Suddenly all my friends are posting and loving this blog entry titled FYI (if you're a teenage girl), from the blog Given Breath. I clicked on the link and hated it so much that I had to share it with my teenage son. We sat and howled with laughter while I read it aloud to him, then together we came up with several reasons why we both hated it.
She gushes at the beginning of the post about how lovely her sons' female friends are and how cute their rooms are. Then she babbles about how lovely (again), interesting, smart, unique, insightful, and wise they are... but "-big bummer- we have to block your posts". You see, her precious boys lack the capacity to see their female friends as anything other than sex objects after seeing them posing in pyjamas or a towel. Which is apparently the girls' problem and not any parenting deficiency on her end. Then she assures them it's not too late and to RUN to their accounts to take down their "selfies"... ending with an assurance that she's glad they're friends.
I don't get it. Does she really think there are hordes of girls racing to their computers to delete their photos? Thinking "phew, I got that one gone just in time... good thing considering Mrs. Hall has a zero tolerance policy". Personally, if I was a teenager and I read that blog post, I'd be deleting them off my friends lists anyway, simply because I wouldn't want Mrs. Hall and her smarmy attitude browsing through my photos.
The second thing that caught my eye were the pictures. You see, she's scattered a couple of shots of her sons throughout the blog post and, despite the fact the post has nothing to do with swimming, she chose shots of them posing in their bathing suits. Yes, in the middle of telling her sons' female friends that if they pose in their pyjamas in their bedrooms, even once, she's blocking them... she posted a shot of her three boys (and her young daughter) flexing their muscles on the beach. This makes her chastising the girls even more ironic, telling them that "none of these positions is one (sic) I naturally assume before sleep, this I know". Well none of the positions that her boys were in are ones that I naturally assume while swimming. You know the saying "what's good for the goose is good for the gander". Is she going through all her sons' pictures to make sure they aren't posing in skimpy clothing? Obviously not.
My son was disgusted by her attitude. First he admitted it really didn't matter what clothes a girl was wearing, he could readily picture her in a sexual way regardless. Second, just because he could, it didn't mean that was all he saw in the girls around him and he really resented the implication that boys just couldn't control themselves. And third, he strongly feels you can be a man of integrity AND look at pictures of scantily clad women. So far he's doing well so I'm willing to believe him on this one.
I think by making clothing and a pose the important part of her
decision, Mrs. Hall is neglecting to teach her sons the true value of
friendship. I want my kids to accept their friends for who they are and not judge them by the clothes they wear or their hair styles. Or, for that matter, by any unfortunate shots that make them look far more like Donald, Daffy, or Daisy than a teenage girl.
In the end, I find her entire post to be shallow and vapid. She has a whole raft of positive descriptions of her sons' friends but chooses to ignore them and, instead, bases her values solely on appearance. I find it terribly sad that so many people are willing to back her on this.
And, if there are any teens reading my post, I hope you wear the clothes that you like and feel comfortable in. I don't care about your clothes, I care about what sort of person you are. Treat the people around you with respect. Be kind. Be fair. Help others. Be accepting. If you're all of those things, you're welcome in my home no matter what you're wearing.