that are the problem. But some are and they are the challenge. So what should we parents of sons do? We should absolutely teach them that each person is special and needs to be treated as if they are. But anyone who thinks that young men will not be affected is either naive or stupid. Naïveté can be forgiven; stupidity must be educated. So as a parent of young men, I have very few resources available to me, and one is to teach them to choose friends that respect their standards. Respect is a 2-way street and so is friendship. If the young ladies’ attitudes are, so to speak, to accept me as I a without accepting the other person’s standards, them he or she is no friend–on Facebook or otherwise. However, I had a similar challenges with the boys picture of them on the beach; it seemed to imply a double standard in view of the topic.
“(Boys’) trials with hormones are 10 times more difficult than young women’s.” Are you serious???? I’m willing to bet that their trials with controlling their sex drive might be 10 times more difficult than young women’s, but please don’t underestimate the effect of hormones on teen girls. I assume you went through puberty once, and perhaps even had monthly cycles, but perhaps you’ve forgotten what it was all like.
I think these last two responses shift away from the most dire point that is trying to be made: it isn’t the girls’ fault just as much as it isn’t the boys’ fault, either. Sure, women may have more self control sexually, but when you’re told from the womb through media, the sexualization of women, and the enforcement of these messages through peers that your power amounts only to how much sexual appeal you have, can you really blame the girls either? Neither the girls or boys are really the problem, it’s messages they receive about their self worth and the worth of others.
Maria, Yes, I did deal with hormones and yes I remember, and now I have sons. I wouldn’t trade for anything. I was an idiot then, but at least I was don’t have any immodest photos to embarrass me. I made enough stupid mistakes. Elizabeth, I agree that there has been way over much sexualization of women and men, but that isn’t going to be reversed until people start considering the other person rather than their own right to do a thing. Rights bring responsibilities. Just as men have the responsibility to guard their own thoughts, women have a responsibility to make sure their own motives and thoughts are pure. The golden rule, Do unto others as you would have others do to you, has undergirded every successful civilization in the world. A girl doesn’t have to wear a tent, but posing in a provocative manner is equally uncalled for.
‘women have a responsibility to make sure their own motives and thoughts are pure.’
‘The golden rule: Do unto others as you would have others do to you, has undergirded every successful civilization in the world.’
A girls hormones might get her pregnant. A boys hormones could get him killed. FTFY
“Neither the girls or boys are really the problem, it’s messages they receive about their self worth and the worth of others.”
Amen to that. Which is why we really try to limit the overall amount of media our kids are exposed to, period. I get that you ‘can’t shelter them from everything’ and all that, but I think our overall strategy could be accurately summarized as “minimize exposure to the negative crap, and then talk openly about that which you’d love to avoid but aren’t able to”.
Yes! This is exactly the issue!
Speak for yourself, ladies! Myself and plenty of women I know have very strong sex drives that can get us in just as much trouble as men. Not to mention, this is a very gender binary discussion. You can’t just winnow every teen into the “boy” or “girl” category, then set about labeling them and assuming you know what they think and feel based on your labels.
Also: ” I think many people are either uncomfortable with the display or they are turned on for at least a time and have to consciously work to not pay attention to that.” Or maybe we’re turned and we just enjoy it and move on, rather than punishing ourselves for being human. If I see something I find pleasing in some way (a flower, a sunset, a beautiful and/or sexy person) I just appreciate the sight and move on. I don’t hate myself for being a sexual person and then externalize my hatred onto a person who probably just wanted to feel good about themselves.
I really don’t think anyone needs to teach boys self control. I think they already have it. I think one of the biggest problems right now is that people are not letting boys be boys. In fact, I believe Newsweek had an cover article on that subject a few years back.
Yes, men have more testosterone then women. Yes, they become sexually aroused when they view sexualized images. But there are two problems with your argument. 1. We teach our boys what a sexualized image is, and what we are currently defining as sexualized is very narrow. We are currently teaching that if you view more than X inches of skin, that’s sexual. And, that’s a load of crap. People frequently make this argument to say that woman shouldn’t nurse in public… because currently, showing a certain amount of skin automatically means sex. That’s not a biological thing, that’s a social one. Do you know how I know that? Africa. In certain tribes it is normal for all women to walk around topless. Their men do not walk around unable to control their lust. It is seen as normal. Both men and women have breast tissue and nipples. There, it is seen as just another part of the body, like a hand, or a knee. So instead of teaching that a sexualized image is one where a woman is clearly wanting to arouse, we teach that a picture of a girl in her pjs is.
2. Becoming aroused by a woman is NOT the same thing as “lusting” after her, or “only seeing her in a sexual way.” Being sexually aroused is a normal part of life. It happens to both men and women for a variety of reasons or no reason at all. It is what happens after that, that determines if he is healthy or not. A boy (or man) who has been taught from an early age that women are complex beings with thoughts, and feelings, and desires (and yes, a sex drive) will not have to “work at” not objectifying anyone. Having sexual thoughts about someone is not the same thing as objectifying them. They are related but not the same thing. Honestly, I HOPE my teenage boys (because I have two boys) discover that they are aroused by the women around them. I hope that they use that experience to honor themselves and her… recognizing that both of them have an interest in sex.
Trying to protect our sons from arousal does not do them any favors. The lessons they learn as teenagers (in dealing with the fact that they are turned on) are crucial lessons that they will NEED when they are adults.
It’s precisely why I didn’t share the other post when I came across it. Although some things she said made sense, the post as a whole did not sit well with me.
“Contrary to popular opinion, boys are not animals”
Until just now I didn’t know popular opinion believed boys to be animals.
Actually, it’s a very pervasive opinion. In the Middle East, women are to cover themselves completely in order to not provoke men to sin. Because once a man lusts he cannot control himself apparently and must rape and violate. In the west, this opinion is the same. Women who dress sexy, or looked at a man in a “certain way”, were obviously “asking for it”, and when the man rapes the woman, it was her fault. It shows males to be animals with uncontrollable urges, that the slightest show of breast or leg will drive him into a lustful frenzy and of course, he must satisfy himself. If women weren’t so slutty and showing off their bodies, men wouldn’t rape and molest women. Look at the case of the 14 year old girl whose 50 something year old teacher raped her. Even the JUDGE said that she was just as much in control because she looked older than her age. Even if that girl had thrown herself naked onto him, it was HIS responsibility to stop any type of action. He knew exactly how old she was, and he still had sex with her. Yet there are people that point the finger at her because she “wanted it” and “consented”. Nevermind that the law clearly states she CANNOT consent.
I’m not and am guessing you and Ms Hains are not in the Middle East. I’m in the USA and was not aware that western culture thought of boys as animals. But maybe I’m wrong. I guess I’m lucky to have only daughters and granddaughters. Perish the thought if I had sons and grandsons, I’d have to keep them outside in the dog kennel. I wonder if my wife wants me in the dog kennel too. I’ll have to ask her asap.
Well that’s just it– here in the USA, the idea that boys can’t control themselves around sexual women is constantly thrown up in defense of sexual assault. “Did you see how she was dressed? He couldn’t control himself!” Actually, he could. I don’t understand how more men aren’t completely appalled and disgusted by the idea that they are uncontrollable animals. It’s insulting! We’re all human beings here, we need to take responsibility for our actions– be it dressing in a way that makes Christian mothers gasp or forcing yourself sexually on someone because you felt entitled to their body, don’t go saying that she “provoked” you with her appearance. That’s just cowardly.
“Well that’s just it– here in the USA, the idea that boys can’t control themselves around sexual women is constantly thrown up in defense of sexual assault.”
If you are referring to defense attorneys, yes you are spot on. Ms Hains used the words popular culture. And the reference was to boys not men. I am confident that women with sons would take exception to people referring to their boys as animals. I am 100% against rape and there is never an excuse to rape a woman or girl, period! But the thought that boys, children, not men, are animals is unsettling.
Have you never heard someone say, “boys will be boys!” as a way of excusing behaviour that would be generally considered inappropriate. It starts with that and it is wildly pervasive in real life and in popular culture.
“Have you never heard someone say, “boys will be boys!” as a way of excusing behaviour that would be generally considered inappropriate. It starts with that and it is wildly pervasive in real life and in popular culture.”
Of course I have, but how does that translate into boys are animals?
Have you really never heard that expression before–the idea that (teen) boys are but animals, fully at the mercy of their animalistic urges? It’s pretty common… and highly offensive. Do we really think so little of boys?
“the idea that (teen) boys are but animals, fully at the mercy of their animalistic urges? It’s pretty common… and highly offensive. Do we really think so little of boys?”
No I was not aware that society at large thought of boys. children under 18 as animals. I knew there were some people that thought that way, but not the whole society. And yes I think women with sons would think it is highly offensive. And I work with a woman who is very proud of her 3 sons and no doubt would be highly offended.
I have a son, brothers, a husband, a father…and I’m not offended at all; it is what it is. No matter how you try to get out of it, argue against it, deny it, challenge it and claim to have never heard it, boys and men in our society are often referred to as animals. Maybe not in your circle, but I’m 55 and have heard it all my life, from the East Coast to the West, from North to South. You may never have seen the Statue of Liberty, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. You may not have heard that phrase, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t widely used. To help you in your path, we all know that google.com is THE end-all of all things accurate on the ‘net, so if you don’t believe all the people who have responded to you regarding this issue, take a look: https://www.google.com/#q=men+are+animals Funny, but your denials bring to mind a quote from Shakespeare’s Hamlet: “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.” I’m thinking grampmk doth protest too much…
the defense attorneys are speaking to juries (a cross section of our society), not to a vacuum. because they think it is likely this will convince a jury. frequently it does.
grampmk, the idea isn’t limited to boys, boys are just the topic at the moment. The belief is also not universal, and actually calling them “animals” is uncommon. But it is widespread. “Boys will be boys” is essentially excusing unacceptable behavior as something that cannot be improved. They’re boys, so they don’t know any better, or at least can’t control themselves enough to do better. They’re boys, so we can’t teach them to be better, it’s not fair to hold them accountable when they fail. The idea, espoused by Hall’s article, that boys cannot be taught to be moral, so it’s necessary for girls to not be temptresses. This isn’t how you treat a human being, even a child, that’s how you treat a wild animal.
I’m not sure what your point is about women being offended about calling their sons animals. I suspect most people here, myself included, agree that it’s horrible that much of our culture has this belief!
alandesmet, well said. I’m honestly not sure what grampmk’s point is, either: He seems primarily interested debating my word choice in that single sentence–a very narrow issue in the context of the post as a whole. I’d also note that “popular opinion” (what I wrote) and “the whole society” (his interpretation of what I wrote) mean two very different
OK once again, I responded to Ms Hains statement that popular culture views boys, meaning children under 18 as animals. She clearly stated she did not agree with that assessment, but did state that society as whole did view boys as animals. I agree defense lawyers use boys will be boys argument in rape trials. I do not consider defense lawyers and rape trails the whole of our culture. I also don’t agree that saying boys will boys is the same as saying they’re animals. And yes there are some that do consider all boys to be animals, but I prefer to think they are in the minority.
And finally there is never an excuse for rape. It is always wrong and should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. In fact I would make the penalty for rape much harsher than it is, and likely violate the 8th amendment.
This comparison is also an insult to animals.
In case it wasn’t clear, I’m confident that Elsie and Hains are both saying that boys are not animals, but that many people do. Most probably wouldn’t use that terminology, but they write essays like the linked one that suggest that boys are unable to control themselves and that the only way to protect them is to restrict girls. That mindset is profoundly hurtful to both boys and girls, although in different ways.
“In case it wasn’t clear, I’m confident that Elsie and Hains are both saying that boys are not animals, but that many people do.”
Ms Hains stated that contrary to popular belief , boys are not animals. I responded by saying I wasn’t aware popular culture considered boys to be animals. So I was responding to her words about popular culture and never said she stated that boys were animals.
My apologies, I got a different, clearly unintentional message from your comment.
I don’t think she meant that boys are literally animals. It sounded a bit like hyperbole to me, and meant to get attention. Your supposed to buck at the idea a bit. The fact is, young girls are told on a regular basis “don’t wear this”
“don’t go to that party” “don’t act that way”. Why are they told this? Because the idea is that boys will treat them a certain way if they do. They might even get raped. I grew up hearing it, and I think most girls do. All I have to do is check out the internet and see the idea is still prevalent. When that girl got wasted at the party, it wasn’t just defense lawyers who ran to the defense of those poor boys. It was every day, average people who felt these boys lives were being ruined because some trashy girl passed out at a party. Not because of what they did, but because of what she did.
… and grampmk has succeeded (purposefully or otherwise) to derail the original intent of the post.
Discussing semantics while girls and young ladies continue to be held responsible for the behaviour of boys and young men hardly serves to improve cultural norms.
Let’s leave grampmk to his need to be literal and focus on the fact that it’s time boys and young men were taught, and held, to be accountable for their choices.
It is intellectually dishonest to claim that an accepted legal defence is not a reflection of societies values as a whole, and thereby popular culture, these concepts are not mutually exclusive. The legal system by definition is societies values codified into law. It is not separate to society, it is an integral part of society. To accept that it is a legal defence, eg-
“If you are referring to defense attorneys, yes you are spot on”. Ms Hains used the words popular culture”,
then you must accept there are cultural and social values that allow that defence to be used successfully, even if those values are implicit as opposed to explicit, despite how unsettled you are by the idea.
I don’t anyone will tell you are legal system is not far from perfect. And yes the term “boys will be boys” is often used to excuse bad behavior. And there is no excuse for bad behavior. I think the problem is what is considered a boy? Are we talking toddler boys, some good old boys down at the corner bar? Whenever anyone uses a broad term like “boys” , it can mean many things. There are certainly young men and older men that are animals. We fully agree there. The problem is using the stereotypical term “boys”
My view is you do have to parent your sons to show respect and self control. Your daughters need this lesson too. Girls need to show self respect. Its our jobs as parents to raise ALL of our children to be quality human beings.
“My view is you do have to parent your sons to show respect and self control. Your daughters need this lesson too. Girls need to show self respect. Its our jobs as parents to raise ALL of our children to be quality human beings.”
Girls are taught these ‘lessons’ all the time, via media, advertising, social thinking, etc etc. Don’t walk home alone. Don’t wear skimpy clothing. Things most males never have to think about. These ‘lessons’ are in the back of girls’ minds ALL the time. It’s time to change the focus and pass this responsibility from the ‘slut’ to the ‘stud’. Enough of the double standards. Of course we should be teaching all our children self respect and self worth but the focus of the responsibility for avoiding situations where sexual harrassment occurs is, mostly, on the female. Girls do not need to ‘show’ self respect, not for anyone, we should just want for them to respect themselves and nurture them to grow to whoever they want to be.
The advertising I see teaches girls to wear pretty much anything they want to at any time. For the record, I know of quite a few mothers, me included, that caution (and forbid) their sons about being alone in dangerous places and late at night. Boys are no longer any safer on the streets than girls but they are frequently dressed in a better manner to be able to practice some good self defense. In general, though, it seems to me that many of the points being discussed are ones Mrs. Hale would agree with. We must all practice self-restraint and civility. We must treat everyone as we would like to be treated. Young men and women need to think about their actions and what they are posting on a very public forum. Both are common victims of strangers lurking and watching those posts. Once a picture is posted on the Internet, you cannot totally recall it nor can you be positive that it did not fall into someone’s hands that would do you harm. I am concerned that this is the new way to identify how popular a girl is, by how many likes she gets. That puts all of her self worth in the basket of sensuality and none of it on her accomplishments, her thoughts, dreams, and deepest desires. Why distract from those things to just her sexuality? I would fear for my daughter if I saw her posting scantily-clad pictures of herself and not because of the possibility of some predator. I would be scared to death that she was determining her self worth by something so transitory as physical attributes. I hear a lot of rhetoric about a girl’s rights to dress as she wants and her demands to be evaluated for her whole self even as she narrows the point of focus down to her physicality. That is dangerous hypocrisy!
Look, the statement that ‘men are animals’ may have offended you enough to make a glib, sarcastic reply, but the truth is that many men excuse their actions by saying that they can’t control it – usually because it’s a ‘natural need’, which is irrelevant even if it’s true. It’s that lack of control that leads people to liken that attitude with animals – animals can’t control themselves, they can’t reason past the pros and cons, they can’t analyze consequences and make decisions based on that above their needs. Humans can. So when men (and women) excuse men’s actions by saying they can’t control it, what they’re really saying is that they’re no better than animals.
So what was meant by ‘western culture thinks of men as animals’ is ‘western culture excuses men’s actions by saying that they cannot perform the basic human actions of thinking ahead, weighing their decision, and controlling natural needs based on the situation and consequences, which, puts them at the cognitive level of animals’.
In other words, don’t sarcastically dismiss a comment just because it’s a generalization. Analyze it and see what parts of it are true and where the stereotype might have come from.
Exactly my thoughts.
People need to take responsibilty for theor own actions. rape is rape regardlesd of how provocative a woman may dress.
Maybe she is referring to the term “dog” or “horn dog”. I have herd those terms used to describe teenage boys many, many times.
“Maybe she is referring to the term “dog” or “horn dog”. I have herd those terms used to describe teenage boys many, many times.”
If that’s what she meant why didn’t she state that specifically? She clearly stated “boys”, not teenage boys but “boys’ are believed by society to be animals.
Oh my goodness, stop beating the dead horse grampmk and move on.
Right? Go spend time with your grandkids and stop arguing semantics.
Amen Danielle. That horse stopped breathing ten posts ago. Find another bone to pick grampmp
It is really, reeeeeeeeeally time to let go here. At worst, you’re making this a red herring; at best, you’re just confused and clearly not getting it. And actually, that being said — I realized I’m not 100% sure if red herring is what I mean, so instead of looking it up, I’m offering that up for you to pick apart as a metaphor instead — I honestly could not possibly care less, so have at it!!
Now, you’re just being an obtuse jackass, on purpose.
@grampmk is interested in rhetorical argument. If you are not, best not to respond. It was clear to me and most of the rest of you what Hain meant. I believe it was even clear to @grampmk, but that he took offense at her (rhetorical) characterization of popular culture and wants to argue that.
(Not that anyone above a certain age— especially parents— knows anything about juvenile popular culture anyway, AFAICT)
grampmk was just mansplainin’. He “couldn’t help himself” because Hain’s offhand characterization of pop culture was “just asking for it”.
I think you win the internet.
“I believe it was even clear to @grampmk, but that he took offense at her (rhetorical) characterization of popular culture and wants to argue that.”
You are free to believe what you want to believe, but I was curious if someone like maybe Pew Research did a poll asking what Americans thought of boys these days and they found a consensus stating most thought boys were animals.
Just wanted to point out that it’s extremely difficult morally for a person to back out of their own complaint. Grampmk, I agree it’s probably about time to stop, but everyone else should probably stop too. Nothing you say is going to change his mind about his original opinion. It’s a common fallacy that is often overlooked.
grampmk, there are those who are expressing the opinion that “boys are animals” (not in those terms; I trust you are not so pedantic that you do not understand metaphor?) right here in this very post. Look a few comments above yours:
“However, the reality is that young men are highly visual creatures and their trials with hormones are 10 times more difficult than young women’s.”
That is a comment that equates young men with animals. They are “highly visual creatures” who are subject to their “hormones.” It removes their blame and accountability while also removing their humanity. It is right there, in black and white, right where you can see it, on a post where you claim it is not a common idea–but it is. It’s RIGHT. THERE.
““However, the reality is that young men are highly visual creatures and their trials with hormones are 10 times more difficult than young women’s.””
“That is a comment that equates young men with animals. ”
Well here I agree. But note is says young men, NOT children!
“Here I agree”? Terrific! According to the dictionary, a “young man” is “a juvenile between the onset of puberty and maturity”– exactly the category I discuss in my post: teenage boys.
If that doesn’t satisfy your pedantry, you’re a lost cause.
““Here I agree”? Terrific! According to the dictionary, a “young man” is “a juvenile between the onset of puberty and maturity”– exactly the category I discuss in my post: teenage boys.”
OK fine, we are on the same page and I agree there are many that are animals. But the term “boys” is just way too broad. Using specifics rather than stereotypes is the more desirable approach.
Context is key. Sure, if you pull the phrase “boys are animals” out of context–as you’ve been doing here in the comments–it’s”way too broad.” But in the context of a post that is specifically about teenagers, the meaning is clear.
If we wish to be critical thinkers, reading sentences and phrases in context is the only approach.
History has shown that decontextualizing ideas is dangerous; think, for example, of the saying “Take an eye for an eye,” which has been used to justify vicious behaviors undertaken in revenge — even though, in context, it’s a call for moderation, for punishments that fit the crime.
Just some food for thought.
“Context is key. Sure, if you pull the phrase “boys are animals” out of context–as you’ve been doing here in the comments–it’s”way too broad.” But in the context of a post that is specifically about teenagers, the meaning is clear.”
Ok I’ll admit I lost my way vis a vis context, but I’ve seen way too much stereotyping on line and some people playing fast and loose with facts, that seeing “all boys are animals” just brought a kneejerk reaction from me. So I’m sorry I over reacted and do agree that the overwhelming popular opinion of teenage boys is that they are animals. And I might add there is a great deal of evidence to support that opinion.
I understand. Thanks so much for the dialogue.
To say that men are highly visual creatures and that their trials with hormones are more difficult than a young women’s is NOT equating them with animals. It’s a scientific fact, at least in most cases. Men have significantly more testosterone than females. This, even going back to when they were developing in utero, is a large part of what makes them male. Testosterone is the primary hormone responsible for sexual desire and urges. If they have more than we do, it makes sense that they will feel these desires more strongly and more frequently than us and perhaps be aroused more easily by things that women would not be (Note: I am not saying that women aren’t visually stimulated or don’t have sexual drives etc. I’m just saying that men probably do have more, based on their biological and hormonal makeup and what I have researched. However, being female, my knowledge of the exact workings of the male species is admittedly somewhat limited just as every woman’s perspective on it is). To further support this idea that biologically driven hormonal differences MIGHT actually make a difference in this area, I remember reading an article several years ago about a F to M trans-sexual and they said was that when they initially began testosterone therapy, the intensity of their increasing sex drive honestly scared them. They said that they eventually adjusted to it and it was fine, but they admitted that, when they first started, it was an insane difference. This is, more or less, what teenage boys (and girls to a lesser but still significant degree) are dealing with – a sudden onslaught of hormones in degrees that they have not yet had to deal with and are not accustomed to. Therefore, it is not equating them with animals to admit this greater hormonal challenge and difference between men and women, it’s accepting science and biology. Women, and even teenage girls, should be aware of this instead of willfully denying it or playing the ignorant and naive fool. All people should. It’s basic human sexuality education.
That said, hormones or not, ALL human beings, male and female, still posses the vital addition of reasoning and choice and personal accountability. THAT is what sets us apart from animals. They act solely on instincts and urges. We have them, and males might have these particular ones in greater degrees at times, but can make reasoned choices and think things through. We are not bound to our urges. Rape is ALWAYS the perpetrator’s CHOICE, whether the urges or desires initially were or not. I am vehemently against blaming the victim but I think both sides need to be more educated and aware of their influence on the other – how certain dress and actions influence men’s desires (but again, this influence NEVER justifies them choosing to act forcibly on them) and how destructive, vile, and repugnant the crime of sexual assault and rape are. Putting it ALL on one side or the other, and denying or disregarding basic scientific biology to do so, does not truly solve anything and is simply not morally right.
To put it another way, if a store displays a beautiful, well-made, drool-worthy pair of shoes or outfit or set of tools or whatever my shopping fancy is, I can look all I want (and yes, if women put themselves on willful display I believe they forfeit the right to say “don’t look at me!” although respectable and decent guys will still choose to look beyond it and control their eyes and thoughts regardless). But, if I decide that it looks so good that I just HAVE to have it, and therefore steal it, I am then wrong. 100%. There should not be a single judge or jury that would say, “Well, the store did tempt her. She’s not really to blame. I mean, who could’ve resisted? It’s their fault for putting it out there.” The store puts items on display to tempt you into BUYING them, not to steal them. Girls (and boys as it applies equally both ways although I’m speaking in gender based terms based on overall generalities here) may be putting themselves on display for any number of reasons – I did in in high school because I had low self esteem and was begging for attention of any kind. My thinking was, “Better to be at least admired for my cleavage, even if that’s it, than for nothing at all.” Some do it in complete ignorance of it’s effect and just because they think it’s cute or trendy. Some do it to send a signal that they are open to sexual possibilities. In all honesty, some do it to hold power because they KNOW the effect it has on men. Regardless – it is still only a display. They are the sole owner’s of their store so to speak and have complete authority on when, to whom, and for what they will “sell” their display. For some, like me, maybe it’s not really for sale in any way. I just wanted people to look and make it clear they liked it. For others their selling price might be love with a man they approve of and love back. Some might just be waiting for the first man they find mutually sexy and desirable to come along and see the message and begin a flirtation for a sexual fling. Notice the theme? Consent. Approval. Mutual Desire. The owner having final say.
Sorry it got so long, I’ve just been reading through all of the comments on both articles and find it disconcerting that it’s so hard for people to see a common-sense stance based on personal responsibilities of both sides, scientific awareness, and basic moral goodness.
Perfection. I tweeted this response. Thank you.
The issue is dealing with extremes. it is up to both genders to be careful of flaunting their sexuality. Women naturally are people pleasers and want to be appreciated and there for will show off to guys. Guys may take afvantage of this trait. however it is important for parents to be seare of this going on and instruct their children to be aware of this.
Women might be naturally more of the care-giving type, but making yourself sexually appealing to the opposite sex is a TAUGHT behavior. Wearing something slutty has nothing to do with wanting to take care of your man– you’re doing it for the pleasure of both of you, in this case. But this insidious idea that that’s all young girls are–jail bait, fresh meat, a sexual object for the taking– is completely constructed. Young girls don’t naturally feel the need to act sexy for much older men, they are repeating behavior they’ve seen modeled for them thousands of times. But I would agree that it is crucial for parents to teach their sons AND their daughters to respect both themselves and others.
“Young girls don’t naturally feel the need to act sexy for much older men…” Maybe not much older men but what about men 5 years older than them. Two points.
1) Women like to be seen. Men like to look. It’s in our natures.
2) Across cultures women are attracted to men who are older and men are attracted to women that are younger.
You’re generalizing in a really big way. I’ve never been attracted to older men. Many women I know have never been attracted to older men. Many men I know aren’t attracted to younger women (at least any more so than they’re attracted to *any* woman).
And, the “men like to look” crap gets old. I’m a woman. I *love* to look. Heck, when I was learning to drive, I almost went off the road because of a hot guy in cutoffs. I certainly don’t mind being looked at (depending on the man and the attitude), but I also haven’t noticed most men getting too bent if a woman checks them out. In fact, ime, men like to be seen, too. Looking and being looked at are both of part of sexual attraction, and people of both sexes enjoy both sides of it.
I am basing my opinion on the the fact that in marriages across cultures the men are older than women. Also, the fact that men are more visual shows up in the erotica of both sexes. Men’s erotica contains more pictures, women’s erotica contains more words.
Your personal opinion is not scientific.
Marriage, in many culture, has very little to do with who or what someone is generally attracted to. While we’re moving away from it, marriage has historically (in many/most cultures) been the a woman’s only path to financial stability. Financial stability is more likely to be found with a man who is well established in some sort of career or income earning path. Only the most romantic would be willing or eager to marry someone young and untried in the workplace when an older, more established male was available. Women have also, historically, had little or no say in whom they’d marry, in many cultures. The parents would choose, or at least approve, their daughter’s choice, and they’d be very unlikely to factor in how attracted she was or wasn’t to the man they’d chosen.
My personal opinion and experience aren’t scientific, but neither is it scientific to say “women usually marry older men” and use that as a gauge of who is attracted to whom. Women who have financial stability are far more likely to go after younger men than women who don’t have such stability, which suggests there’s a lot more going on than attractiveness. The growing number of “cougars” also suggests there are a lot of cultural factors, having nothing to do with human nature, and a lot to do with societal messages of appropriateness.
I like erotic writing. A lot of women do. Maybe men don’t (although I can remember coming across porn magazines consisting almost entirely of writing). However, I also enjoy the sight of naked men and men who aren’t covered in too much clothing. I can enjoy the reading…but that doesn’t stop me from getting worked up over the well-built guy a the beach. Having triggers other than the visual doesn’t take away the visual ones.
I do NOT like to be ‘SEEN’ by any males in the way you’re suggesting. Or in other ways, my social group and partners are majority female. The male gaze is something I have to put up with every day and I detest it. Your comment is creepy and uncomfortable. I hope to god you don’t look at women on the street as if they wish to be seen by you. And I seriously hope I never walk past you in the street.
@alimcafar, But being lesbian, you are a special case. you are part of only 5-10% of the population. You may dislike the “male gaze” but I’m pretty certain that most others don’t agree
So he wasn’t being “creepy”, he was being accurate, even if you don’t personally fit that mold, so to speak.
Well I’m not part of that 5-10% and i hate it. It makes me feel far less human. It makes me feel humiliated and sometimes ashamed to be looked at by anyone (in a non-sexual way). The ONLY time i have ever enjoyed the “male gaze” was when I didn’t know what it meant, had depression and an eating disorder. I liked it because I saw myself as not good enough to get any better and because I got no acceptance any other way. But even at the time it did negatively affect me, also afterwards. It contributed to my depression, eating disorder and self-hatred.
I’ll cede the latter point, that older men tend to be attracted to younger women since biologically this makes sense and we see it happen in reserve too (older women going for younger men). The idea that it’s “in women’s nature” to “be seen” is just… no. I’m sure that’s true for some women as it’s true for some men, but not all. I, for one, don’t like to “be seen.” I’m the girl who likes to work backstage, who’ll edit that video for 12 hours, who’ll hang out in the darkroom making prints and lose track of time, but you can’t drag to a party if my life depended on it. So yeah, please stop generalizing.
Making yourself sexually appealing to the opposite sex is very much NOT a taught behavior. At very young ages it might be, but watch a peacock flaunt its feathers and you’ll realize that every species on this planet takes the time to make themselves as attractive as possible when it comes to convincing the opposite sex that they are a potential mate. The drive to make yourself sexually attractive is built into us. As for women being “naturally more of the care-giving type” there is actually evidence that THAT is taught behavior and not inborn. You’ve got things a little turned around.
OK, so say that’s true, why is what is considered to be “sexually appealing” so narrow? It would be fair to say what we are taught is a very narrow definition of what is beautiful and sexy. I certainly know plenty of women who aren’t naturally compelled to wear high heels and make-up, who find body hair attractive, who are beautiful and appealing even if not in a conventional way.
Women are taught to be care-givers? Conditioned to, sure, but I guess it’s just a neat coincidence that our bodies also create and nourish the next generation of our species.
You’re absolutely right that what is taught to be “sexually appealing” is extremely narrow. But what people ACTUALLY find sexually attractive is about as varied as the number of people on earth.
Our bodies do not create the next generation by themselves, we simply house the growing process. And yes, most of our bodies do produce milk to nourish the next generation. That does not equal being “naturally more of the care-giving type.”
I’m unclear on your message. Would it be fair to say that people can be pressured by culture and society to be more sexual than they want to be, and that children should be educated about this and encouraged to be as sexual as they want and not to be more sexual for the sake of others? If so, I’m in strong agreement!
Yowoem are taightt this typw of behavior because it is almost by osmosis. we are products of our society and wr want to follow the crowd. so it is up to parents ti teach their children not to imitate tgis behvior. they won’t learn it from society at large.
I take offense, we are not born just
To please men. I’m glad my father and husband don’t think like a caveman like you
Hi Rebecca! Agree with everything you said here in regards to raising, educating, and indeed, enlightening young boys on their way to becoming quality men. If I had sons myself, I would certainly follow that path.
I do hope however, that we can encourage both genders to act responsibly, and to take some pride in the image they are ‘putting out there’. While I would never argue or in any way support the idea that a girl’s behavior entitles a boy to anything- I’ve never understood the position that an individual bears no responsibility for the perception others have when that individual voluntarily engages in activities that typically lead to a particular type of perception (trying to talk around it a bit here, and doing a lousy job).
I’m remembering now something that Oprah-Authenticated Dr. Phil says: “We teach people how to treat us.”
I agree to an extent, but in a too many cases if particular activities “typically lead to a particular type of perception”, it’s because of unfair prejudices. It’s the rational that lead a bunch of people to argue that black teenagers should not wear hoodies least they be perceived as dangerous, or that young women should not have sex least they be perceived as sluts. (With the bonus awful that “slut” must be a bad thing.)
alan, you’re point is well made and taken, particularly re the hoodies thing. Yet certainly, what we say and do does project an image, no? Maybe that’s OK if you’re willing to ‘own’ that image. But I’m not convinced minors (or really anybody below the age of about 25, if you believe the brain development research stuff) are in a position to make that choice.
Children—REAL children, YOUR children— are bought and sold by Madison Avenue. It’s big business, worth BILLIONS of dollars. The younger the child, the more susceptible they are to marketers. Advertisers are well aware of this. They are also well-aware of how to appeal to kids: show them the secrets of grownups.
If their kids were not exposed to this BS 24/7, chances are that a parent’s primary job— teaching their kids self-respect— would be less exhausting. I don’t have any kids myself, but parents, you have my sympathies for the long, uphill battle ahead of you.
I’m posting in the hope that my position (childless) may be a “see-the-forest-not-the-trees” kind of view. But perhaps the best parental strategy would be to teach by EXAMPLE that advertisers are full of sh*t and do not offer kids a realistic glimpse of adulthood. That would be hard because the example you’d have to set means YOU would have to not fall for advertiser crap either.
But seriously. You want to know where the rape culture comes from? Look at the ads.
“Children—REAL children, YOUR children— are bought and sold by Madison Avenue. It’s big business, worth BILLIONS of dollars. The younger the child, the more susceptible they are to marketers. Advertisers are well aware of this. They are also well-aware of how to appeal to kids: show them the secrets of grownups.”
100% spot on and it’s been going on for a very long time and unless we try Communism, I don’t see it ever ending. Parenting has never been easy. And some parents can rise to the challenge and others can not, which is the biggest reason the US has more people incarcerated than any country on earth, including China and North Korea.
Or, you know, we might have a burgeoning prison population because of our drug war that treats minor offenders harshly, three-strike laws, the replacement of mental institutions with prisons, decaying cities with populations lacking access to jobs or the resources to move, or any of a host of other causes.
That’s a pretty facile view, @grampmk. Do you also suppose that Stalin imprisoned so many thanks to incompetent parenting?
” Do you also suppose that Stalin imprisoned so many thanks to incompetent parenting?”
Actually Stalin was in to murdering his own people. He had a far higher body count than his pal Hitler.
Requesting young girls to act like young girls rather than to emulate the Kardashians is not unreasonable or unduly focusing on these young girls. Nor is Ms. Hall suggesting, much less stating, that these young girls deserve anything that might happen to them for having “incited” such behavior. What she is correctly stating is exactly as she states: If you young girls actively seek to incite and promote lust in young men by your actions and dress, you are not welcome in our home. This does not excuse young men from any of their own actions… but, instead, attempts to make young women responsible for their OWN actions. Big difference!
She fairly explicitly states that boys are too weak to resist the temptations of the girls. She explicitly states that a young girl who makes what she judges to be a mistake does not get a second chance, while apparently holding no such similar standard to boys. She hypocritically complains about girls showing too much skin and trying to look sexy for the camera while posting a picture of her own sons showing a lot of skin and trying to look sexy for the camera. She implies that for a young woman to not wear a bra is somehow terrible. She emphasizes that it’s important for a young woman to be beautiful on the outside.
Her post is founded on the deeply sexist ideas that female bodies and sexuality are something dangerous to be controlled and that men are weak and must be protected from female bodies and sexuality.
It’s a horrific post, top to bottom.
And furthermore, she implies that if such behavior takes place, while she wishes these girls well, they will be banished. Yes, it’s her right as the parent of teens with access to social media to moderate, but it sends the message to the girls that if through experimenting with their sexuality, they are found to be intolerable, we will no longer recognize them in society and they’ll be on their own to fend off the consequential predatory behavior they seem to be seeking. As a woman, and the parent of boys, I recognize that young girls are often quite confused about the message that is expected of them and their budding sexuality. Young girls, completely “appropriately” dressed are leered at routinely and taunted sexually simply for walking down the street. If girls in my boys life were seeking out attention by being promiscuous the last thing I would want to do would be to shun them. I want my boys to know that it’s their responsibility to stand up for any friend in trouble, and if that means getting a girl out of a compromising situation and getting her home safely, by not turning a blind eye, I want my sons to see that girl as human first and get her to safety. That can only happen if she’s recognized as valuable and worthwhile under any circumstances.
This!! Very nicely said.
Why thank you.
And I appreciate you for putting into words and publishing the feelings I felt after reading the original post.
We all have a responsibility to stand up against the damaging messages that are targeting our children and causing us to cast blame on victims.
This is just what I wanted to say :>
Yes! Thanks, Serena.
I completely agree. I don’t like this post. I think we’re getting away from the real issue..self respect.
I’d be interested in hearing Mrs. Hall response to this. Excellent article.
Hi Rebecca. As the mother of 3 daughters, two of whom are adolescents, I also read Mrs. Hall’s post with a sinking heart. You see, I do my best to watch what my girls post on social media. I talk with them about what they post and why they post it. But, my arguments are about their agency. I encourage them to consider what message they want to send to the world about themselves, to think about how they are representing the core of who they are. Sometimes they get this and sometimes they don’t. They will mess up and represent themselves at times in ways that they later regret, just as Mrs. Hall’s sons will, just as we all have. In fact, while making the argument against girls posting sexy selfies, Mrs. Hall posts photos of her own sons in a state of undress. That really confused me. Does she not think that teenage girls are also attracted to partially clothed male bodies? Of course they are. Should we all go block her sons from being friends with our daughters now because of those shirtless pics?
I think Mrs. Hall’s post is well intended. I agree that she is responding to a culture that sexualizes girls and women and encourages them to objectify themselves. But I think her argument misses the mark that both boys and girls needs to be more thoughtful about the ways they represent themselves on social media. Both boys and girls need to be focused on developing relationships built on mutuality and respect. Both boys and girls can stand up against sexualized culture.
Reblogged this on Dr. Jennifer Shewmaker and commented:
I think Rebecca makes some great points. Mrs. Hall’s post was well intentioned, but I feel it missed a lot about mutuality and respect from the point of both boys and girls. Being the mom of 3 daughters, should I block her boys for those shirtless pics she posted?
Like others, I just shook my head at her post and subsequently, how the post went viral and I saw it pop up everywhere, even on pages I never thought I’d see it on, people who I thought would see through it, to its core. As someone else said, in one breath, she complains about these girls, but yet her entire post is peppered with pictures of her sons in nothing more than swim trunks – and one of her daughter in a tankini. The incongruity of that made me shake my head and dismiss her post. That, and the vaguely misogynistic nature of her post, as you touched on. It was just the weirdest post I’ve ever read.
“I suspect that Hall’s post has gone viral because so many people are concerned with teenage girls’ self-presentation on facebook. We’ve all seen it: teenage girls trying to mimic the scantily-clad celebrities and models plastered on billboards and magazine covers. And naturally, people want to do something about it. After all, the implications of our media culture’s sexualization of girls is serious: As the American Psychological Association has noted, when girls learn that our culture values their appearances above all else about them, they may in turn learn to sexualize themselves–and the impact of self-sexualization on girls’ self-esteem and self-image is devastating. The damage of thinking of oneself first and foremost as an object can take a lifetime to undo.” THIS. This gets at the root of it for me. The much bigger problem, the culture. Thank you for a well-spoken response.
Rebecca, you know how I know you’re a feminist?
Scroll to the bottom and seen your pic
You know how I know we still need feminism? Sexist comments like yours. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Helen_Lewis_(journalist)
Oh, a random guy who doesn’t like my argument also doesn’t like my photo? Sob. How will I ever carry on??? /s
As a thirty year old woman I don’t
Believe that a boy has any more control over his hormones than a teenage girl. If children are raised to respect and be thoughtful of what comes out of their mouths and of their actions, that goes for others and themselves, they will see that what their friends or even the adults around them are doing is wrong. Depending on age, they may not understand that when a girl (in my opinion) under the age of 16 posts pictures that are sexual in nature or even just actions that even adults shouldn’t be posting is demeaning and to these girls even when posted of their own free will. The boys in question are probably good boys, and like any mother she probably sees her son’s as angels, but even they need to understand that they should feel bad for these young girls that think that this is the only way to get attention or love. I see these kids in Facebook posting pic s that are inappropriate and other people like them, including adults, who should see the nature of them and be distressed not click like.
Laura, why shouldn’t these girls being posting these photos? Why would it be demeaning? Why should we feel bad for them and be distressed?
Myself, I choose to err on the assumption that these girls are happy, well adjusted, and choosing to explore their sexuality in a way that may be different from what my generation did, but doesn’t seem that harmful. There is certainly a lot of societal pressure to post such images, and I want to change that, but feeling bad for individual girls, essentially judging them and finding their behavior wrong, is a step too far for me.
I don’t know about you but if I caught my 14 posting pictures like that she wouldn’t have a page any more
I remain interested in your answers to my questions.
This is exactly what I’ve been trying to articulate! What is so wrong with sexual exploration of adolescents? Individuals mature sexually in their young teens, and, if they were raised in a general evangelical tradition, are expected to completely suppress anything even remotely having to do with sex till the day they are married. Engaging in sexual activity is obviously a sin before marriage in the Christian context; I am not encouraging that. But our sexuality is so much more than just how one is in bed. I believe there are healthy ways for adolescents to discover who they are sexually as individuals and furthermore learn how to function in an overtly sexual society. Who is to say that playing with fashion, wearing supposedly “provocative” clothes, etc is bad? It seems all too often that people forget teenagers are fundamentally individuals with the right to make their own choices. A teenage girl has every right to dress how she wishes, she has control of her body and she ultimately can make decisions for herself according to what she enjoys. And isn’t that freedom that each individual has, or should have, so wonderful?
Likewise, I’m slightly disturbed by Mrs. Hall forcing her sons to block these girls who post these pictures. Parents often fall into that previously mentioned category of people who forget their children are people and have a right to make their own choices.
In regards to what is more Christ-like, wouldn’t it be better to teach children that we are all sexual/physical beings AS WELL AS emotional, intellectual, etc. Boys looking at these “provocative” pictures can understand this, girls taking these pictures can understand this. The point is that we all have undeniable worth and value as humans beings that surpasses any actions we take, whether “appropriate” or not.
Making boys ignore any girls who manifest supposedly sexual behavior or shaming girls who do this simply sends a message to them which says roughly “sex is evil, you are not sexual nor should you be,” and this causes serious damage. We have to stop this trend in Purity culture to shame and ignore sexuality pre-marriage. Our sexuality is an undeniable part of who we are as humans, and we can learn how to control it, as well as enjoy it appropriately.
Um, wow.. love some of the points you’re making here, but almost laughed out loud in regards to teenagers having the “right” to make their own choices. Nope, not in my home; not without limits and guidelines that I and my wife set for them, at least. Much of ‘their rights as individuals’ will begin when they leave our nest. But perhaps I’ve misunderstood you.
I love what you’re saying about teaching kids that “we are all sexual/physical beings AS WELL AS emotional, intellectual, etc”. Love it! Couldn’t agree more. I love that approach, and plan to utilize it. The problem as I see it, is that our culture puts far too much emphasis on the sexual, and minimizes the rest. And some of us feel the online personas that some are creating not only reflect that but perpetuate it.
Even with rules and regulations within your home, your children still have a choice to obey or not. They have to weigh the pros and cons of that choice, but no matter how hard a parent tries, their kids still make that decision for themselves. I think I function with a slightly different view of parenting that you do, we’ll probably have to agree to disagree. I believe that teenagers have the capacity to be responsible generally after they’ve sexually matured. Note, most teenagers probably won’t make all responsible decisions, there is a certain amount of trial and error needed to form moral/ethical character. Studies show you aren’t yourself till mid 20’s as you referenced in your other comment, and again I think a lot of that has to do with learning from sheer life experience. “Teenagers” actually didn’t exist until after WWII, when there was an emphasis on entertainment and common educational experiences according to age group. Instead of preparing each boy and girl to become an adult and work, teenagers had activities, dating, television, movies, etc. Before this social paradigm shift there was a huge emphasis on youths to become responsible men and women; teenage years were constantly looking to the future. After this change, the teenage years were seen as a time of limbo . I still think that humans ranging from roughly 13ish-20-ish years of age are capable of being responsible and deciding their own paths; I see my role as a parent to be there for them to encourage and support, especially when they do make the inevitable irresponsible decisions, but not to decide everything for them, at least giving them the benefit of the doubt and believing they are intelligent enough to have some say in the rules of the house. I believe in household structure and rules, but would hope they would be more of a discussion than a declaration.
(Thomas Hine has a wonderful book out called the The Rise and Fall of the American Teenager. Fascinating read if you’re interested.)
Elizabeth, thank you for the reply! After I wrote my bit, I was thinking back over it and worrying that it would sound a bit authoritarian; ‘my way or the highway’ and all that. My wife would laugh, because of the two of us, she’s more the disciplinarian while I dislike conflict! I’ve no doubt you and I have some differing opinions re parenting, but I’m not certain we’re all that far apart either. I love your optimistic view that teens have that ‘responsibility capacity’, and I wholeheartedly concur that given the choice between discussion and declaration, the former is the preference. I also agree that as they age, kids/teens can hopefully be entrusted with more freedom, more participation in the decision making process. I’m good with all of that, while still of the belief that the parental units retain final veto power when it comes to some things. I’ve put ‘The Rise and Fall’ on my reading list, thank you for the tip!
“but almost laughed out loud in regards to teenagers having the “right” to make their own choices. Nope, not in my home; not without limits and guidelines that I and my wife set for them, at least. Much of ‘their rights as individuals’ will begin when they leave our nest. ”
You said it all!
Thanks grampmk, and I stand by that (a whole day later HAH!), but I concur with Elizabeth above that the ship is best steered via modeling, discussion, a strong bond between parent and child…and some give and take even (picking the battles, maybe?). I don’t want to be their buddy, I want to be their Dad. But I don’t want to be a hard-line dictator either.
“teenagers having the “right” to make their own choices. Nope, not in my home; not without limits and guidelines that I and my wife set for them, at least”
And, how do you make that happen? Many years ago, in high school, I had a friend whose parents didn’t believe she should dress in a fashion they found inappropriate, and they had those limits and guidelines in place. So, she bought the clothes she wanted on the sly, stashed them in her locker at school, and changed when she got there. Her clothes weren’t the most outrageous around, by any means, but they were *far* outside the “limits” her parents had set for her. My mom, who went to high school in the 50s, describes similar dynamics back then, too. Locking down a teenager’s attempts to figure out his or her own sexuality tends to blow up in a big way.
That doesn’t mean I believe in a complete lack of limits or guidelines, but I also don’t suffer from the delusion that my rules are always going to followed.
Yep, I’ve heard that tale of course, many times. Undoubtedly it’s a fairly common occurrence. Yet I still don’t see the logic in the contrarian view that the parent should just shrug and say “Oh well, the little darlings are going to do it anyway..”
In my rather annoying tendency to try to find the middle ground in any debate, I will say that the coaching is probably far more successful when it’s just that- coaching, and not delivered in militant fashion. As in, let’s look at the options together and maybe we can come up with a solution that everybody can live with. How about, instead of ‘locking down’ as you put it, parent and kid work through it together?
Lisa, I have a friend who once told me about his daughter listening to some really nasty rap in their home. He admitted he didn’t care for the messages, but he thought it was pointless to ‘forbid’ her to listen to it there, as ‘she’s going to listen to it elsewhere anyway’. That attitude, to me, misses the point entirely. She may very well continue to listen to it as soon as she leaves the house. But by setting some limits in YOUR HOME, you send a clear message about what THE FAMILY deems acceptable. No, I don’t expect my dear daughters to lock-step with me as they grow into THEIR OWN INDIVIDUAL SELVES; I love them too much to want that anyway. But I do feel I need to make it clear to them what I think is good, right, moral, etc.
I only have a moment, but I want to add this thought: studies show that authoritative, not authoritarian, parenting is key for getting teens to comply.
“authoritative, not authoritarian, parenting is key for getting teens to comply.”
I agree completely
RCase: The comment thread seems to have reached a limit with respect to number of replies, so this is out of step. I’m responding to your post of 3:06 pm.
I have no desire to just shrug and say “I can’t do anything about it”. I’ve got a total of 42 “parenting years” (spread over all my kids) and have never had that approach at all. I just feel that open communication is a lot more effective than layihng down edicts about things that teens are generally going to look at as their own business (eg. clothing, music, etc.). I don’t tell my kids what music to listen to, except that I will put limits on what my oldest can expose his younger siblings to, due to a large age gap. I don’t even tell them what they can listen to at home. It’s not about “they’ll listen to it, anyway”. It’s about the fact that I feel that a person’s taste in music has meaning for that person. if my child is listening to something that I find offensive, it’s probably because my child is getting something from that music. Saying “this is offensive” can come across as “you are offensive”. (I feel particularly strongly about this, as the music of my youth – which was, at the time, being hammered hard by the PMRC and others – was something really essential to getting me through my teens without committing suicide. Losing it would have caused me serious damage…and the outside criticism hurt. It would have hurt more coming from my parents.) If I find it really offensive, I talk to my kids about why they like it, and what messages they’re hearing from it. When I talked to my oldest about the handful of stuff he listened to that offended me, I found that (like me with 22 Acacia Avenue), what he was getting from it wasn’t what I was hearing. I pointed out the other side of it, and then let him figure it out himself.
Working through it together is the way I approach all of it, although my husband and I are the final authorities if a compromise can’t be reached. I simply find the “I’m the parent and I have the control and my children WILL/WILL not do X” approach to be grossly over-simplistic, and feel that it ignores the realities of raising teens. I also feel that it can put those teens into some bad situations, due to the lying/hiding from their parents, but that would require a long blog post of my own to flesh out…and I’m already going on extreme length. 😮
It is demeaning because it is a sign of their emotional and intellectual state. I have heard from girls and boys who have done these things their reasons are distressing. They often do it because they feel that they won’t be accepted for anything else. It’s because they’ve been taught to view themselves in a sexual way, which has been proven to be harmful (even reducing their intelligence). They contribute to a general trend towards sexualising women and girls, which encourages people to view females with out taking into account their personality, intelligence and other strengths. This in turn contributes to rape culture (i know I sound extreme, but I see plenty of evidence of it around me) and mental problems like eating disorders, depression etc.
An important part is to raise ypur cildren and teaching them respect of others. i liked that you brought that up in your comment. as a parent it is your responsibilty to train your children.
The article was so vicious and catty, too. The author’s goal seemed to be to humiliate and mock other people’s daughters, as well as to add to the pervasive problem of holding women responsible for the “purity” of society. I strongly dislike some of the pictures I see teenaged girls (and older women, too) posting on Facebook; I disliked the article EVEN MORE.
So why do even some women/girls look down upon other females for “dressing like a slut”? Why did everyone, back in the respected ages, dress nice and proper? Because that’s the way it should be. Women shouldn’t dress like sluts, not because it’s sexual, but because it’s not respectable. Men shouldn’t sag their pants not because it’s sexual but it’s not respectable. It’s not really that much about “men see it as sexual” it’s more of a universal respect kind of thing. Would you respect the human being who goes into into an interview half naked? No. Also “She places the responsibility for her teenage boys’ sexual desires on teenage girls, rather than on the boys themselves.” So I should blame the girls for thinking that a shirtless male model is hot and wanting to prance on their ding a ling..ok makes sense. Now I know that when my fit buddy takes off his shirt and some women want to (and do) sleep with him it was their fault for looking and engaging their sexual desires.
“So why do even some women/girls look down upon other females for “dressing like a slut”?”
Because the nature of sexism, and bigotry in general, means that even victims can be aggressors.
“Why did everyone, back in the respected ages, dress nice and proper?”
You mean the respected ages where slavery was legal, where children worked in factories, when women couldn’t vote, where a husband could legally to beat or rape his wife, where there was almost no middle class? I’m not real keen on using these “respected” ages as a standard for modern behavior.
“Would you respect the human being who goes into into an interview half naked?”
Context matters. Are these girls interviewing for jobs? And if they’re applying for a job as a lifeguard, showing up in just a swimsuit may be entirely appropriate.
“So I should blame the girls for thinking that a shirtless male model is hot and wanting to prance on their ding a ling..ok makes sense. Now I know that when my fit buddy takes off his shirt and some women want to (and do) sleep with him it was their fault for looking and engaging their sexual desires.”
The mistake you’re making is assuming that there is anything wrong with them wanting to sleep with him.
How about them apples, Ilikeapples? Thank you, Alan, for your intelligent response to such nonsense.
I think what was meant by respected was the higher respectability in the area of modesty. And what about our culture where a sober man can walk up to an unconscious, underage girl and rape her without getting any punishment because she shouldn’t have been drunk?
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I love this. I’ve read it over and over today. That sounds sad haha. But I’ve been sharing it because it’s probably the best rebuttal to her original post. Well thought out and just brilliant.
Oh, thank you so much! I really appreciate that.
I won’t read through all of the comments, but I did notice that the woman posts nearly exclusively shirtless pictures of all of the “Hall boys”. What are teenage girls to think of that?
I suppose Mrs. Hall wanted the girls to know what hotness they’d be missing if she blocked them for posting provocative selfies to facebook! Wait, hm, something’s not quite adding up here… ::headscratch::
Funny thing is, today she reposted the same blog with pictures of the boys wearing winter coats! Lol!
Reblogged this on shinyfirefly21.
If a woman dresses provocatively, and I have a chance, I will surreptitiously glance at her. My mother was raped, my ex girlfriend was gang raped….I have never raped and will never rape. I have a “better than healthy” libido. But I am in control of it, it doesn’t control me…that is true of 98 percent of men, I’ll wager…it is the other 2 percent who gives us a bad name.
I love your response. My husband always says men are not stupid. They know where their hands are, they know what is appropriate, and they know how to control themselves. For instance when My nieces were little and they would want to sit on his lap he would immediately grab their wrists and cross their arms in front of him because kids are often unaware of where their hands are and unknowingly place them in inappropriate areas. But men aren’t stupid or unaware, they could easily keep those little hands from touching anything they shouldn’t. Men have that responsibility to protect themselves from any suspicion and protect those little hands from accidentally touching something they shouldn’t touch. Why? Because men aren’t stupid!
I see where you’re coming from, but I disagree. The idea that a man should have to take extraordinary measures to protect himself from allocations of abuse is no better than the idea that a woman should have to take extraordinary measures to protect herself from rape. Working in a nursery I have been run into and grabbed by various ages of children. I’ve had infants stick their hands down my shirt. It’s not a big deal to gently remove their hands. I would be no more horrified for my child to accidentally run into a (male) friend’s genital area than I would be if a child I was holding suddenly grabbed my breast. Would it be awkward and need to be corrected? Absolutely. But body parts are body parts and there’s nothing shameful about them. It is critical for my children to have healthy, physical relationships with men who love them. (Physical referring to physical affection not something sexual, obviously!) I expect those men to interact appropriately with my children. I do not expect them to walk on eggshells out of fear that they will be accused of something horrific.
“The idea that a man should have to take extraordinary measures to protect himself from allocations of abuse is no better than the idea that a woman should have to take extraordinary measures to protect herself from rape.”
Sorry I strongly disagree. Your reference is apples and oranges. The law , at least in the US, is not even when it comes to sexual abuse of children. Men are default sexual predators while women are never thought of as being sexual predators.
Oh, go back under your bridge.
It doesn’t mean you should promote looking at anyone that way. The biggest example of promoting this is pronography, and viewers of porn are a lot more likely to commit violent and sexual (as well as other) crimes. On average, people who begin watching child prongoraphy will commit their first sexual offense against a child in a year. I’m not going to argue about whether viewing someone sexually is wrong or not except to say that I believe it is wrong to get sexual pleasure from someone without their consent.
I’m loving this conversation and would like to add a few more thoughts. Rebecca, thank you for starting this and providing the space!
1) I think if you choose to post photos that highlight your ‘sexual power’ or whatever we’re calling it this year, don’t be too distraught if you find that many who view those photos make the reckless, lazy assumption that is the best that you have to offer. I’m directing that statement to both genders, btw (Heh- kind of amusing that I feel I have to clarify that… I’ve always felt ‘objectification’ is rather sad regardless of which sex it’s inflicted on, and isn’t doing our society as a whole any favors).
2) Financial dude and all-around good guy Dave Ramsey relates that he and his wife told their daughters they would wear clothing that ‘encouraged boys to notice their eyes’. Have to say, I knew exactly what he meant when he said it, and I think it’s right on. Is that good advice because those poor boys can’t control themselves? Of course not. The ‘no control’ thing is an idiotic idea, and any individual or culture that promotes that thinking has serious freaking issues. We are, each of us, responsible for our actions. But if you’re a Target cashier and you’ve decided that appropriate dress happens to reveal a large percentage of your breasts, and I go through your lane, well.. it likely won’t be your smile, your winning personality, or your great customer service skills I remember. Perhaps that’s my issue; perhaps that’s what we’re debating here. But I question the wisdom of the person (the Target girl in this example, or the girls/boys posting ‘questionable’ material) that makes that choice in the first place.
3) Lastly- I’m always a bit surprised when nobody seems to be mentioning what is- to me at least- the obvious- maybe ‘children’ shouldn’t have access to social media at all. And yet, to say this in some groups is to grow an eye in the middle of your forehead apparently. We’ll see if our attitude softens over time (our girls are 10 and 4), but right now- our thinking is there’s no need for a Facebook or an Anything account until..maybe around driving age, I don’t know. One Mommy/blogger/columnist/social commentator I’m very fond of didn’t let her kids do the Facebook thing until they were High School age I believe. It’s just kinda twisted that some people regard such a decision as analogous to child abuse.
“But if you’re a Target cashier and you’ve decided that appropriate dress happens to reveal a large percentage of your breasts, and I go through your lane, well.. it likely won’t be your smile, your winning personality, or your great customer service skills I remember. Perhaps that’s my issue; perhaps that’s what we’re debating here. But I question the wisdom of the person (the Target girl in this example, or the girls/boys posting ‘questionable’ material) that makes that choice in the first place.”
I’m really confused why everyone keeps assuming that girls dress themselves blindly and don’t register the reactions they receive from what they wear. Personally, I’m pretty sure I can see my boobs, butts, legs, etc and I know what’s being shown and what isn’t. And I like that if I wear that cute sun dress that shows a few extra inches of my legs I get more looks when walking down the street, and that isn’t evil or bad for me to do. What I wear is completely up to me to decide. I’m an intelligent, successful academic who loves my life and the person I have chosen to become, and receiving some positive feedback from the opposite gender doesn’t undermine who I am in any way. Think what you will, I don’t care, I have a right to wear what I want to, I know exactly what I’m doing, and I know how valuable I am as a human being as a whole, not just an attractive female. I don’t understand why we keep thinking girls don’t know what they’re wearing; if anything, we are probably more conscious of it than anyone else.
Just FYI, Elizabeth, this doesn’t always apply. I used to show a fair bit of skin (in a Daisy Duke kind of way – styles change). I was in my early teens, had large breasts and was having a really hard time adjusting to puberty – both the changes in me, and in the reactions of other people. I knew, in the abstract, that my look was “sexy’, but, on another level, I really had no idea what that meant to people around me. On some levels, I still don’t. (I’m really kind of socially inept, and don’t understand social rules very well, so I struggle with some things that other people understand easily.) I also don’t even think about people looking at my boobs, anymore. I had DD bustline in 8th grade, they *always* looked (not just kids my own age, either), no matter what I wore. I went through several years of hyper-awareness of it, then learned to mostly tune it out. I’m no more aware of how my breasts look – unless something like article makes me focus on the topic – in a low cut blouse than in a loose, baggy t-shirt. I wear clothes mostly for comfort, and when I dress up, I’m looking at the overall colour, lines, etc., not whether or not my cleavage is visible.
Lisa, thank you so much for writing this. I’ve heard other women talk about the changes they experience during puberty, and the resulting confusion in the way that others (men in particular) react to them. I’m not sure that us guys can really every truly understand that. Yet it makes sense- I often think that it’s that confusion that troubles me most when I see too-young boys/girls exhibiting (what I think) is inappropriate sexuality. It’s not that I feel the sexuality itself is bad; I feel they’re engaging in stuff they really don’t understand.
I know. It can be very worrying. Unfortunately, I think the kneejerk “cover up” approach fails to address the underlying confusion. For instance, I had a really hard time understanding why people wanted me to cover up my breasts, when the guys were staring at them, regardless. The idea that I was sending some kind of message never really crossed my mind. The breasts were there. They were getting attention. The clothes were really about trying to figure out *what* message was going out…and, I think (those days were a LONG time ago – I’m in my mid-40s), about trying to send it on my own terms. I felt *less* like a thing when I was “flaunting” it than when I was trying to hide it and getting attention, anyway.
Thanks for bringing your perspective up. You’re right, everyone views themselves, how the present themselves, and how others see them differently. I primarily wanted to point out that individuals often still understand what about them is eliciting certain reactions. I still think we make decisions about what to wear according to what reactions we want. Or if we don’t want to deal with the reactions whatsoever and we have no control to change, we tune them out. I like some of those reactions, so I’m conscious of how to get those if/when I wish. I also like being comfy a lot of days, so I just don’t care sometimes. It sounds like you don’t like some of those reactions, so you learned how to ignore them, which I completely respect. But whether someone wants to be cat-called or not, I believe one still registered those instances, even in your case it sounds like you were socially adept enough to understand what people were looking at when they looked at you. Maybe girls don’t understand the full of extent of what it means when someone is looking at them, but they still get part of it.
“it sounds like you were socially adept enough to understand what people were looking at when they looked at you”
It doesn’t require any particular degree of social aptitude to understand that guys are looking at one’s breasts, when 50% (or more) of the looks are accompanied by “nice tits”, “wow – those would be a nice handful”, the leering *and* insulting “did you know your tits are lopsided?” or any of a bunch of other comments that I won’t repeat, because they contained kind of over-the-top sexual suggestions.
I’ve known too many women who simply try to dress attractively and/or in a stylish fashion, without really thinking too much about how sexy their clothes are, to assume that women are always aware of the reactions to what they wear.
For myself, I dress almost entirely for my personal comfort and a basic degree of neatness (ie. I try to avoid clothing with stains, tears, etc.).
You sound like a smart man. Your kids are lucky to have you and your wife for parents.
“But if you’re a Target cashier and you’ve decided that appropriate dress happens to reveal a large percentage of your breasts, and I go through your lane, well.. it likely won’t be your smile, your winning personality, or your great customer service skills I remember.”
I have a cousin who had DDD breasts in her teens. She eventually had them reduced in her 20s, partly because of what I’m talking about. She also has – still – the most amazingly gorgeous, striking blue eyes I’ve ever seen. Many men she met prior to her reduction couldn’t tell you what colour her eyes were, She didn’t dress “provocatively” – not ever. She’s a devout Christian, now married over 20 years to her teenage sweetheart. That didn’t change the attitude of many people.
In any case, the fact that you’d only remember the body is part of what we’re talking about. I absolutely notice the hot – male – cashier at the local grocery store. But, I also remember that he’s funny, an efficient grocery bagger, and does his job very well…because being hot doesn’t make him any less a *person*.
Yes, as I said, perhaps some of it is my own issues.
I think I get your point re your cousin, but I also think this is a different issue. I think people serving the public in retail spaces shouldn’t dress to arouse (wait..my arousal is my own deal, right? But then, Elizabeth said that women are very aware of their dress, and its effects…she implied that there may indeed be ‘intent to arouse’…my head is spinning…
Also, your cashier is simply ‘hot’; I assume no body part was hanging out. And no, of course his ‘hotness’ (really hate that “parlance of our times”) doesn’t make him any less of a person. It’s really more of a bonus, yes??
If you feel that a woman is dressed to arouse you (or anyone else), here’s a suggestion to try: disappoint them. Can’t pull it off? Then yes, that’s YOUR failing.
No body parts hanging out on the part of the male cashier. (I’m sorry you object to “hot”, but it’s one of the terms I actually like, although it’s greatly overused.) Mind you, the “body parts hanging out” thing is a little less nuanced for a guy – he can hardly have his genitalia partly hanging out, in the way that a woman can show cleavage or whatever. He does have what some would consider inappropriate taste in jewelry – rings, earrings – and other accessories. for someone working with the public. (I like the style of jewelry, and it adds to his appeal, imo.)
The “dress to arouse” is complicated. I never dressed to arouse anybody in the workplace. However, I did wear blouses with fairly low necks a lot of the time. I never really thought about it, and nobody ever complained. It never occurred to me that it could be considered sexual or inappropriate until years after I left work (I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for 10 years) and came across discussions about it. It was *very* common in the offices where I worked, and even older women would wear v-necks, sometimes quite deep. People have different ideas about what’s appropriate, and it was looked at more as a style thing than a sexual thing.
Elizabeth may think she’s speaking for all women, but she’s not. She’s speaking for herself. Even women who are sometimes aware aren’t necessarily always aware. I’ve had men staring at my bustline for over 30 years, and it still takes me by surprise sometimes.
” People have different ideas about what’s appropriate, ”
That says it all. In the workplace is is prudent to err on the side of caution.
I could be erring on the side of caution and *still* go beyond someone else’s guidelines. I’ve heard of women being asked/required to put bandaids or pads inside their bras, because their nipples were visible (the shape) through their blouses. This is not something that would ever have been an issue at any place I ever worked. I never wore anything – ever – to work that I perceived as being even remotely sexy or provocative. But, I’ve come across people online who would find my attire out of line, because I wore v-necks.
Frankly, I’m not going to go through my day cooking (I tend to overheat if I wear very high necklines/collars) or with the discomfort of bandaids on my nipples, just to err on the side of caution. If a sexual thought about me happens to cross a co-worker’s mind, so be it – but he’d bloody well better make eye contact, not stare at my boobs, while he’s talking to me.
“I could be erring on the side of caution and *still* go beyond someone else’s guidelines. I’ve heard of women being asked/required to put bandaids or pads inside their bras, because their nipples were visible”
My statement with regard to erring on the side of caution in the work place was a general statement about how anyone of us acts or appears in the workplace. I think everyone would agree the bar set at work is higher than we have around our own homes, and that applies to both men and women.
‘I’m sure that her sons’ female friends don’t want to be thought of only in a sexual way, considering that they are complex human beings with a range of feelings, ideas and interests.’
I think this is absolutely the key point in your article and in this whole discussion. Classic madonna-whore dichotomy where a woman can either be sexual or she can be worthwhile. Never ever both. How are men with this kind of upbringing ever supposed to consider any woman a full human being and a full partner? The cognitive dissonance is too great.
Cognitive dissonance is definitely an apt descriptor here!
Reblogged this on Crazy Casson Family and commented:
My thoughts exactly.
Thank you so much for your thoughtful response to a truly horrible article. Much appreciated.
Thank you so much for reading!
We’re so on the same page. Here’s what I wrote re Miley & Robin’s VMA performance, but it applies here too: http://buildingboys.net/teaching-boys-to-respect-women/
I have 3 sons and it is an up hill battle helping them to protect their own vertue. I can say without reservation that I, and judging from her tone Mrs. Hall as well, actively teach my sons to have compassion and empathy for others, girls and boys alike. But girls need to value them selves above their sexuality. There is a 7 year old girl that I can no longer leave my 7 year old son alone in the same room with because SHE WON’T KEEP HER CLOTHES ON! He’s 7 for crying out loud he’s not after her he’s not objectifying her, but she is sure trying to steel his vertue and throw hers away. There are A LOT of girls who are actively pursuing boys, I think this mom is doing her job stand
Amber, this 7 year old girl is not evil, she is a victim. I can tell you with 100% certainty that the reason she is doing this is because she has been molested or raped. She is very confused and traumatized and she’s trying to understand what happened to her by acting out her abuse with her friends. I’m not saying you should leave your son alone with her, but PLEASE don’t treat her like she’s purposefully trying to steal his virtue! She doesn’t even know what virtue is! She’s 7 for crying out loud! 4 years ago she was still in diapers! This is a cry for help! Don’t shun her. If you are close to her parents please share this warning sign with them so they can get help for her and if you are not close to her parents then at least call child protective services so a social worker can get involved. You’re talking about this helpless little girl as though she’s a horny teacher assaulting a student. Open your eyes and check out her family, 9 out of 10 times molestation occurs by a family member or close friend of the family. Please, you could be this little girls hero!
umm….my oldest son was almost always naked when he was seven. It wasn’t because he’d been molested. It was because nudity was a non-issue in our home. There’s every possibility this girl has been molested, but it’s not a 100% certaintly.
Either way…amber – how on earth do you teach your sons compassion and empathy for others, while accusing a *7 year old girl* of trying to throw away her virture and/or steal your son’s?? She’s a *child*.
Interesting how this written though the lens of a woman, who cannot begin to understand what it’s like to be a man, let alone a teenage boy. Her perspective will always be a patchwork of misconceptions and personal feelings, written in the belief that she is right. And from her perspective, she is. But from a mans, she will never be right. Because she will never be the things she writes about. A man
^We have a winner. So tired of women claiming knowledge of male sexuality.
“^We have a winner. So tired of women claiming knowledge of male sexuality.”
I have no idea what male sexuality is like. But, I do know that men can, if they want to, see women sexually and still understand that those women are *people*. Many men do it every day.
Hrm, good point. Men and women are treated very differently by society, and that can certainly lead to different perspectives. Lemme check this over…
It all looks good to me! And since I’ve got a dick in my pants, clearly I’m right from a man’s perspective. Happy to help!
I’m a man and I think she’s right.
I am also a man and I also agree with the author of this post. It is my responsibility to control myself and treat the women around me with dignity and respect. End of story. I will teach my daughter to expect that others treat her that way, not to settle for anything less, and to approach the world with open eyes and an honest heart. She is no one else’s object to abuse or control.
“Our boys MUST be taught these lessons. They must know that when a girl engages in sexually provocative behavior, her behavior does not give boys a “pass” to dwell exclusively on the girls’ sexuality. Nor does it entitle them to expect sexual favors from girls, or to pressure them sexually in any way.”
It isn’t our ourselves or our culture that teach young people about their sexuality just as we don’t need to teach infants to suck on a nipple. We are hardwired to view the opposite sex as sexual beings. We can teach proper behavior but all of that conditioning will have a hard time against adolescent hormones. So let’s stop pretending that teenagers aren’t sexual beings and instead teach them how to cope with the fact our society has delayed entry into adulthood for a decade beyond their bodies desire for that status.
Oh, as if hormones take over your motor control and make you do things? HAH. Are you saying we shouldn’t teach anyone to control their sexuality because it “will have a hard time against adolescent hormones?”
That little quoted excerpt isn’t ignoring teenager’s sexuality, it is encouraging them to be sexually respectful human beings (note the word “exclusively” that Rebecca Hains uses). I also do believe Christian teenagers are so sexually suppressed, especially after the purity movement happened and we started leaving the worth of individuals to be determined by their sexual actions. But no matter how much I admit teenagers are sexual, I also have to admit they are rational human beings. Teenagers have a brain, and a body that is not just genitalia. If I believe teenagers actually have the capacity to be as responsible as adults, then I must preach they have to be responsible for their sexuality, and that means not abusing other’s as well as exploring/respecting their own. We control our actions, words, emotions, thoughts. So why does sexuality get a wild card? Teaching responsibility does not equal suppression. Controlling the words I say to others does not mean I ignore the fact that I have words to say, it simply notes that words have power, just as sexuality has power, and power should be regulated so as not to harm others.
Very nicely stated!
My main objection is not that teenagers shouldn’t be taught how to behave, they can control their actions, but that they should be told what they can think. That is impossible, IMHO, because I think we are hardwired to believe certain behavior is good or bad. Men are naturally repulsed by promiscuous women into we don’t want a long term relationship with one. What Mrs. Hall was teaching young women was that there is no way she can control what her boys THINK about young women who display themselves so if they don’t want to be thought of as sluts don’t act the part.
I have not seen anyone arguing in favor of adults controlling teenagers’ thoughts. That would be an odd argument, indeed.
No, Mrs. Hall cannot control what her boys think. But the boys themselves can take responsibility for how they regard the girls in their lives.
“Men are naturally repulsed by promiscuous women”
Seriously? I’ve never seen any evidence of this whatsoever. Not being willing to enter into a relationship with a promiscuous woman isn’t the same thing as being “naturally repulsed” by her. There are all kinds of factors that go into a choosing a long-term partner that have little or nothing to do with being repulsed. (I can say, quite honestly, that the guy with whom I had the most intense sexual chemistry of my life – people around us could almost see the sparks the first time we met – was someone I wouldn’t even consider having a relationship with. He was incredibly hot, and a good buddy of mine…but he wasn’t at all what I was looking for in a partner.)
I can’t stop my boys from looking at girls and thinking of those girls in a sexual fashion. I *can* do everything in my power to make my boys understand that those sexual thoughts aren’t all there is to the girls in question. If my 20 year old son checks out every pretty girl who walks by, it doesn’t bother me at all – as long as he isn’t leering, making rude comments, or otherwise making the girl in question uncomfortable. If I catch him treating a girl as if she’s nothing more than her boobs, butt and the skin she’s showing, he’s going to catch hell.
I’m believe Mrs. Hall is trying to protect her sons from every angle. This was the message she was sending to the girls but we don’t know what message she gave her boys about their responsibility in all this because it was done in her home instead of online. After all, a mother who would sit down with her sons every week around the table and review with them everything new on Facebook is an example of a very involved parent. More so than most! Someone like that would probably not just leave the ball in the girl’s court, she’s want her sons to be just as responsible for themselves. How often have many of you sat down and reviewed what’s going on in the lives of your kids friends? Maybe some of you do and if so, that’s awesome! I’m 33 and unfortunately I’m not a parent yet, but I can imagine that raising 4 kids between the ages of 8 to 15 must be hard by itself, let alone trying to keep an eye on the friends they interact with. This is a very involved mother, and good for her. I definitely agree with you that she needs to teach both sides of the coin, her sons are responsible for their own thoughts and actions. This isn’t the 50’s and thank goodness we no longer blame the girl saying she was asking to get raped because she dressed too attractively. But I want to give props to a mother who is trying to be involved in her kids lives. It sounds like she had genuine concern for these young ladies and their self image and wanted to help them. And also good for her that she wasn’t being judgmental about it and taking a “once a slut, always a slut” stance but instead offering forgiveness and acceptance to anyone who would realize that the photos were inappropriate and delete them. For a traditional Christian to show that kind of forgiveness is actually pretty impressive. After all, the unfortunate precedent for today’s fundamental traditional Christian is to kick the child out of the house for coming out of the closet or becoming a pregnant teen.
“For a traditional Christian to show that kind of forgiveness is actually pretty impressive.”
I’m having trouble seeing where the forgiveness is in “no second chances”. As a Christian, I know that’s not a Christian perspective.
Thank you so much for this! I have 3 boys and my heart sinks too when I read some of the slut shaming, victim blaming articles that have been sprouting up on fb lately, mostly written by mothers of boys. What are they passing on to their sons? I love what you’ve written and shared it.
I feel sorry for boys being raised by a feminist.
I know, right? It’s so awful that young boys might be raised to believe that women are people too!
Feminism is more about teaching that women are victims and that men are predators. Please note the buzzwords: slut shaming. Feminists want to shame men into not being repulsed by promiscuous women but that runs counter to human nature.
How does “slut shaming” equal “feminists shaming men”? That’s a real stretch. Oh, and thanks for mansplaining what “feminism” means! Who knew you could so adeptly clarify our own politics for us?
“Oh, and thanks for mansplaining what “feminism” means!”
I suppose on this we shall have to differ. I think that men are rational beings and thus are able to realize that it should be no more shameful for a woman to be promiscuous than a man. I guess you think men (inclusive of you, I assume) are mindless animals who, I further suppose, should probably be kept on leashes.
There are very good reasons for men to be more worried about promiscuous women. The first and most important is that women always know that they are the parent of their child but men don’t. Did you know that if your wife cheats and gets pregnant that you are financially responsible for that child? If a husband cheats the wife is not financially responsible for the child. Do you still think female promiscuity is the same as male?
BillC: At 3:09 pm, you said:
“The first and most important is that women always know that they are the parent of their child but men don’t.”
This isn’t really a valid argument in the age of DNA testing. Also, women can cheat on their husbands without ever having been promiscuous. Cheating can be a lot more complicated than many people believe, and there are frequently factors beyond promiscuity involved. Promiscuous women aren’t all willing to lie about their child’s father, either. The only way you can be sure of your partner’s child’s paternity isn’t marrying a virgin – it’s chastity belts or the modern equivalent.
All that aside…my husband has been financially supporting another man’s son for 10 years. I wasn’t promiscuous, and I didn’t cheat, and he knew it wasn’t his child (obviously, as my son was 7 when my husband met me). He doesn’t seem to feel that making sure that a child has a decent life is some kind of horrendous burden.
Oh, and btw – if my husband cheats, he could potentially bring home an STD. That STD could even be life threatening. So…I’m not supposed to worry about my life, but you can be worried about your money? Cheating is cheating, and it’s a low thing to do, regardless of one’s sex. (Cheating and being promiscuous are also two different things.)
I feel sorry for Bill C.
I didn’t see the original post the way you do. I saw the post as a kind, christian (or maybe not, can’t remember) family with a mom trying to convince girls that it’s not necessary to flaunt it.
“I know that sounds harsh and old-school, but that’s just the way it is under this roof for a while. We hope to raise men with a strong moral compass, and men of integrity don’t linger over pictures of scantily clad high-school girls.”
^^ Doesn’t sound to me like she’s placing the blame on the girls.
I am 1000% against the slut shaming, victim blaming and I didn’t take it that way.
If she’s not blaming the girls, why is she asking the girls to change their behavior?
Because they do share SOME of the blame, duh?
Actually the girls don’t share some of that blame. They can post pictures of posing however they would like to. Other can react to that how they will, but girls are allowed to “flaunt it” if they wish.
Right. This is what the “still not asking for it” meme is trying to convey.
The only people responsible for the thoughts of Mrs. Hall’s sons are Mrs. Hall’s sons. No one else is to blame for their thoughts, desires, or actions.
The long and short of it is this: If she wanted to encourage teenage girls to make better decisions on social media, that’s great–but her argument should focus on the girls’ experiences. Saying that girls need to stop it because they are corrupting her sons’ thoughts is a *horrible* argument.
“Saying that girls need to stop it because they are corrupting her sons’ thoughts is a *horrible* argument.”
I disagree. Men will form an opinion of a woman based on the way she dresses. Men don’t have to act on that but I can tell you that we are not going to want to form a long term relationship with a promiscuous woman. There are plenty of studies showing the more partners a woman has the more likely she will initiate divorce. If a man wants to ensure he stays married it is better to marry a virgin.
I think that is a good lesson for young men and women.
You might have missed what I was responding to: “Doesn’t sound to me like she’s placing the blame on the girls.”
Brilliant response. Hit the nail on the head!
Thanks very much!
So…when boys see girls being sexually provocative….as you say….they are supposed to what?? Now you are blaming the “girls” behavior based on what they see on television/social media, etc?! So great…girls can’t think for themselves either??? I like the fact that my sons look at them as being trashy and choose to keep looking….and before you ladies get all wadded up….watching 12 to 15 year old girls dancing/dressing/ gyrating like Miley Cyrus IS trashy….and WILL get most boys unwanted attention….
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I think it’s a balance. As a mother of a son, I resonated with Mrs. Hall’s article. Also, as a mother of 3 daughters, I did, too! I also resonate with what you are saying. I do not think it is the sole responsibility of a girl to keep the boys in check, but I really don’t think she thinks that either. She’s not blaming girls, just letting them know that guys are not the only ones who see those photos and asking them to re-think what they post. At that age, girls just don’t think through the future implications of what they are doing and I think her perspective was dead-on. I think she is looking at it from the lens of a mom who is trying to raise her boys right and is tired of the girls parading themselves half-naked in front of them. I get that. I really do. But I also think it’s important we hug our girls a little more, give them the attention they are craving and point them to the only One who will ever be able to give them the affirmation they desperately crave.
In a nutshell – I think you are both wise and on to something big – something that (obviously) needs to be discussed.
Agreed. I don’t think Mrs. Hall was saying that her sons are in no way responsible for their actions, I think she was just trying to bring attention to the fact that teenage girls posting scantily-clad pictures of themselves is a problem. I didn’t see her words as “shaming,” I just saw them as bringing to light something she and her family deal with and that other people obviously deal with as well.
What are the future implications of what they are doing?
Future implications include photos of them going out on the internet for all to see (and pass around), regret when they do grow out of this phase and there’s nothing they can do to erase the photos and the devastating impact it can have on their families if their photos are inappropriate, to name a few. I’m SO thankful I did not grow up as a teen in this digital age. I messed up a lot, but it was not out there for all to see. Now that I’m grown, I seriously regret and am horrified at some of the things I did. The internet is a whole new animal that we are all trying to figure out how to tame. God help us!
Don’t feel regret! Making mistakes as a teenager is part of growing up, and it made you a better person! People generally understand that teenagers make mistakes and do foolish things and are reasonable about it. Selfies so modest you could broadcast them on daytime television (wearing pajamas and posing, wearing a towel) really aren’t that interesting to the rest of the world. At worst we’re talking about embarrassment in front of one’s school mates. That will pass, and I know my generation didn’t need the internet to embarrass ourselves in front of our school mates.
I have been appalled by the behavior of some of the boys my daughter knows and goes to middle school with. I can’t even repeat some of the things they have said to her and some of the other girls in her class. We can’t change their behavior, so we focus on discussing why they are saying and acting the way they do. She says a lot of them listen to rap music, which is, historically, very degrading to women. All we can do, as parents, is try to give our daughters the tools with which to deal with unacceptable behavior by others. I don’t know HOW we get other parents to wake up and get to KNOW their child. When someone figures that out, please be sure to share it. The thing that scares me the most about this situation is that I have always believed you have to start teaching your child how to be a good person when they are YOUNG…while they LISTEN to you. Waiting until they’re in their early teens just may be too late. 😦 If the boys my daughter knows act and speak the way they do, now…how will they act in a few years?
Hip hop was widely popular among my white-bread eighth grade class in 1989. Somehow we turned out okay. Talk to your kids about the problematic aspects of popular music (which will require listening to it), but I really wouldn’t worry about.
Gangster rap didn’t show up until the 90s. You were listening to Young MC and LL Cool J. That is a whole lot different than NWA and Tupac.
You know NWA’s Straight Outta Compton came out in 1988, right? I assure you, what we were listening to was sexist as hell. That was certainly part of the taboo appeal.
I never liked rap or hip-hop, but I was a hardcore metal fan in the mid-80s (still am, actually). Most of the stuff I listened to had a focus that wasn’t sexual, but some of it was. Some of that sexual stuff was kind of over-the-top, too. But…a lot of the time, what I was hearing/processing, and what was being said, were two different things. And, when I heard something like Iron Maiden’s “22 Acacia Avenue” (lyrics can obviously be googled), I *loved* the fact that it made the adults around me cringe.
My oldest son is a kind young man. He’s had the same girlfriend for the last 2.5 years, and I suspect they’ll get married after they’re both finished university. He treats the females in his life – me, his sisters, friends, girlfriends, aunts, etc. – with respect. He also, in his teens, listened to a few songs/artists that made me cringe in terms of their tone where women are concerned. We talked about it a bit, but it didn’t turn him into a misogynistic jerk. The influence of culture is certainly important, but we can’t just say “these boys listen to *rap*!” and think that explains anything.
Alan, re your earlier comment that you guys turned out all right (despite your early music tastes)- you’re clearly an intelligent person who utilizes critical thinking to come to your own truths.. so yeah, I don’t worry too much about the effects of not-so-nice media on people like you. But I do worry about the effect it has on those who do not ask those questions, and do not analyze what they’re seeing and hearing.
I appreciate this response. It’s thoughtful and reasoned, and I share your concerns about the affects on girls and the boys’ need for self-control as well. I wanted to add that the blog post as most have seen it had been altered- originally it had MORE pictures of her shirtless boys! She removed several and did not note it in her original post. I’m a Christian mom with two young daughters and it just made my stomach flop when I read it, though I admit at first her “words” make sense. As I read it and re-read it, I felt more uncomfortable with her approach to “shame” young girls who are friends of her sons.
I’m just guessing here…but I really don’t think the Hall boys are animals. From their mother’s writing, I would think they that were raised to respect woment no matter what. I think this was written more as a warning to girls about what the general population of boys might think when they see suggestive pictures of girls. Obvioulsy the Hall boys can’t “unsee” a picture either, but I not too worried about them. Im worried about others boys whose parents don’t have this conversation with them. BOTH sides need to take responsibility, and I think the Hall famiy has done that.
Actually, it sounds like they are being raised to only respect women who live up to a certain (arbitrary, unequally applied) standard of behavior and shun the rest as damaged and unworthy. As Mrs. Hall herself writes, if a girl steps out of line, even once, there are ‘no second chances.’ That’s a pretty harsh and black & white way to raise teenagers.
If men cannot control themselves, why do they not just give up and let us women rule the world?
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I think this is very relevant… it points out a huge error the Hall column makes, which is basically slut-shaming the girls instead of placing the blame for the boys’ future thoughts and behaviors where it belongs — on themselves.
That was the major problem I had with the Hall column, and this one helped articulate it, so thank you for that.
You obviously completely missed the point of the story. I don’t understand you even writing an article to criticize a mother’s thoughts on trying to get boys, girls and their parents to understand the long-term effects of these stupid pictures teenage girls are posting online. I am not a chuch-going person nor do I know Mrs. Hall but I do have a teenage daughter. I personally think your response sucks and you are just another example of our failing education.
Wow–thank you for posting such a reasonable, articulate response! You make it crystal clear that *your* education was top-notch. Bravo. Keep up the good work!
What are the long term effects of these stupid pictures teenage girls are posting online?
Boys form opinions of these girls based on their behavior. The long term effect is that the boys think of these girls as promiscuous and, therefore, unworthy of long term relationships. That is human nature.
That is not even remotely “human nature”. That is a social construct TAUGHT to boys by a rape-encouraging, women-shaming, patriarchal culture that upholds centuries of religiously-puritanical double standards. The response to that misguided mother was awesome. I feel sorry for her sons. Imagine how humiliated they will be at school now that her archaic, hypocritical craziness is splashed everywhere.
Bill C: Elsewhere in the comments, you state that studies show that the more sexual partners a woman has had, the more likely she is to initiate divorce. If it’s human nature for men to avoid long term relationships with promiscuous women, how do these women get married in the first place?
“If it’s human nature for men to avoid long term relationships with promiscuous women, how do these women get married in the first place?”
For a long time society had controls on female promiscuity. That abruptly ended in the 1960s for many reasons; the pill, abortion on demand, no-fault divorce. (Of course, at the same time male promiscuity increased.) Most men and women alive at the time did not think about how female promiscuity would change society. The biggest change has been the increase in divorce rates. Men have gotten wiser over the past 50 years and we are being more careful about who we marry, or choosing to stay single and date, or completely avoiding women, at least American women. So to answer your question, society had controls on female promiscuity which meant men did not have to give it much thought. Only after 50 years of the sexual revolution are you seeing men react and the main reaction is men avoiding marriage.
If men have to *think* about female promiscuity and its effects on marriage, then men are not “naturally repulsed” by promiscuous females. They’re thinking through the ramifications, or what they believe to the ramifications, of becoming involved with promiscious females. Those are two *very* different things.
I never got involved with the incredibly hot guy I knew in my teens, either. I wasn’t even remotely *repulsed* by him. I thought through his approach to his relationships with girls, and decided it wasn’t in my best interests to act on the extreme sexual chemistry, or engage in a relationship beyond being buddies. That’s not the same thing as being “naturally repulsed”.
You’re trying to say it’s human nature for men to be repulsed by promiscuous women, while simultaneously saying that men regularly got involved with said promiscuous women, until they started seeing research and/or thinking about the ramifications. Which is it?
I’m also interested in your assertion that female promiscuity *causes* divorce. Correlation doesn’t equal causation, and there are many, many, many factors that could be at play there. The sexual revolution also came hand in hand with a lot of other changes in the way men and women interact, what people of both sexes expect from marriage, what requirements are necessary to get a divorce, etc. etc.
My late grandmother stayed with her alcoholic, emotionally abusive husband. I didn’t stay with my drug addicted, emotionally abusive ex-husband. I also happen to have had more sex partners (not by much) going into that marriage than my grandmother had going into hers…but that had nothing to do with the way the marriages played out.
Lisa68, you are putting up a valiant effort and making some wonderful points, but you’re wasting your time arguing with an MRA (supposedly) going his own way. (Wish he would actually go.) They care not for logic or reason. Only misogyny.
I think that boys need to learn that provocative photos are like dress-up – not real. If you see a person dressed up as a villain, you don’t automatically want to kill him. Someone dressed up as Superman is not going to save you. You’ve learned that dress-up is for fun and differentiate the costume and what it represents from the person and what he represents. Provocative pictures are like that. You’ll react, however with the knowledge that this is fantasy, not real, and does not entitle you to do or think or hope anything beyond that same reaction to villain or hero costume.
I never thought of it in those terms before. Really good point! Thank you.
Yes, if a woman dresses like a whore that doesn’t mean she is a whore just like if I dress like a policeman doesn’t mean I am a policeman. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8K1KHqi9bXc
Further to this comment, with the dawn of the internet and unlimited access to “adult” entertainment, teenagers are getting a skewed view of sexuality, intimacy, etc. What happens in an adult film is fantasy, but young people see it as reality and change their expectations. I saw an interesting documentary about this, and how it not only affects girls (obviously, what is expected of them sexually) but boys, too, who are watching adult films, looking at these images and believing their lives are meant to live up to what they see. It’s all connected.
Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!!
Thank you for reading!
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Reblogged this on Not-Dot and commented:
While I’m not up to date on the events prompting this response here, the sentiments are refreshing and so very needed in our culture.
So the girls try to look sexy … boys try to look hot too,machismo, “thug-life” – all trying to appear happier, more successful and popular than they may be. It’s up to us to educate our children, not to shame them, not to judge or throw stones. Let’s meet them where they are and TALK. Talk to our children, talk to eachother … I don’t appreciate the route which Mrs. Hall took. It’s as degrading to men’s intelligence as to young women as well.
Very nicely said Karen.
I’m sorry, I see it slightly differently. I’m not 100% disagreeing, I’m saying, it shouldn’t be looked at from this perspective.
I’m afraid the author has missed the point of Mrs. Hall’s post! Her point is that she IS trying to raise morally upstanding young men, and these girls are making themselves into stumbling blocks in the lives of these young men. A boy/man at the beach/pool is expected/ acceptable to be shirtless that is the norm, and not him attempting to be sexier than his everyday self. However, the young women that are choosing the skimpiest swimsuits or shortest skirts/shorts they can find when there are other options IS a different story! (I’ll refrain from addressing the bra-less line, for the inability to be nice about it.) Mrs. Hall is not excusing her young men and their natural desires, she is speaking out to the obstacles (girls) that are making things unnecessarily harder than they all ready are. This is a mother / family doing their all to raise righteous men, and she is addressing her greatest hurdle – the continually declining moral standards & sexualization of today’s culture. Mrs. Hall is simply telling these girls what their own parents are not (whether the parents realize they’re daughters are behaving/ presenting themselves this way or not). I think instead of criticizing this mother, uplifting her attempt to encourage modesty in young women should be applauded and deserves the attention it is receiving AND more! Simply put – she’s doing her part (attempting to raise morally upstanding men) and then some (attempting to correct the poor behavior of other’s children). Add to Mrs. Hall’s righteous stand – sure! Criticize and take away from her message – shame!
But, let me add, I DO applaud your point that it is the responsibility of both genders to change the path our society is on.
Today I learned that girls are “stumbling blocks” and “obstacles,” correcting my previous misconception that they are “human beings.” I learned that it’s okay for a boy to be shirtless and generally expose a lot of skin, but it’s not okay for a girl (I’m still waiting to learn why this is true).
“I learned that it’s okay for a boy to be shirtless and generally expose a lot of skin, but it’s not okay for a girl (I’m still waiting to learn why this is true).”
Because men and women are different and all of your liberal wishing and hoping that human nature were different will not make it so.
Yes, we’ve previously established that you believe men are irrational beings who need to be protected from themselves. I assume this is based on personal experience.
So, it’s okay for the shirtless boys to engender lust in the girls, but not the other way around? Why is that? (And, friend, if you don’t believe that girls are lusting after those shirtless boys, you’re far too ignorant to even comment here.)
What is missing from most people’s analysis of this situation is that men and women are different and there are different standards of behavior. That fact apparently drives liberals insane.
“Standards of behavior” are cultural. At one point the standards of behavior said that women shouldn’t vote, shouldn’t participate in politics, shouldn’t have jobs, should marry and devote themselves to raising children. Standards changed because people pushed back. You are essentially arguing that the world shouldn’t change from what you’re comfortable with, and what you’re comfortable with is bias against women.
““Standards of behavior” are cultural.”
This is our fundamental disagreement. I think most of our standards are rooted in biology. To go back to your original comment: ” I learned that it’s okay for a boy to be shirtless and generally expose a lot of skin, but it’s not okay for a girl (I’m still waiting to learn why this is true).” Men view breasts as signals of fertility and we are hardwired to find the breasts of young women attractive. Women have different signals of attraction some of which are physical but many of which are related to discovering the intelligence of a man because women value intelligence higher than men when it comes to reproduction. Again, this truth drives liberals insane because they peddle the notion of an equality that isn’t there.
If women value intelligence so highly, why do so many of us marry idiots?
Do you actually believe the girls aren’t lusting over the shirtless guys at the beach??? My son was a gymnast in high school. While watching a meet one year, I overheard a girl telling her friend that she was going to stay in the gym over lunch break, because she wasn’t willing to miss “the hot guys in spandex”. Trust me, the girls are looking at the naked chests and all the rest…we like what we see. We may override the attraction, for various reasons (just as you’d override an attraction to a promiscuous woman), but it’s there.
When it comes to sex both sexes value a good body. But we have different criteria for marriage.
re: your comment of 3:31 pm (the comment thread has reached max length):
What do criteria for *marriage* have to do with the subject at hand? The girl doing a sexy pose in scanty clothing, and the shirtless guy at the beach are being discussed in terms of causing people to “stumble”, lustful thoughts, etc. Since I’m not marrying any of the guys I look at on the street/at the beach, and the Hall boys probably aren’t marrying any of the girls on their Facebook, I don’t see what marriage has to do with the discussion.
” I think most of our standards are rooted in biology.”
So…to get back to your various comments about promiscuous women – why did society require all these locks on women’s sexuality? If promiscuity in women is so inherently repulsive to men, surely the behaviour would be self-correcting, and chastity belts, chaperones, etc. etc. etc. etc. wouldn’t be necessary? Why was it ever necessary to socially shun the single mother, while dismissing the father’s role with “boys will be boys”?
The “standards” (and I use the term loosely) of sexual behaviour in our culture have long been rooted in the idea that women’s sexuality has to be kept under strict control (where is the biological root of this?), and women have to be punished by severe social sanctions if they slip. Where is the biological root of “send the pregnant 16 year old to grandma’s for a year, so her baby can be put up for adoption and nobody will ever have to know she had sex”? Where is the biological root of “she was raped, so she has no honour”?
“we are hardwired to find the breast of young women attractive” – and yet there used to be tribes and cultures where women walked around shirtless, like men, and it wasn’t remarked upon – it was just normal. The fact that we view breasts as sexual, and it’s okay for men to go around shirtless and not women is a cultural standard of behavior.
Bill, do you have proof that behavior (such as visualization leading to lust, which I assume is what we’re talking about here) is not culturally conditioned? From the research I’ve done, there appears to be some research studies that say men are more visual, some that that say men aren’t, and some that say men are, but it appears to be culturally conditioned. Therefore, it appears that many of the differences between sexes are not established fact.
“What is missing from most people’s analysis of this situation is that men and women are different and there are different standards of behavior. That fact apparently drives liberals insane.”
I think you may be on to something Bill
Different standards of behaviour and inherent differences between the sexes are two completely different things.
I agree with you @AHertter. Why are people picking on the photo of Hall’s boys in swim trunks at the beach to try to place equal culpability on the “scantly dressed” issue with girls? It is preposterous to equate normal and appropriate beach attire for males to a PJ and braless photo of an young girl in her bedroom. I just don’t think these two images are on the same level.
Umm…maybe because young girls can lust after a shirtless guy at the beach just as much as the boys lust after the girl with no bra?
Honestly, the bra thing confuses me. Most girls I know who go braless do so for reasons of comfort. I only wear one when I leave the house – but I have large breasts, and I can guarantee they’re far more likely to catch a man’s attention when I have a bra *on* than when I don’t. Wearing or not wearing a bra isn’t necessarily about looking sexy or not looking sexy.
i won’t address what you’re saying about girls making themselves stumbling blocks to men, because i think it’s just an idiotic point that you’re obviously not going to change your mind about because of your beliefs, and that’s your prerogative. however, i have two points: men can be just as much “stumbling blocks” to women as women are to men…because, in case you don’t know this, women are sexual beings too. they’re not exempt from having lustful desires and urges. furthermore, i just want to point out that it’s really not Mrs. Hall’s place to: “attempt to correct the poor behavior of other’s children”. they have parents, that’s their parents’ job. she should worry about her own children’s poor behavior. end of story.
“A boy/man at the beach/pool is expected/ acceptable to be shirtless that is the norm, and not him attempting to be sexier than his everyday self. However, the young women that are choosing the skimpiest swimsuits or shortest skirts/shorts they can find when there are other options IS a different story!”
Boys being shirtless is a cultural norm…but men used to wear bathing costumes that covered far more than the modern trunks. (And, in the 80s, men mostly wore Speedos, which showed much more.) There are still boys who wear shirts at the beach and/or pool. And, I know enough young men to know that many of them are going shirtless, not just because it’s “expected/acceptable”, but because they want to show off their muscles for the girls. How is that any different than a girl wearing a bikini, especially when all her friends are also wearing bikinis, and bikinis are, in fact, *also* a cultural norm?
I agree with your point that it shouldn’t be put solely on the girls, but I don’t think that saying the girls are partly to blame (not even close to fully) is a bad thing. Saying that the girls should think this through doesn’t preclude the fact that the boys need self-control too. And they are learning it, she teaches them to un-friend the girls that do that.
Me, I think boys should un-friend bullies and bigots. But I guess you could draw the line at “girls cautiously and safely exploring being sexual beings.”
You’re right, it’s everyone’s right to choose where to draw the line, especially when someone is doing so in a public place. I will teach my boy to draw the line at the same place. I will also teach my girls how to use a public forum.
Reblogged this on Sable Aradia, Priestess & Witch and commented:
Mrs. Hall, you are offensive. Teach your boys manners. And accept that teenagers are naturally interested in sex and trying to figure out what that means as part of their identities. And take those half-naked shirtless pictures of your sons down if you want their female friends to cover up in their PJs. You know that once a female sees a male in a state of undress, she can’t ever un-see it, don’t you?
I don’t think it’s reasonable to say “let’s do ‘x’ for the boys” OR “girls have to do ‘y'”. The fact is that girls need to learn how to protect themselves and consider the full potential for danger in what they are doing. Warnings to that regard, in whatever respectful form they take, should be lauded. Boys need to find ways to allow girls to explore that without becoming abusive or compromising their dignity or respect. I work in a treatment centre for youth and I’ve dealt with many girls who don’t have those boundaries and boys who compromise their dignity. I don’t doubt that Mrs. Hall teaches her boys SOME restraint but we can’t control our kids THOUGHTS (which is what that mother is worried about IMHO). In other she IS teaching them those things, as much as can be.
If Hall had written a post about the dangers of sharing these sorts of photos, I don’t think we’d be having this conversation. Instead she wrote a post about how these are endangering her boys, how these girls must be ostracized, and how there are no second chances.
I had similar feelings. Great post. Thank you!
Here was the response I wrote: Self-Mastery is Not Just for Girls
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I absolutely agree that men need to be held responsible for how they view women and think about them, but I also believe that women need to realize that “sexy poses” and such have a message. If you make something public, you are saying, “I want you to think of me in a way that this image obviously implies.” Don’t publish sexy pictures of yourself acting like a sex symbol if you don’t want to be viewed as a sex symbol. Even so, it’s my job as a man to see that this is still a human being. I must give her grace and help her understand what she is doing. I think this was the point of the FYI article. Help women understand that everything they do has an effect, and acting sexy has the effect of portraying that you want to be sexy.
This obviously holds true for men too. We should not be giving a message of “hey, look at my hot body” because it says we hold a higher priority on our body instead of being a good person. I think the biggest reason this tends to be pointed directly at women is because men tend to be more sexually aroused by visual things than women, so it has a greater effect on men. But that’s a generalization, so we need to keep it a standard for both men and women.
If the point of Hall’s article was “Don’t publish sexy pictures of yourself acting like a sex symbol if you don’t want to be viewed as a sex symbol,” why didn’t she say that. What she actually said was that her poor, fragile sons should be protected from these dangerous images, and that girls who post such image should get no second chances.
That part about the boys seeing you naked and never being able to un-see it is total BS. A friend of mine that I knew since kindergarden saw me naked by accident. I was more weird about it than he was. A couple years later I brought it up, and all he said was “oh yeah, I forgot about that!” This particular lad has always been respectful of women due to the teachings of his wonderful parents, and certainly able to use his big brain to see that I was more than just a naked body.
Yes and no. Nakedness does not necessarily = sexyness. If the situation was awkward, then it’s very different than a man seeing a picture of a naked woman online. The “high” created by the endorphins from arousel make the picture stick in the mind. This is very very true. It bothers me when I’m trying to enjoy my wife and stupid things I did/looked at in the past always invade my mind.
thank you for this post! the other problem that i had with Mrs. Hall’s post was that she was imposing her view of what is acceptable or appropriate for her boys onto these girls she was addressing. it was parents like her that confused me when i was teen, myself, by telling me that outfits that my parents had pre-approved were in fact inappropriate or provocative. i came to have a very skewed view of myself and my body, even though my own parents were trying to instill the value of self into me. what Mrs. Hall doesn’t realize is that she’s not only confusing these girls and shaming them on an issue that is really about personal preference, but she’s causing a much deeper hurt to some of these girls than she can imagine. plus, i find her double standard to be very evident in that she tells girls not to post half-naked pictures of themselves, but in the post actually puts up pictures of her half-naked boys, herself. this is very disturbing. she has a skewed view of what women/girls are really like, or what they “should” be like if she thinks that women/girls can’t sexualize men/boys just as much as men sexualize women. after all, it’s pervasive in our society and culture.
Hmmm…interesting…I think it’s all in how you read Mrs. Hall’s letter. I see it more as an open letter from a woman/mother to a girl/child and trying to empower them to build on what is real and respectful…NOT to exploit themselves sexually as our “toxic society” so often does. I also think it is clear that she is setting clear limits and expectations for her sons in hopes of helping them develop “respect and self-control”. Unfortunately, I feel like you took one sentence and made the original piece something it just was not. Yes, this is a societal ongoing issue with regards to the sexual exploitation of girls but the only way we can make that happen is to BE the change we want to see. This mother/woman hit that point home and in a kinda cool & modern way. Just My .02 😉
Interesting article. I agree with some points and disagree with others.
I think that both boys and girls are responsible and that both boys and girls need to learn to respect each other and themselves. To solely place the blame on the boys is as bad as solely placing it on the girls.
Respect is earned, not taught.
While a boy must be taught to respect girls, girls must learn to earn that respect. Miley Cyrus is a prime example of throwing out her dignity and losing the respect of any respectable boy.
To tell boys not to think about sex/girls/etc is an impossible goal. With the hormones raging through a teenage boy’s system, telling them not to think about sex is like telling the sun not to come up in the morning. “Don’t think about a pink elephant.”
It isn’t a matter of telling them not to think about sex (don’t try to bend the spoon- that’s impossible). We need to teach both genders what to do when they have those thoughts. How to not act on their desires. How to control their actions.
How about we understand that boys and girls are different and that we all need to work together to respect each other and do the right thing?
“I think that both boys and girls are responsible and that both boys and girls need to learn to respect each other and themselves. To solely place the blame on the boys is as bad as solely placing it on the girls.”
Yeah buddy. That’s what I keep coming back to as I think through this (and then think and think some more- thank you to all the commenters here!). I would just emphasize the responsibility that both genders share.
“While a boy must be taught to respect girls, girls must learn to earn that respect. ”
Now this is where I would think you’ll receive some blowback here 🙂 I can hear others saying ‘nobody should have to earn respect; it should be automatic’. I agree with my imagined-blowbackers that respect for other human beings ought to be a given. However, to pretend that we don’t at least play a part in the perception others have of us is silly.
“Respect is earned, not taught.”
I agree and disagree. I think respect for other people on the level of “this is another human being, not a piece of meat” should be a basic, and doesn’t need to be earned. I think that respect on another level (the “I really respect this person, because I’ve never caught him/her in a lie/because he/she works hard to provide for his/her family, because he/she has the courage of his/her convictions/whatever” one) must be earned. I also think it should take more than striking a sexy pose in skimpy clothes to lose that first level.
“To tell boys not to think about sex/girls/etc is an impossible goal.”
I agree. It seems to be the goal of those who are worried about stumbling blocks, though. Teenagers (not just boys!) are going to think about sex. Some might not, because they have unusually low sex drives, but the vast majority are going to think about sex. They’re going to think about it a lot. That part has nothing whatsoever to do with boys and girls being different. Every girl I knew as a teen had sex on the brain all the time.
The real issue is whether or not we allow our sexual appetites (including thoughts) to override somebody’s else’s humanity. No matter how sexually appealilng someone is, they’re still a *person*. (And, yes – there are girls/women who need to learn that, too. Many men tend to think they’d like being a sex object, but on the occasions when I’ve seen it happen, they haven’t liked it at all.)
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Thank you. I read your post and was ecstatic that you so beautifully articulated the same thoughts I had about the ‘Mrs. Hall’ post, which made my heart sink. I’m so glad it wasn’t just me. Also, it’s so nice to see a piece of writing that respectfully, intelligently expresses disagreement, rather than merely tearing down the original author or shaming them for their opinions. Bravo!
Thank you, Michelle! I appreciate that.
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Well said. Thanks for that. I also touched on this on my blog: http://hereswhatchadontknow.wordpress.com/2013/09/05/a-letter-to-my-daughter-about-rape/
Oh, your post is terrific. So well said! Nice work.
The only shame is that this wasn’t written first by a Christian-themed blogger. I have no idea what your faith is, but whatever it may be it’s not the focus of this blog, which is about other aspects of culture. It’s therefore compelling that *you* are the one who is indirectly quoting from the Sermon on the Mount, and the likes of Mrs Hall almost never do on this topic.
You’ll recall (as every educated person should) that in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus of Nazareth’s most famous collection of statements and a founding text of our civilization, Jesus never says one word about temptresses — he never tells women what to wear; he tells men how to think. And he does so in stark terms that called death-penalty crimes to mind in his audience. He’s quite serious about the consequences of objectifying another person, especially sexually.
While we can bemoan that more Christian faith-themed blogs simply ignore the words of the man they worship, we can just as profitably commend this one for speaking what is, in fact, an eternal truth, just as true today as it was in that not-so-foreign culture not so long ago.
Thank you, and keep up the excellent and insightful work.
bbbbarry, you’ve inspired me to go read the Sermon now. I am most assuredly NOT an educated person when it comes to The Word. Thank you for the insight!
You’ll recognize most of it — it’s the source of many sayings and quotes that are still all around us. But my prediction is that some of it will surprise you. It seems to speak directly toward today’s most religious people. Of course, the most religious people were in fact his biggest targets back then.
This is one of the smartest blog posts I have ever read about double standards and the objectification of women in the modern media age.
I wish that people would stop playing “volleyball” with this issue (always trying to pass the responsibility to the other side). Has anybody considered the possibility that maybe girls and boys (and men/women) BOTH share a responsibility here? That girls don’t have a free pass to wear whatever they want and boys don’t have a free pass to view girls however they want (I’m speaking here in a moral sense not in a legal sense). I wish boys would stop blaming their sex drive on girls. I wish girls would stop treating any and all talk of accountability or modesty as if they are being blamed for the male sex drive. I wish there could be “If you’re a teenage girl” AND “If you’re a teenage boy” articles where they didn’t spend half the time critiquing the other. But I live in politically correct/sex-obsessed/ 21st century America, so I doubt any of these wishes will come true.
If we’re not blaming them for the male sex drive, what exactly is it that they need to be held accountable for? What about how they chose to dress or present themselves must be stopped, and why?
Well said. I agree with you. Both sides need to act responsibly and be held responsible.
Lets be honest, these girls are not posting for other girls or for themselves, they are posting for boys. The fastest way to get a girls attention is to make them understand a boy doesn’t want to see that and it doesn’t make them stand out, it makes them be seen as something sexual as opposed to a well rounded woman. I believe THAT was her point. I don’t think she’s chastising other parents (of teenage girls).
If a boy doesn’t want to see that, why was it necessary for Hall to force her sons to unfriend them?
Actually, sometimes they are posting for other girls: their friends, because “everybody is doing it”. They have a slumber party and the cameras come out, Heck, even my oldest niece, who just turned 30, has some of those duck-lip poses in her evening wear (not p.j.s–fashionable evening dresses). She’s surrounded by some of her adult friends, who are all doing the same silly thing. Mind you, these photos I’m talking about have been taken within the last year…
I hope all you people who commented here that you disagreed with Mrs Hall commented on her blog.
Several people have written to me privately on this–apparently Mrs Hall moderates her blog and has not been approving their posts. How unfortunate! Discussion is healthy.
My own post to Hall’s blog never appeared. I can’t say why, I just know that it never appeared.
I replied three times, hitting different points each time, and being very polite. I know one of my posts was deleted, and the other two were in the limbo of moderation last I looked.
thank you thank you thank you for this thoughtful, respectful, tactful response to FYI. i started my own last night and i am afraid it would have included some unneccessary expletives and such, so imagine my relief (and the relief of whoever would have had to read my emotive response) to have stumbled on your response. you nailed the very points i found wanting in the FYI article. being a mother of 3 girls, i felt very, very strongly about this. thank you for addressing the discrepancies so well.
I’m so glad to hear this. Thank you very much for reading!
I guarantee that most of the people who agree with Mrs Hall also think what those Muslims do (covering up their women) is wrong. And yet they are doing the exact same thing.
A) Concern over young girls posting provocative pictures of themselves online
B) Belief that all women should be covered head-to-toe in stifling heat
Not exactly the same.
Note: I use ‘girls’ in A above to keep with the theme here. I find it an odd and unfortunate practice for girls OR boys to flaunt their (absolutely nothing wrong with it and totally human) sexuality online.
The first thing I thought when I started reading about Mrs. Hall is that she would endorse how the Muslims enshroud their women. It is very similar.
What is similar Jan? Do you mean you feel Hall’s attitude re appropriate behavior for girls is similar to the belief some Muslims have (re women’s attire)? That may be so, I can’t speak for her. I certainly can’t equate the two.
Not surprisingly, as I’m not from that culture, I don’t understand or support the Muslim thing; but I do like the idea of some degree of modesty on the part of all persons. Funny though- some people will conclude that modesty is a veil for some underlying shame, something repressed. Speaking for myself only, it’s really about self respect, and the belief that some things are sacred, private, and that’s an OK Thing. You can own something, love it, feel blessed by it, and still not have to shout out to the world, “HEY EVERYBODY, LOOK AT THIS!”
This was a great read! And it made some good points. However, I must add that sometimes, guys can’t help it….yes, they are responsible for what they think and things like that, but, as their sisters in Christ, we need to set them up to succeed. If girls are posting inappropriate pictures of themselves on facebook, they are not being respectful of guys who really do struggle to keep their thoughts pure…another thought that came out of Mrs. Hall’s post….it seemed to imply that all girls are like that. I’m a teenaged girl and I would never, ever post of provocative picture of myself on facebook…..that’s just not who I am and that’s not what I want to represent myself as. I’m sure a lot of girls would agree with.
Hey you :). Looking at this from a Christian perspective — like all of us, men cannot control their sinful nature by themselves, but they are held responsible for the choices they make out of it. As sisters, making it more difficult for them to be tempted is a sweet and loving choice, just as boy wearing shirts that don’t flaunt their musculature can be really helpful to their sisters. But we are not responsible for what they feel, or the choices they make out of that — it’s dangerous for any one person to feel “responsible” for another’s sin. That’s between them, God, and any person they sin against.
This post is specifically addressing how men act when they experience sexual thoughts, and refuting that they cannot act respectfully or that it’s nature for those thoughts to completely dominate their views of a woman. This is perfectly logical — you would not expect a husband to see his wife as a purely sexual being, despite that being an obvious aspect of their relationship. Unfortunately, people (often purportedly Christian people) have twisted the desire to not be a stumbling block into an excuse for the sin of men and boys, and put that blame firmly on the shoulders of their sisters.
God holds us responsible for our own choices and our own decisions, and boys are just as free to ask for his help to save them from temptation as girls are.
Have a wonderful week 🙂
I guess I just REALLY don’t understand Christianity. First and foremost asking anyone (but especially a teenager) to keep their thoughts pure (whatever that means, but I can guess) seems like nothing but a setup for failure 100% of the time and instilling guilt in young people over their perfectly natural sexuality. Guilt that can have far reaching consequences on their ability to form healthy long term relationships. Secondly, not everyone is Christian and it’s not really any individual girl’s responsibility to consider the effect of their actions on religious people. Third, damn, all the talk of desire being a sin and equating people to objects (Stumbling block! That’s all she is?!? On the way to what? Perfection? Not possible. Again, there is no win here, it’s guaranteed failure.) kinda makes me want to barf – mostly out of sadness at how unnecessarily limiting it all is. I’m honestly upset that young women are being taught to view and evaluate every choice they make through this lens, in the service of men.
I’m not sure if this will help you understand or not but i’ll try 🙂 keeping thoughts pure is a set up for failure, just like not lying and other things, but just because something is unattainable doesn’t mean it’s bad. Christians have all of our guilt taken away by Jesus who payed the price for our failures. God is perfect and just, so imperfection isn’t good enough for us to spend eternity with God, also the price has to be paid. But because God is merciful Jesus (who is fully God) gave up his status and authority to pay the price for us. You are totally right about guilt damaging people’s ability to form long-term relationships. I’ve struggled with guilt a lot myself. Some people told me I hadn’t done anything wrong, even though I knew I had done things wrong, and other people rejected me as no longer worthy. Both of these things damaged me. But when I learnt that I was guilty, but worth enough to God that Jesus would come to die for me, I began to recover. All I could do, or had to do, was accept God’s gift to me. Also I was able to stop fearing because Jesus came alive again. I know that God is in control of everything 🙂 He’s given us free will, and therefore allows bad things to happen, but he also promises to use them for the good of those that love him. Sometimes I find it hard to see it, but often I do later on. So about where being good comes in, it’s a result of believing and taking God’s gift. When someone becomes a chritian God gives them his Spirit to help them. The Holy Spirit starts to influence us more and more and as a general trend, we become gooder and gooder. (There’s ups and downs in this and sometimes we choose to ignore the Spirit. Christians are definitely not perfect! Christians were probably the main thing that put me off from Christianity. Also circumstances change and negative traits can be brought out more.) The idea of a stumbling block is definitely overused. It was originally a metaphor but some people seem to use it as more of a name. I think the point is still valid though. If someone does purposely try to make someone lust, then they are responsible for trying to make someone else sin but the other person is still responsible for any sin they do. I also agree that some christians over-emphasise women’s service to men. We should all serve eachother and be willing to help though 🙂 but nobody should be forced to serve. Thanks for your insight though 🙂 it’s hard for us to see our own faults
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This article is assuming that Mrs Hall was throwing girls under the bus without teaching her boys respect. Remember that she was addressing 1 girl that had posted a provocative photo takin in her bedroom. If she were addressing the entire population, I’m sure her post would have been more comprehensive..
Actually, Mrs Hall WAS addressing girls in general: the piece begins with the salutation, “Dear girls.”
That said, I don’t mean to imply that Mrs Hall is not teaching her boys respect–and actually, I don’t believe that is implied by my post, if you read it carefully. Obviously, I have no knowledge of her parenting practices beyond what she revealed in her post, and I’m certain she didn’t intend it as a comprehensive summary of her parenting beliefs. Why am I certain? Because it wasn’t about parenting at all. It was about what teenage girls should do to help her sons, with no critical reflection whatsoever about what might be at play in the lives of the girls whose social media activities she objects to.
So yes, in “FYI (if you’re a teenage girl),” Mrs. Hall does throw girls under the bus. And her post was being posted by SO many people on facebook, who were SO enthused about its message to girls, that I felt a counter-argument was sorely needed. Someone needed to say, “But, hey–maybe telling girls to cover up ISN’T the answer.”
I don’t see anything in Mrs. Hall’s post saying that the girls are entirely responsible or absolving her sons from any responsibility for their thoughts. However, you seem to be taking the extreme position that it’s all the boys problem and none of the fault lies with the girls. She isn’t talking about rape here. She is talking about how her boys think about women. If they are bombarded daily with women in sexually provocative photos, they are going to learn to think about women that way. So telling girls to cover up is definitely part of the answer. Read up on male physiology, hormones & psychology. I don’t see Mrs. Hall’s post throwing girls under the bus, but yours sure throws the boys under the bus.
I believe the middle section of my post makes clear that girls’ self-sexualization is indeed a problem. But given the cultural pressures on girls to present themselves in sexually appealing ways, no–I refuse to paint girls as being “at fault.”
By the same token, boys are not to blame for girls’ self-sexualization; there are social pressures at work far beyond teenagers’ interactions.
My position is that, yes, boys will have hormonal responses to seeing sexy pictures of girls — and that is not their fault. But it IS their responsibility to remember, always, that girls are human beings–not mere sex objects.
If that position is “extreme” to you, so be it. 🙂
If that truly is your position, it sounds like you agree completely with Mrs. Hall, so I’m not sure why you felt the need to criticize her in the first place.
No…I completely disagree with her making it the girls’ responsibility to protect her sons and keep them virtuous.
And I take serious issue with her warning that once her boys see girls as sex objects, they will see them in that light forevermore. It’s her responsibility to raise her boys to understand that sometimes, girls make bad decisions, and that they should remember that despite their flaws, the girls are still human beings deserving of compassion, respect, and forgiveness.
But there is no forgiveness in Hall’s post. Her one-strike-and-you’re-out policy is incredibly rigid and unforgiving.
“So why ask these questions? Doing so places the blame for her sons’ thoughts and desires squarely on the shoulders of the teenage girls they know–dodging the fact that boys are responsible for how they choose (yes, choose) to think of the girls in their lives.”
Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. This underlying theme that women’s bodies are inherently shameful, and dangerous, has got to go. I too am worried about the toxic culture that is compelling perfectly intelligent and talented young girls and women to feel they constantly have to prove their femininity and sexual attractiveness in the most unimaginative and clichéd of ways. I have young daughters and I rage and rail against this toxicity every day. But there is a fine line between teaching modesty and self respect, and delivering the message that their bodies are something to be ashamed of, embarrassed about and covered up at all times.
Thanks! Yes, I think the American Psychological Association puts it best: “Anyone (girls, boys, men, women) can be sexualized. But when children are imbued with adult sexuality, it is often imposed upon them rather than chosen by them. Self-motivated sexual exploration, on the other hand, is not sexualization by our definition, nor is age-appropriate exposure to information about sexuality.”
So, sexualization (reducing a person to a sex object) = problem; healthy exploration of one’s own sexuality = not a problem.
This is wonderful. Thank you Betsy!
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Thank you Rebecca for this much needed response. I read Mrs. Hall’s post yesterday and, despite my belief that it was well intentioned, found it quite troubling. The idea of shaming young women into complying with ones own rigid, dogmatic viewpoint made me cringe. It feels to me that her time would be much better spent teaching her sons how to be responsible for their own actions. On a positive note, it has opened up an important conversation on a pretty wide scale so, clearly a nerve has been touched. In my world, stirring the pot is generally a very good thing. That’s how change happens. Well done!
Thank you! I’m really glad to see the conversation that is happening across the Internet as well as in this space. You’re right–it has really hit a cultural nerve. My guess is that in the post-Steubenville era, parents are particularly attuned to these issues.
As a mother of boys wishing they weren’t surrounded by girls who feel the need to sexualize themselves, I totally understand where this mother is coming from. Wishing girls would think more and pose less. She probably exaggerated some things to make her point. No need to shame her for it. Your point is also exaggerated enough that everyone here is talking about whether or not men are responsible when raping a woman. She seems like a responsible parent who is trying her best to help her boys be responsible, see more than looks in girls, and monitoring their online activity. I’m willing to bet her boys have a better chance of growing up respecting women than most. I love reading about our culture & hyper-sexualized media & learning how to get involved. Really. But be nice to this poor mom, she’s trying to do her best with these kids.
Thank you for reading, but I’m afraid I don’t quite understand your comment. Could you clarify how my calm, polite, reasoned response is “shaming” Kimberly Hall? If there’s something I’m missing in my own writing, please let me know.
‘everyone here is talking about whether or not men are responsible when raping a woman’
This is a down and out lie.
Great response! I’m glad that I’m not the only one who sees this as an issue with girls…boys have to be raised to be the right kind of men. Let the parents of the girls train her how to respect herself, but how a boy reacts to a girl should be a concern among parents who raise boys.
Good response. I almost left a comment on her double-standard post. Something about it just stuck in my craw as the mother of two teenage girls. On top of that, she posts pictures of her sons in their swim trunks without shirts on. That obviously wasn’t well thought out.
I’m a former youth leader in our church and have worked extensively with teens. They mess up. I hardly think it is fair for a young man to look at a woman sexually forever for a single mistake or two she made while young and immature. As the mother of two daughters, Hall boys, if you are looking at my girls like you are picturing them undressed, you better watch out! I will call you out on it.
The longer I’m a Christian, the more I’m convinced that judgmental attitudes like this drive our youth away from the church and God. Let’s love one another and realize that we are all imperfect in some way. Yes, we need to be a good example to the younger generation and yes we need moral standards, but above everything else, let’s love one another. God will change the rest.
thanks so much 🙂 i totally agree
You bring up some good points, Rebecca. I still have yet to be convinced that Mrs. Hall is putting her sexual desires in the hands of girls. I do abhor the phrase and mentality, “Boys will be boys.” But she’s not absolving her sons of impure thoughts. She knows they’ll happen, and she doesn’t want to add fuel to an existing fire.
But you play right into “Boys will be boys” By saying that Mrs Hall “Knows impure thoughts will happen” and so “Doesn’t want to add fuel to the fire.” That is exactly the boys will be boys attitude. Will my sons be aroused by young women? I hope so. Is that the same thing as impure thoughts? No. Will they be interested and curious about what a sexual experience with an attractive woman would be like. Again, I hope so. That is not the same thing as objectifying her or lusting after her. If my sons respect the women around them and see them fundamentally as valuable beings with so much more to offer than breasts and a vagina, then a sexy picture is not a threat to their purity. If they see a woman’s role in their life as being primarily for their sexual satisfaction then no amount of clothing would stop them from lusting. Lust is not primarily about sex. It is primarily about the degradation of a human into a sex toy.
Thank you for your response! I was going to blog a response to that very same article, but I am THOROUGHLY satisfied with your well thought out & written response! Keep being AMAZING!
Oh, that is so kind of you to say. Thank you very much!!
Does it have to be one or the other? I’ve never understood people who say it’s all the girls’ faults for dressing scantily. I’ve also never understood the people who say that women should dress how they want and who cares what message it gives? The plain fact of the matter is that none of us are machines. We are human beings. There is biology at play. There is culture at play. There are societal norms and family traditions. Everyone brings these things to their interactions. A woman wants to show off lots of skin. That’s her right, yes, and yet, it WILL have an effect on those she interacts with. That is never going to change. A man dresses with his waistband around his knees, and that WILL have an effect on those he interacts with (I’ve never really seen men dressing to show off as much skin as possible…thank goodness. Yuck.). That is never going to change. Society’s acceptance of varying levels of skin and/or sloppiness may change…and has given how difficult it is to find formal attire that actually has sleeves anymore. However, men AND women cannot pretend that there is no effect on those around them for what they choose to wear. There is and there always will be. Now, what that effect is might change, but the effect will always be there. If I wore a deep V-neck and a skirt that showed off my butt cheeks when I bent over, that is going have an effect on men around me…and it will have an effect on women, too. If I saw a man walking around holding onto the belt of his pants because he wears them low and shows off his boxers, that’s going to have an effect on me.
Please, before anyone starts crucifying me for my thoughts here, please note that I find any argument made that men “can’t help it” when it comes to rape, assault or other sexually-motivated crimes to be horrid and disgusting beyond all measure. There is NO excuse for rape. None. Zero. Zip. When I’ve read that kind of thing, it makes me want to scream because it’s awful.
My only point is that this is a two-way street. We teach EVERYONE to show respect both by what we do AND how we dress. There will be consequences to what we choose to wear, and that won’t change no matter how many people blog about it from either side.
I will admit that maybe my point of view is flawed because I’ve never been sexually-attracted to anyone, male or female, and I’m in my 30s now. I’m looking at this from a perspective of zero experience. I’ve never found clothing or lack thereof to be titillating. The one time I saw a guy in a speedo I was grossed out, not aroused. I don’t find shirtless men “hot”. I can’t believe that wearing a bikini could ever be comfortable and desirable, and I don’t know why that’s considered “hot” for women, either.
“(I’ve never really seen men dressing to show off as much skin as possible…thank goodness. Yuck.)”
I grew up in the 80s. You mentioned Speedos in your last paragraph, and they were *everywhere* in my teens. I miss them. (No “yuck” here. I miss them. But, then, I like shirtless men, too.)
I have no desire to wear a bikini, but they don’t strike me as particularly uncomfortable – and two pieces are much more practical than a one piece if you need to use the bathroom.
I don’t even get the thing about respecting someone for how they dress. I never have. I don’t care if a girl is showing a lot of skin. How much respect I have for her is based on what kind of person she is, not on how much clothing she’s wearing.
Although you have some good points here, I think you are taking Mrs. Hall’s post out of context. It’s only one blog post on this issue. She very much seems to be teaching her sons not to objectify women. However, there is a natural response that boys have to fight very hard when they see naked women. Girls need to know this, because to a girl dressing sexy is just looking pretty to get attention for being attractive. For boys they can’t help but think about sex. No matter how a girl dresses, it doesn’t make it okay for a boy to give her unwanted physical contact. On the other hand, our society is putting boys in a tough position by encouraging girls to dress provocatively. We need to address both sides of the issue if we really want to protect girls and boys.
“dodging the fact that boys are responsible for how they choose (yes, choose) to think of the girls in their lives.” Just as girls choose how they present themselves to those boys. Our choices are not made in bubbles, girls make the choice knowing full well that boys will be attracted to that kind of thing. Just as you suggest boys should choose not to objectify girls, she suggests girls shouldn’t put themselves in a position to be objectified. Working together to be equal and build a better world goes both ways. It doesn’t mean one side gets to do whatever they want, consequences be damned because they are being “free”. Dodging personal responsibility is a pretty weak and sad position to take. Hiding behind buzzwords like “shaming”, when one fundamentally misunderstands the meaning of the word, is cowardice. She was teaching them awareness of the world, you’re teaching obliviousness. That’s the real shame.
Girls must certainly be responsible for their own decisions. But their decisions are made in a cultural context that coerces them into self-sexualization, as the American Psychological Association has documented. So, when we see girls objectifying themselves, the correct response is compassion–not a policy of “one strike and you’re off Hall island forever.”
Also, you suggest I’m “teaching obliviousness.” Sure– if by “obliviousness” you mean “critical thinking skills and an awareness of societal contexts.”
is that what you call it? All I see is someone teaching ducking personal responsibility by actually using blame. She actively wants her boys to be good men, you want to shift blame from bad choices made by girls to boys. You’re teaching them to be oblivious to the consequences of their own actions. “Just because I posted a bunch of sexual pictures on facebook doesn’t make it my fault that someone objectified me, not even a little bit, that’s totally on them” they bear responsibility for their reaction, but the situation had to exist for them to react to in the first place. You think guys aren’t coerced as much as girls are or are you saying women are weaker willed? You think guys don’t have pressure to act and think a certain way? but no..it’s only the girls who deserve compassion. I don’t see you advocating compassion for the guys. In fact quite the opposite. The boys don’t deserve compassion they deserve to be whipped into shape.
I think one of the funniest things is the bigots who don’t really realize they’re bigots.
As the mother of two boys, I find your assumptions rather amusing. You’re seeing what you want to see in my post; best to leave you to it. But thanks for reading!
ah, the “I have black friends so I couldn’t possible be a racist” defense. You’re right it is best to leave it there because it never goes to a good place after that card is played.
Loved reading your response to this!
I 100% agree with what she wrote AND I think it applies to both genders. I happen to have 2 daughters AND a son. So, I do think of both sides.
I must say that your post sounds as if you are perturbed and attacking Mrs. Hall. I wonder if your message sort of lost by the feeling your post gives off. Shoot, one of your first comments from a reader felt compelled and that it was appropriate to call Mrs. Hall a sexist pig. If that’s what you’re going for, then by all means, freedom of speech, write what you want. I just know I could have “heard you” if you wouldn’t have torn down Mrs. Hall and just told your own point of view. We moms have so much we can learn from each other! I know I hold both Enders responsible in my home. 🙂
If I were perturbed and attacking Mrs Hall, my post would sound more like one of these posts:
…or one of the dozen or so others written in a similar vein.
I trust you can see the difference. 🙂 And if you are so invested in what she posted that you can’t “hear me” despite my calm, rational, and well-reasoned post, then you might not be approaching this with as open a mind as you think.
A wonderful alternative conversation to have with your sons: http://natepyle.com/seeing-a-woman/
Thank you for this post! I am no native english speaker and I never would have put it in words, but I thought the same. Made my day. Baerbel, Germany (!)
Terrific! Thank you so much for reading.
I’m sure others have said this, but my biggest problem with the original post was the blatant, undeniable hypocrisy of this woman’s attitude re: male/female nudity. A girl fully clothed in pajamas being coquettish is reason for banning, but my sons half-naked and flexing are perfectly harmless!
Um, no. If those girls are turning themselves into sex objects who we can never see in the same (more positive) light again, then so are your sons. Clearly, they should also be gently but firmly slut-shamed for making the girls they are friends with see them in a sexual light.
Both the girl’s pictures and her son’s were posted for the same reason: they wanted people to admire their bodies. It’s only this woman’s deeply-buried misogyny that makes her unable to see that.
Also: very well said, Ms. Hains. You’ve earned yourself a new reader!
THANK YOU!!! My thoughts exactly on this manner. Thank you so much for hitting this issue right on the head. Boys and men are quite capable of controlling their behaviors and thoughts, and we need to stop placing the blame for such things squarely on girls and women alone. It ties into the ever prevalent rape-culture.
Now, I am not going all-out radical feminist here, because i do thoroughly believe there is a problem with how girls and women feel how they must portray themselves. It is not easy being a girl by any means when you have the media, the entertainment industry, products and advertising telling you how sexy, pretty and cute you must be. This unfortunately starts in childhood. If you look closely at marketing campaigns, products and services directed at even young children, you can see it. And I’m not talking about Barbie here, I’m talking more so about clothing that has graphics such as “Cute” or “I love boys and shopping” or “Too pretty for school” and even ones that say “Sweet and Juicy” with pictures of ice cream or candy….the underlying message cannot be ignored.
What needs to change is not the way we relate to each other, but how we relate and educate our own children. Bring them up to be market savvy, confident and aware of what is being shoved in their faces.
It is unfair and a little lazy to point fingers and place the blame on other. Especially other children/teens.
I think it is terribly sad that you felt so entitled to not support another mom who had very valid points. Sure, there are two sides, but she is dealing with FaceBook from the mom of teen boys. Clearly these stupid selfie pictures of scantily clad girls is what is on her mind, that day that she posted.
And as a former teenage girl, I was taught modesty is best, be pure, etc. What in the world is wrong with reminding girls who clearly have little parental guidance, for if they did, those pictures would NOT be on their FB pages or cell phones to begin with, that they may want to “check” their behaviors because they are sending the wrong message?
Why on earth are you, an adult woman, so threatened by it that you would feel compelled to put her down?
The fact is, it is hard for a man to concentrate when there is a scantily clad woman near. Likewise, it is hard for a woman to concentrate when there is a scantily clad man near. We should all practice self control.
I think her point is that she helps her boys practice self-control by limiting their access online and otherwise to young girls who do not! I applaud her.
Hi, Emily: Thanks for your perspective. Could you point out where, exactly, I put Kimberly Hall down? I don’t see it that way. Unlike many other bloggers who’ve posted on this topic, I’m engaged with her argument–not in ad hominem attacks.
You know, as well as I do and all the other ladies reading this today, that though you did not attack her, which I never said you did, your tone and verbiage were at best unsupportive… which is pretty much a put down.
I agree you are not vile in like some of these other misguided bloggers are. But in the end, you do know the firestorm you walked into. As in everything, some will be oh so impressed with your post and others not.
Emily, I’m not sure I follow your reasoning here. A put-down is generally defined as a rude comment intended to humiliate someone. My “tone and verbiage” are neither rude nor humiliating; they’re grappling with the implications of Hall’s argument in a calm, measured way.
And for obvious reasons, my post is not an effort to support Mrs. Hall: I disagree with her. But that doesn’t make it a put-down, either.
Rather, it’s part of a conversation. Thank you for participating in it.
We all see things as we choose.
We’ll just have to agree to disagree…
I totally agree with you. This woman thinks she’s right about everything. You never said “put down”, she did! You merely said she was not being very supportive. It doesn’t seem as if she respects other people’s opinions. I’m just annoyed at this point. I have a high school son as well. You should see his instagram! His feed is bombarded with inappropriate photos from his peers. I believe Mrs. Hall was merely advocating self respect. Seems this has turned into a entirely different debate.
Oh, I see that you did say put down. Either way, I still agree with your overall perspective. The remark appeared to humiliate Mrs. Hall and it did seem very unsupportive. I think we should focus on the bigger picture.
Which remark humiliates Mrs Hall? I’m still mystified on this point and would find clarification helpful. Thanks, ladies!
Yes, I agree.
The truth is, everything we say can be taken another way… If she had said “boys need to be more modest” then people would still say “who does she think she is” kind of comments. In the end, I’m hoping she’s a strong person… and at the very least has gotten some parents thinking. Blessings…
First of all, I don’t understand why you feel we must be supportive of an opinion we disagree with. Second of all, I don’t understand why you are worried about Mrs. Hall feeling humiliated, but don’t seem to be worried about the girls she very publicly shamed feeling humiliated.
Rebecca, you are not having an actual conversation or voluntary debate with Mrs. Hall. It looks as if you chose to write an unfavorable blog about her article for the world to see. You are clearly an educated woman and must have realized the negative impact that this would have on her (humiliation). She was trying to guide these teens. You may not have agreed with her method, but you certainly did not need to call her out. I probably would have chose some different words too, but I feel your blog is an invitation for everyone to hate on her (even though those were not your intentions). No one is perfect and it’s difficult to please everyone and say the right thing all of the time. Someone will always disagree. In my opinion, your blog is not teaching intelligent debate, rather disrespect. I feel that you have terrific points, but they were uninvited and a little mean, considering the overall message. I wish you could see other it from another point of view.
I can understand how you might interpret it that way, but when a blog post goes viral on facebook, with hundreds of thousand of people sharing it and cheering on its message, it is absolutely valid for someone with training and expertise in the field of children and media (like myself) to step in and offer an alternate perspective.
I trust Mrs. Hall can understand that once you put a post out there in public, if it takes off, it absolutely becomes part of a conversation–a conversation happening across facebook, twitter, and the blogosphere.
In other words, whether or not my points were invited is irrelevant. That’s just not how social media works.
But thanks for helping me see the perspective of her supporters.
And honestly, I am sorry to hear she is feeling humiliated; for her sake, I hope that is conjecture on your part, rather than a statement of fact. After all, she has nothing to feel humiliated about: she wrote the best post she could, with good intentions (as I mention up front in my post), using the knowledge and information that was available to her. This is why I do not castigate her or attack her personally, as other bloggers have done: I firmly believe that we all can only be expected to do our best in whatever situations we find ourselves in, and nothing more.
Anyhow. While I really hope Hall is not feeling humiliated by all of this, I understand completely if she was taken aback by how swiftly a post she meant for her blog’s audience traveled the world. I’m really glad it did, though, because it touched a cultural nerve and prompted a much broader, very important conversation on several interrelated issues. She honestly should be proud of herself for being the one to open up that conversation, even if there are parts of the conversation with which she disagrees.
What girls did she “very publicly shamed feeling humiliated”? Did you read the article? There were no names written. I’m simply stating that you should try looking at social media photos from teens (especially instagram). It’s completely out of control. I don’t agree with every single word from Mrs. Hall and I’m not supporting her, but I truly believe she was coming from a good place. If you believe in girl empowerment, than you should educate. Why in the world would you want to complain about Mrs. Hall’s choice of words? Look at the bigger picture and address it! Choose to focus on more positive and productive things. Go ahead and respond all you like…I’m signing off now…forever. Too much craziness for me. I feel dumber for engaging 😦
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My own heart sank when I read your response to Mrs. Hall — yet another responder who fails to understand text in context. Mrs. Hall’s purpose is specific: to highlight some girls’ actions that she finds to be inappropriate and to encourage girls to think critically about they present themselves in public forums. This is not the same thing as telling girls that they are responsible for the thoughts or actions of members of the male sex.
It is beyond the scope of Mrs. Hall’s post to provide an exhaustive account of her parenting practices, but, as far as I can tell, she seems to be an actively involved mother whose parenting strategies extend beyond critiquing her children’s friends. The fact that she sits with her children to look through and talk about social media photos suggests that she encourages them to develop their own critical thinking skills. I do not get the impression that she views her sons as absolved from responsibility for developing a sense of ethics.
It is also beyond the scope of Mrs. Hall’s post to demonstrate her level of awareness of sexual double standards and cultural pressures on girls. But that doesn’t mean she lacks an awareness of such dynamics. It’s simply not her purpose in this particular post to offer a social critique. Different writers have different purposes in different blog posts. Mrs. Hall is not required to replicate the focus of your writing just because her topic is somewhat related to your research.
You also seem to miss that Mrs. Hall is often going for wit. (After all, she is not *really* composing a letter — she is writing a blog post, so she is attempting to engage a broader audience!) In service of wittiness, Mrs. Hall has deliberately exaggerated her tone, invoking the stereotype of the heavy-handed parent for humorous effect. Her *true* attitude, I believe, is evident when she addresses the hypothetical girls with sincere warmth. She ultimately seeks to lift girls up and encourage them to act in ways that are consistent with their inherent worth.
You and Mrs. Hall are not that far apart, if at all. You merely misunderstand her and perpetuate further misunderstanding of her blog post, all the while framing yourself as an expert commentator. I am thankful that you are not one of the commentators who has deliberately maligned Mrs. Hall, but you nonetheless, like them, end up advancing your own gain at her expense.
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Well said Amanda. And Mrs Hall is actually correct – all it takes is one look for boys. It is a physiological fact. Try reading ‘Every Young Man’s Battle’ and you will be enlightened. Mrs Hall wasn’t shaming girls at all! In fact, she was giving loving motherly advice that their own mothers should be giving.
I’m sorry, but speaking as a woman who has experienced sexual betrayal and has spent YEARS learning about sexualization, objectification, and the male mind, the Every Man’s Battle series is absolute TRASH. It makes me angry in so many ways. And not because men are sexual or visual beings. I’m not naive or disgusted by a sex drive. I AM disgusted by the blame shifting, and objectification those books perpetuate. They infuriate me and my boys will not be allowed to read them until they are out of my home. Every single one of those books should be burned in a giant pile.
“She places the responsibility for her teenage boys’ sexual desires on teenage girls, rather than on the boys themselves.”
Place it on nature how about? The same natural urges that make boys ogle girls are the same natural desires that make girls dress and act with the intention of finding a mate. Neither of which are wrong. However, if you want your daughter to be respected, perhaps not broadcasting it to the internet is a good idea.
See, this is the problem people have with your thinking. I was in high-school and a girl was wearing a see-through shirt in class and a friend of mine asked the teacher to talk to her about it because it was very distracting. Now, according to you, my friend was the one in the wrong. HE should have been able to control his “urges” of being distracted. HE should not seek to limit the girl’s “self-expression”. HE…HE….HE…. All you’re doing is exchanging blame. You’re not actually doing anything to better the situation.
If a male walks around the male with just a trench coat on and you call him on it because he is “intimidating women” or whatever, the male is at fault. What about the women who thought that was “inappropriate”? This double standard and the concept that young women should be able to pose in sexually suggestive positions and clothing and have a guy say “Hey, there goes a mathematician who just happens to have Pink splayed across her buttocks in yoga pants that are a size too small while wearing a shirt they bought at Baby Gap and bending over to pick up her TI-83 without bending her legs and taking just too long” is absurd. The GIRL knows what she is doing, to implicitly approve of her behavior by shifting the blame on the man for looking (which is a natural desire) is just absurd.
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We’re supposed to teach men to respect women because women are victims of self-sexualization? What about men being pushed into this image of manhood, constantly being demonized for any feminine acts…learning to be arrogant-assholes… as you said, it’s all about your perspective. If an individual has enough intellect and drive, they can overcome these social dogmas. But if we say that it’s because men have failed to take responsibility, that is one-sided and is completely contradictory to the point it is used to express. That will result in us teaching our boys that their underlying media/testosterone-driven sexual nature is disgusting and wrong, and we will have a myriad of new psychological issues to deal with. I see it this way; Take responsibility for your own life, and don’t teach people that what they feel as a result of mainstream media is disgusting and wrong. Things are as they are, and they will never change until we accept our nature and move on without attachment. It is not anyone’s fault but our own. Take responsibility for why you feel the way you feel, understand that each person needs to take responsibility and cease to call themselves victims (which creates a self-perpetuating perspective problem). We are not victims to anyone but ourselves. It’s all about perspective.
Reblogged this on RoseReads and commented:
For a while after I read the much publicized “FYI”, I wanted to write my own response. This lovely lady just said everything I was thinking. Now show her some love.
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Wonderful post and extremely well timed too. I followed your link to Mrs. Hall’s post and it doesn’t appear to be anything but from a mom who is blind in love with her sons and thinks they can never be at fault. In her own ‘online island’ I’m sure her sons are gonna read her stuff and glorify themselves. And mercy why did she put up the pictures of her son’s half-naked on the beach in this post? If a girl arching her back while not wearing a bra in her bedroom is bad for her sons, why shouldn’t pictures of bare-bodied boys be not bad for the girls out there?
I like your response to Mrs. Hall’s article, but I’m worried Mrs. Hall may have identified and ‘harassed’ specific girls in her article, as well as ‘outed them’ on social media and beyond, by her descriptions of what they were wearing or not wearing.
If it becomes generally known who the girls are, might they suffer potential further harassment by members of their social circle (and wider)—the same social circle enjoyed by Mrs. Hall’s sons?
For instance, besides your observation, above, that it has caused quite a stir on facebook, I see a reply beneath Mrs. Hall’s article to indicate a respondent there has circulated the material to high school friends and plans to circulate it elsewhere.
I see no disclaimer in Mrs. Hall’s article to indicate the subjects are fictional.
I can’t comment to her directly because I don’t belong to any of the social media her site requires.
Source: Hall, Kim. “FYI (if you’re a teenage girl).” Given Breath, 4 Sept. 2013. http://givenbreath.com/. Web. Accessed18 Sept. 2013. http://givenbreath.com/2013/09/03/fyi-if-youre-a-teenage-girl.
Sorry I spelled your name wrong!
I may be a little confused here, I tend to agree with both the original poster Mrs. Hall, and you as well Ms. Haines.
I like the idea that she is trying to teach her sons a modicum of self control by blocking posts of scantily clad young women. She is trying to teach them that they deserve a certain type of woman and that she is worth waiting for. I like that. I like that her concern for her daughter is portrayed in there as well.
I don’t however, agree with her that these girls are responsible for how her boys perceive them. The problem with the vast majority of our culture today is that women are often judged for how they look and victimized as a result. If a man stares at a women in objectification it isn’t his fault for objectifying it’s hers, for dressing provocatively. And for that reason, I tend to agree with you and your insight on how men should be taught responsibility for their own behaviors.
On the flip side of that, women should be more responsible too, I think an underlying message in Mrs. Hall’s post is that when girls post pics like that, they are attracting a certain type of follower, and I think that just like she hopes to teach her sons that they deserve a special kind of woman and she is worth waiting for, the young ladies of today need to recognize that they deserve a special kind of man and they should be the woman that that man would deserve. Just like Mrs. Hall’s sons are practicing to be men that their future wives deserve.
What it does mean is establishing good habits, like exercising daily and eating properly. Strawberry, Vanilla, or Chocolate Flavoring to taste (optional).
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