I ask, if you are interested in feminism, or if you just have some spare time, to read both of these blog posts:
Initially reading the first, I was like “Oh, good for you, Mom, encouraging your boys to not objectify ladies.”
Then reading the second post: “Oh.. wait.. Mom.. are you slut-shaming?”
Alas my head had to do a bit of a pong battle between these two ideas. But I guess what I find funniest is how black and white these posts are made out to be in reference to each other. One is, “Oh, ladies are good people, women are good, boys can’t keep it in their pants though so don’t dress sexily and put it on Facebook.” Two is, “Oh, this mother is saying girls are sluts if they wear what they wanna wear because her boys are horndogs so it’s chicks’ faults if they’re objectified.”
I am a super sensitive emotional person. I have written about this before. But it still fascinates me when people want to jump to such black and white conclusions about something that is such a grey topic. That someone wants to take something as a comment SMALLER than its face value.
If you read into the first, I know I personally I am glad that this woman is trying to get the notion out of her impressionable boys’ heads that girls (who may or may not exactly know the consequences of what they’re posting on FB for the sake of attention) that girls are to be objectified and WANT to be objectified given the matter of their posts. Good on her for, in her own way, realizing that women are worth more than that. Good on her for also making comments to the ladies in question, such as “We enjoy seeing things through your unique and colorful lens – you are insightful, and often very, very funny… That post doesn’t reflect who you are at all! We think you are lovely and interesting, and usually very smart,” as well as “Will you trust me? There are boys out there waiting and hoping for women of character. Some young men are fighting the daily uphill battle to keep their minds pure, and their thoughts praiseworthy – just like you. You are growing into a real beauty, inside and out.”
So perhaps there is a tad of sarcasm laced through this post as well as some layers of conservatism. But is this post attacking young girls? I don’t think so. Is it slut shaming? I don’t think so. I think that this post is either successfully or unsuccessfully (and the “success” part of it I think is all some people see) trying to tell these girls, “Hey, look, you’re lovely, and smart, and interesting, and funny, and we don’t need to see your skimpy pj posts to know you’re a worthwhile person.” I dunno. Perhaps this is just my interpretation.
Hm. It was interesting that after reading this post I felt slightly guilty for advocating the first. But at the same time, is such satiric anger a way to emphasize your point? Having said that, this person of course has a right to get angry at what she feels is unacceptable… but to what effect? Does your satire do justice to the point you are trying to emphasize, while just shaming the other poster?
I understand that the first post can come off as slut-shaming. But this response is a bit over the top. No one needs to zoom in 250,000 whatever percent to see if a girl is wearing or not wearing a bra. No one needs to get so angry as to ignore the fact that sadly some teenagers, a LOT of teenagers, put so much effort into looking sexy for attention. I think whoever wrote this post forgot that these self esteem issues are real – especially in teenage girls. I’m not saying all teenagers dress skimpily have self esteem issues, and I’m not saying all teenagers who have self esteem issues dress skimpily. But sometimes there is a connection there — OFTEN there is a connection. And that’s sad.
Overall, I don’t think there needs to be such a black and white judgment here. Not all teenagers are slutty chicks. Not all teenagers who dress in light clothing are doing it for attention. Not all teenagers who dress in light clothing know what they’re posting, or AREN’T doing it for attention, or SHOULD be dressing so skimpily for everyone to see over Facebook.
Personally? I don’t think girls need to downgrade themselves by putting their physical assets as their only visual impression of themselves on Facebook. Unfortunately, all the funny intelligent posts do get lost in the midst of photos – that’s just how visuals work. Also unfortunately, a lot of teenage boys have raging hormones. I’m sure a lot of teenage boys DON’T. I’m NOT saying these girls are sluts. I’m NOT saying slut-shaming is good.
So many assumptions string throughout these posts… Not sure what else to say at this point.
- FYI: An Open Letter to Teenage Girls Who Don’t Always Wear a Bra (jessicagottlieb.com)
- FYI: (bras are not the protectors of virtue, among other things) (gratuitousdoubledash.wordpress.com)
- Mike Julianelle: We Need To Parent Our Sons AND Our Daughters (huffingtonpost.com)
- An FYI to a Very Specific Girl (stirrup-queens.com)
- Concerned Mom: Slutty Girls’ Selfies Are Tempting My Perfect Sons (jezebel.com)
- Dear Grown-Ass Women Who Write Shaming Letters to Teenage Girls (marinkanyc.com)
- Can We Knock Off The Slut Shaming? (emmiemears.com)
- 10 Bloggers Respond to Mrs. Hall’s Letter with Thoughts on Slut-Shaming, Respect, and Selfies (blogher.com)