So Many Thoughts…So Few Complete Sentences

I’m editing this entry to add one beautifully thought out NON-snarky NON-sarcastic NON-angry response to the same blog entry. Here it is and it kindly makes all the points I tried to make in a much more respectful way.

There’s a blog post going viral that I’m not going to link to because I’m terrified the woman who wrote it is now regretting ever writing it. I’ve seen it on Facebook a dozen times just today. (You can find it by clicking through some of the other commentary I link to a couple paragraphs down.)

But – it’s basically a letter to teenage girls who are friends with her sons on Facebook. She shames them for posting “sultry” photos of themselves, sometimes braless, sometimes in a towel. She claims her sons can “never unsee” those photos and that if those girls want to get with her boys, they are out of luck because they’ve been blocked. Oh, she also basically mentions that the sit around as a family and go through each other’s Facebook feeds. Oh, and she posted pictures of the teen boys in just their swim trunks, flexing their muscles on the beach to go with the blog entry.

Let me start with some insignificant points:

  1. Teens I know don’t even use Facebook anymore. They’re using Snapchat and Tumblr.
  2. When I was a teen, I always let my Dad in on big parts of the “naughty” going on in my school just so he’d be satisfied and think I wasn’t doing anything naughty. So, if this woman’s sons were letting her see their Facebook? Then there’s a good chance they were using my technique and doing that so she wouldn’t dig for the naughty stuff elsewhere.
  3. I hope those boys let their friends know that their parents sometimes cruised their FB feeds (Which is fine as a parent to do! Monitor always!) otherwise they’re going to be PISSED.

BUT…There are much bigger issues I want to comment on. And I know I’m not going to do it as funnily or as snarkily or as wittily as Jezebel or Amy Mitchell. But I just HAVE to put my words out there in the interwebs and have my feelings preserved for all of time. I’m just going to briefly touch on my points since other people have elaborated better. I just can’t let this one go by without my commentary.

Boys Need To Be Taught How To Deal With Sexual Thoughts

This is the pervasive attitude about teen boys and sexuality: “Those slutty girls without their no bras in their pajamas looking sexy are making my son think sexy thoughts and he won’t be able to control himself.” Listen. TEACH HIM TO CONTROL HIMSELF. It’s not up to the GIRLS to make sure they’re not too sexy. Because, seriously? Have you BEEN to a pool or the beach lately? I’ve seen WAY more scantily clad teenage girls there than online. AND I HAVE A TUMBLR. Our teenage boys need to be taught that a girl can wear her bikini…can take a sexy selfie…can wear a mini skirt…IF SHE WANTS TO…and that is NOT an open invitation for him to A) Have sex with her or B) Objectify her. We need to teach boys what to do with those sexual thoughts…NOT TELL GIRLS TO PUT MORE CLOTHES ON. Have more confidence in the teen boys around you. I promise you. They do have working brain cells. Talk to them about consent and that a girl sending a sexy picture is not the same thing as a girl saying, “I want to have sex with you.” THEY CAN CONTROL THEMSELVES. Give them some credit, jeez. They ask for consent when working at adult websites similar to hdpornt.

Judging Is Shitty No Matter How Much You Think You’re Trying To Help

Let’s quit raising our kids in environments where the, “Oh…bless her heart…she’s [insert scandalous activity here]” is acceptable. IT IS STILL JUDGING. It’s just like Sunday Schools in the South. Everyone starts listing their prayer request and INEVITABLY, someone offers a prayer request for So-In-So and then whispers, You know her husband is cheating on her, right?. Somehow judging is acceptable if we do it under the guise that we’re HELPING someone. Blargh. It always leaves a bad taste in my mouth, the “Let Me Help You Stop Doing This Thing I’m Judging You For” attitude.

But, If You’re Actually Wanting To Help…

I tell teens all the time: Don’t put it anywhere online unless you don’t mind the whole world seeing it. If I honestly was concerned with a teen in my community and what picture they put online, THAT would be my angle. To remind them that judge-y self-righteous people will find those photos, even if these girls only intended their friends to see them. And I would make sure the teen I know is okay with that photo being downloaded or screengrabbed and put on these horrible websites where they rank women or post horrible stories about them. I would not say, “Don’t post that picture because it makes my son have sexy thoughts!” I would say, “Be careful because assholes out there will take your photo intended for a few people and do really shitty things with that photo. It is no longer yours once you put it online.”

SEXUAL THOUGHTS ARE OKAY. AND NATURAL. AND SOMETHING WE ALL NEED TO TALK ABOUT TO OUR TEENAGERS.

We don’t need to “protect” our children by blocking their friends who may be posting sexy pictures on Facebook. Because those pictures are EVERYWHERE. They are on magazines and TV and movies and unless you’re keeping your son locked up forever he is going to sometimes see a picture of a sexy girl with minimal clothing on. And you know what’s going to happen? HE’S GOING TO HAVE SEXY THOUGHTS. And you know what else? THAT IS OKAY. There is nothing wrong with sexy thoughts. JEEZUS.

Here is my favorite Sex Positive person right now: Laci Green. She answers tons of questions there’s no way in HELL I would even know how to answer. But she breaks down the simple elements of healthy sexuality and healthy sexual relationships. She preaches TONS about CONSENT and about how no girl who is slurring her speech and stumbling across a room is able to actually give consent. She bashes slut-shaming and did this GREAT video about why “50 Shades Of Grey” gives all the wrong lessons about BDSM. WATCH HER VIDEOS. And if you know any teens or young adults who may be sexually active, or ABOUT to be sexually active, tell THEM to watch her videos. She does speeches at college campus and she tweets rage to mainstream media for perpetualizing horrible double standards. She’s a GIFT. you might be able to learn the right ones from videos similar to shemale hd.

Girls Are Sexual Too

Let’s not be naive here. Let’s not raise our teenagers thinking that boys are the only ones who have sexual thoughts when looking at someone scantily clad. Even though most of them will watch videos from websites such as Sex HD XXX to work out those sexual thoughts anyway. Yes, they’re more likely to, but SERIOUSLY? Do all of these women out there linking to this article not remember looking at boys at the pool and giggling over their sexy bodies? Why is it that boys are allowed to parade their bodies and be PROUD of them without anyone ever saying, “AH! The girls are going to think sexy thoughts now! Put a shirt on!” Because – if you’ve been on Tumblr for 5 minutes you know that there are plenty of teen girls out there drooling over pictures of their teen boy crushes without shirts on.

AND AGAIN…THESE SEXUAL THOUGHTS ARE OKAY. No matter what gender is having them. We don’t need to teach boys OR girls that having sexual thoughts is bad, we need to teach them that acting on them without A) Consent or B) Protection is bad. We need to teach them that sexy texts and messages do not give automatic consent. We need to teach SAFETY. We need to teach them that EVERY object of their sexual desires is a HUMAN BEING and deserves RESPECT. This applies to BOYS and GIRLS because BOTH boys and girls are sexual. Especially as teens and young adults. And having a sexual thought about someone does not give you permission to disrespect them as a human being in your community.

18 thoughts on “So Many Thoughts…So Few Complete Sentences”

  1. Good for you. Boys aren’t stupid and helpless and girls are not in charge of what other people think when they look at them. Simple. That blog post made my blood boil.

  2. While I mostly agree with you, the question I have in this is, why are these teenagers (male and female, cause lets be honest, the boys post the sexy selfies too) posting super sexual picture of themselves online, and I don’t mean that in a judgemental they shouldn’t do that way, but in a thoughtful way. I’m wondering if too many teens (particularly the pre teen set) are finding their self worth solely on their looks and sexiness when it’s only a small part of who they are. Don’t get me wrong, sexuality is natural and very good, but I’m valuable for far more reasons than just my sexuality. I hope they know they are too, and that sexuality isn’t the only way to get attention and be noticed.

  3. Oh, I think it’s TOTALLY to get noticed. But I don’t think it’s any different than when I caused a scandal and wore fishnets/combat boots and a miniskirt to a function with the private religious school friends. 🙂 I think feeling sexual is the “easiest” way a teenager can feel grownup. And I think every generation had it’s ways of doing that, unfortunately for THIS generation, it’s being memorialized for eternity. I’m so glad the internet wasn’t around when I was going through those phases!

    So – yes – I think too many teens find their self worth in appearance. But I don’t think it’s any more than in my generation. It’s just that we see it more now. Would I like to find a way to fix that? YES. I try to raise my kids talking more about other things besides looks, but I don’t think Dorky Mom is going to help if their friends still place value in appearance. *sigh*

  4. Cosigned, clapping; you covered it very well. A lot of this makes me super rage-y, but I definitely agree with your comment-ed point – thank god there was no internet when I was a teenager.

  5. Thanks for this post. The idea that it’s all on the females to control male sexual behavior is ludicrous. Not to mention, as you so beautifully pointed out, boys are plenty capable of learning what consent is. And most of all, thank you for acknowledging that teen sexuality is OKAY. My god, we are biologically DESIGNED to be thinking constantly about sex at that age (and technically to be reproducing as well) and trying to curb it is pointless. Channeling it and expressing it in healthy, safe ways is what we should be doing.

    Thanks for the Laci Green reference! I will check her out.

  6. First, thanks so much for linking me! And now I’m over here reading your blog and enjoying it very much. Cool! 🙂

    Second, I love what you just wrote–about how teens try on being sexual to feel grown up. Yes! You said in fewer words what I couldn’t quite phrase. That these sexy selfies or the way lots of kids dress or act is all about figuring out how to be an adult. That’s not something to shame them for, it’s something to help them through. Well said!

  7. I read you all the time and I have occasionally asked about H’vill since I used to live there. I just wanted to say BRAVO for this post.

    You are all the ways awesome and this is another example of that.

  8. She’s off her rocker.

    Wonder if she realizes that it’s just this kind of thinking a few steps further that is what requires Muslim women to wear hajibs, lest their hair or face tempt men into sin they would otherwise free of. So in reality she’s more aligned with radical Muslim beliefs than she is her own Christianity.

    Think I’ll hope over and leave her this link that I just found tonight

    http://feetinarmsout.wordpress.com/2013/08/29/how-to-be-a-christian-without-being-a-jerk-about-it/

  9. I know it’s not the point. But, all I can think is “oh, her poor sons.”. Whether she regrets the post going viral or not, I bet they do. I hope their classmates are understanding.

  10. I’m having the worst time forming coherent thoughts about her post. Everything comes out as “BLERGH GAAAH SSTTAAAAHPP.” You did very well!

    There are a lot of men in my life whom I adore. My husband is an amazing, AMAZING person. My brother is SUCH a good guy. I work with mostly men, and they’re brilliant and they’re thoughtful. They are NOT what is in their pants. They are perfectly capable of thinking about things other than sex. Or thinking of sex and other things at the same time. That’s why I really, really hate posts like hers. Besides the whole “it’s a woman’s job to police and prevent these thoughts” part, it just really insults men. I’m pissed that the onus is placed on women, but I’m also offended for the men in my life that are reduced to a walking penis.

    A comment above sparked a thought…yes, sexuality is a small part of who we are. But we also need to remember that social media pictures we see are also a small part of who someone is. Even if EVERY pic they post is a “sexy” selfie, that doesn’t mean that they are placing their entire worth in their sexuality. We’re seeing a very small and filtered sliver of their lives. They might truly place value in way more than just their sexuality. (Personally, I also think it’s just a phase. Changing bodies are new and fun, so yeah, they might place more worth and value on the physical now. But if they are, they will grow out of it. )

    (And, dude, that 50 Shades video…HELL YES, THANK YOU. That book is so messed up, and while I know nothing about BDSM personally, I wondered what the community thought of the story, because I read it and went “I don’t know much about BDSM, but I’m pretty positive this is NOT what it is about.”)

  11. I read all the time, but don’t often comment. Just wanted to say I agree with you whole-heartedly. Being a mom to a boy and girl (both still little), I don’t look forward to having these kinds of conversations with them when they’re older. I saw her post going viral and lots of my friends agreeing with her and I wasn’t quite on board with her message. While overall I get what she’s trying to “tell the girls” and there is a message in that, there also is the message she’s giving boys (and her sons), which isn’t right. I think you nailed it on the head. Anyway, that was my non-eloquent way of saying I really agree with your response to it, so thank you.

  12. Huzzah! Thank you for so coherently saying what my brain was trying to smash together. I will follow your links, too.

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