Okay, there’s an article making its way around facebook. It’s being posted by a lot of “godly” well-meaning moms.
And it’s receiving all sorts of “praise” and accolades.
Sure, it means well, but the fact is, this article is another way to shame girls and teach children that having perfectly normal sexual feelings makes you a bad person. As a mother, I’m offended.
Why can’t we talk to our kids about sex in a way that teaches them that it is good and normal to have the feelings they’re having without shaming them?
“We have teenage sons, and so naturally there are quite a few pictures of you lovely ladies to wade through. Wow – you sure took a bunch of selfies in your pajamas this summer! Your bedrooms are so cute! Our eight-year-old daughter brought this to our attention, because with three older brothers who have rooms that smell like stinky cheese, she notices girly details like that.I think the boys notice other things.
For one, it appears that you are not wearing a bra.”
Oh no! A teenage girl with nubbins has posted a selfie and isn’t wearing a bra! And your sons obviously are so sheltered that they see those snackens and are suddenly filled with impure thoughts, which of course, makes them “ungodly.” Right?
(I’d like to mention that, ironically, she posted a picture of her teenage sons posing on the beach, shirtless. How on earth will teenage girls everywhere control their lust!!!? Also, do you think teenage girls don’t see shirtless boys and have the same feelings that your boys have when they see a sexy selfie? You need to go back to Biology 101. And they are not sluts because they have a natural physical reaction and your boys are not ungodly because they do the same…They are all human.)
“Please understand this, also: we genuinely like keeping up with you. We enjoy seeing life through your unique and colorful lens – which is what makes your latest self-portrait so extremely unfortunate.
Those posts don’t reflect who you are! We think you are lovely and interesting, and usually very smart. But, we had to cringe and wonder what you were trying to do? Who are you trying to reach? What are you trying to say?
And now – big bummer – we have to block your posts. Because, the reason we have these (sometimes awkward) family conversations around the table is that we care about our sons, just as we know your parents care about you.”
Wow. Big bummer, indeed. I sure would hate you to use this opportunity to talk to your boys about how it is perfectly normal for them to be attracted to those girls and their “sultry” poses. And instead of shaming the girls, maybe you should take this opportunity to talk about how sometimes, girls try to seek attention because they are insecure and they don’t have the kind of parents at home who are willing to talk to them, to help them, to see them acting more grown up than they are in real life. That these girls need to feel beautiful and this is how they seek approval. And instead of blocking them, and treating them like they’re whores straight from Sodom and Gomorrah who should be shunned, maybe you should teach your boys how to befriend them. Respect them. And understand them.
“I know your family would not be thrilled at the thought of my teenage boys seeing you only in your towel. 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?
Neither do we.”
Or maybe their family isn’t around? Or maybe their family isn’t as involved (over-involved?) as you are. MAYBE there isn’t a problem with a boy seeing a girl completely covered up in a towel! And seriously? The clothes they wear to school are oftentimes more revealing than a giant terry towel. Probably her hair was wrapped up in a towel, too. So. Sexy. *rolling eyes*
Instead of sheltering your boys, talk to them. Teach them these feelings are normal and natural. And let them know that there is a time and a place to act on those feelings…and now is not either of those. However, when they are in the shower, and they find themselves thinking back to the towel-selfie…it’s also perfectly okay for them to open up that bottle of conditioner and fantasize all they want.
Just clean up after yourselves!
“And so, in our house, there are no second chances, ladies. If you want to stay friendly with the Hall men, you’ll have to keep your clothes on, and your posts decent. If you try to post a sexy selfie, or an inappropriate YouTube video – even once – you’ll be booted off our on-line island.
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.”
Really? “Men of integrity don’t linger over scantily-clad high school girls.” (Men don’t Pedophiles do.) You’re right, MEN don’t. But it’s okay if boys do. That’s normal. And to be expected. And it doesn’t mean they will grow up with less integrity. It means, they’ll grow up knowing about life and have the coping skills to deal with it. And hopefully, by the time they get to college, they won’t go on an unprotected sex-spree. Because frankly, if you find discussions about “towel selfies” and “inappropriate videos” awkward, probably you’re not talking to them about safe sex. Because you want them to save themselves for marriage, right?
So realistic. I mean, I hope they will if that’s what they want, but the reality is, that ain’t gonna happen. They may even be of the generation who believes anal and oral sex aren’t really “sex” and don’t count. And then they end up with throat cancer or worse because they don’t know they need to wrap it up before it goes into any orifice; not just the baby-making one.
For the record, I have two teenage sons. One in high school, one in college. Their father and I have been very open about sex and feelings and emotions with them. And we have had some of the most awkward yet entertaining conversations. My boys have always known they can talk to me about anything–and they do. (sometimes, much to my chagrin). The rule in my house was that I get their passwords to all of their accounts and I have the right to check their phones at anytime…and if I think they are deleting messages, I will confiscate their phone. When they are legally adults, when they can vote and join the army, they can change their passwords. (my oldest is 19. HE STILL TALKS TO ME ABOUT EVERYTHING)
They tell their friends that I will be reading their messages so they shouldn’t send pics of anything they wouldn’t want their mother to see. They tell their girlfriends I read their messages and that if I feel they are too forward, I’ll talk to them both. And I have had very good relationships with all the girls my boys have dated. Because they know that I care about them. And they know that I’ll call BS when I see it and I’ll help them if I see they need it.
I do NOT shame them for having a natural reaction or seeking attention. Because these kids are fragile. If you want to raise “godly” men, you can’t shame the girls and try to hide the boys from life. You teach them how to handle sex with integrity. You don’t hide them from the towel poses and hope that when they are turned loose in college they will be able to “control themselves and act with integrity” when they haven’t been equipped with the proper tools.
FYI, I’m betting even that godly husband of yours looks at scantily-clad WOMEN. He’s human. But I also bet he acts with integrity when he sees them. Or at least, I hope he does…
Parents. Just talk to your kids. Teach them that sex is a natural and healthy part of life and when they are older, they will be ready to enjoy themselves, without shame, and act with integrity.
ETA: This is my ex-husband’s old blog post about his sex talk with our then 12 year old son. It’s amazing. And it’s the way sex should be approached. I posted it in the comments but felt it was a great link to share with everyone. http://flophaus.blogspot.com/2006/03/what-trip.html
ETA2: Sorry folks, the Flophaus link is now dead
because my ex’s current wife feels very insecure about him having a past prior to her. It happens. Of course, if she weren’t so busy reading my blog all day every day, she wouldn’t even have known about it… Hmmmmm.