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Author Topic: Please give me your honest interpretation and personal reception of this article
Samprimary
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No, this isn't AMBUSH TOWN, not trying to goad people into saying something I can disagree with. I just want straight up and without personal judgment people's sincere take on this article, because it has become a subject of great cultural interest in terms of the response and debate over it, and what they stem from.

http://givenbreath.com/2013/09/03/fyi-if-youre-a-teenage-girl/

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kmbboots
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My immediate impression was that Mrs. Hall's message might be somewhat undermined by the pictures of her boys in bathing suits.

[ September 05, 2013, 12:23 PM: Message edited by: kmbboots ]

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Xavier
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I think there are a few interesting points, such as that the girls in question probably don't realize that their pictures are being viewed by the parents of their facebook friends. Or maybe they only realize it in the abstract. I think many would be uncomfortable being confronted by this fact.

But, the whole thing is wrapped up in a package of considering female sexuality shameful that leaves a very bad taste in my mouth.

I hadn't considered Kate's point about posting topless pics of her own male teenagers. It definitely puts the author's biases front and center.

Edit: The girls can "run" to take revealing pics down from their facebook page (or never post them in the first place), but trust me Mrs. Hall, your teenage boys are still going to fantasize about them sexually.

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Lyrhawn
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Kate's point is interesting but I don't necessarily blame the mother a great deal for it. Boys in swim trunks are not overly sexual images, though I admit that's shaky ground.

Ultimately the biggest problem with this isn't the double standard in what pictures boys can share and what pictures girls can share, it's about personal responsibility and shame, like Xavier said. This woman wants women to take total responsibility not just for themselves but also for the boys as well.

Can Mrs. Hall's boys not control themselves? Do they only value women as sexual objects and cannot dissociate a Facebook picture from the person? Rather than teach her boys that they need to simply look away and that any girl who posts something like that isn't worthwhile, they should teach a bit more nuanced view of women and sexuality. Also like Xavier said, some on, she has three or four teen boys but clearly doesn't understand how a teenage male thinks. That girl was already in the sexy funtime imagination zone, the question is, what will those boys do with that fantasy? Mrs. Hall can try to teach them to channel that constructively. Or she can teach her boys that the girls they're already fantasizing about are damaged goods. Because THAT always leads to good places.

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SenojRetep
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
This woman wants women to take total responsibility not just for themselves but also for the boys as well.

Many people have made a similar inference from the article, but I don't know that it's justified. Just because she didn't post about her efforts to instill a sense of self-control in her boys doesn't mean she thinks their girl friends should take total responsibility for the boys actions/thoughts. To me, the question raised by the post is whether the girls are responsible in any way for unwanted sexual behaviors that they intentionally provoke through their exercise of public speech. Liberalism, taken to it extreme, would probably say 'no'; the boys are wholly responsible for their own actions because they are agents unto themselves. Personally, I'm willing to admit a sufficient level of determinism to say that a fundamental part of being a member of society is recognizing the effect you have on others, and sometimes curtailing activities you have every right to engage in so as not to offend/provoke/incite others.

<edit>And the issue of the bathing suits (which I've seen other people besides Kate raise as evidence of hypocrisy) is, in my opinion, a red herring. As Lyrhawn said, the mom wasn't complaining about pictures of girls at the beach in standard beach attire; she was complaining about pictures of them posing like sex kittens in their bedrooms while in various states of undress. That's a whole different thing.</edit>

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advice for robots
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While I agree with some of the sentiments in the article, I donít agree with its rhetorical nature.

No, I donít want my boys thinking of girls they know that way. If, when my boys are old enough to have Facebook (and other social media) accounts, they get pictures of that nature posted from anyone, that friend is likely to get blocked. If enough of it is happening that many friends are being blocked, the accounts themselves will be reconsidered. All of this would go for my girls as well.

That said, my kids will have the benefit of the doubt, as will their friends. The influence I have with my kids should be leading them to learn how to make good decisions on their own as they grow older, not hiding behind me as a shield. Their friends will know (and already do) that we expect similar maturity from them when theyíre around and interacting with our family.

Perhaps most notably in my case, social media is just one aspect of my kidsí lives, not the center. I have fewer qualms about exerting a little stricter control over a Facebook account. If it turns out to not be very beneficial to my kids, it has a good chance of being gone, the same way the TV gets turned off if itís becoming too much of a distraction from family time and homework. It can be a fabulous thing, but it can also turn into a big burden, and we have to keep it disposable.

I donít consider myself very controlling, nor my wife. While we do have strong values weíre trying to teach our kids, weíre trying to do it in a loving, trusting way, mainly by example, and in a home thatís an oasis of peace and caring in a world that often is not. Weíre not in the business of telling the world how to treat our family, but we do have the responsibility of helping our kids prepare to deal with the world. My kidsí friends are certainly not going to get a pre-emptive open letter of this nature from us.

The author of this post comes off sounding like Mrs. Umbridge. She is, IMO, demonizing young women in general as potential temptresses for her precious boys, and on top of that she is writing it less for her boysí benefit but for the accolades she knows sheíll receive from her audience. This is, I assume, an open letter to all the girls her boys are eventually going to run into. Already I want to tell them to stay away from these boys, as their mom is out for their blood. But just reading the letter is fair warning.

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TomDavidson
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Yeah, it seems to me that "you need to respect this girl who has chosen to pose sexily in a bathing suit as much as you respect your brothers posing alongside you in their bathing suits, and recognize that showing off your breasts on Facebook is no more an invitation to be treated poorly or objectified than showing off your muscles" is a far better lesson than "girls should avoid doing things that provoke sexual thoughts in you because you can't control yourself and, moreover, it means those girls are cheap and probably only worth being used for sex in the first place."
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SenojRetep
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
Yeah, it seems to me that "you need to respect this girl who has chosen to pose sexily in a bathing suit as much as you respect your brothers posing alongside you in their bathing suits, and recognize that showing off your breasts on Facebook is no more an invitation to be treated poorly or objectified than showing off your muscles" is a far better lesson than "girls should avoid doing things that provoke sexual thoughts in you because you can't control yourself and, moreover, it means those girls are cheap and probably only worth being used for sex in the first place."

Perhaps it's just me, but I think you may be flavoring things with a bit of rhetorical bias here.

Or, less pedantically, nice strawman.

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TomDavidson
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I don't think it's a strawman at all. The clear point of her article is:

1) My boys are too tempted by pretty women to be reasonably expected to behave to my standards when confronted by them.
2) Pretty women flaunting themselves have something wrong with them, and disrespect themselves by exhibiting awareness of sexuality.

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AchillesHeel
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quote:
You donít want the Hall boys to only think of you in this sexual way, do you?

Neither do we.

Here's a thought, maybe they do! They just hadn't considered the possibility that the boy at school who seems so confident and capable would require online babysitting ala his judgmental parents. And maybe, just a teeny tiny maybe, they are better for experimenting with their sexuality (which teenagers don't get handed until their eighteenth birthday of course) in the safety of their own bedroom where no one can force them to do anything. Imagine that... a whole generation of women who learned how to compensate for, mitigate and judge male attention without getting drugged at a party by a good christian boy who couldn't be expected to control himself and have a healthy sexual identity that does not involve sex with an unconscious body or an unwilling one at that.

But that would be anarchy.

So they will be judged by sex-negative people, and they will be over attended by sexually immature and predatory males. But what about the other ones? The ones who don't judge women for having sexual feelings and wants. Who don't think she is a craven animal in need of a master. Who don't distinguish between those poses and towels and her colorful lens, or all that other stuff about her that someones mother wouldn't want her morally better offspring to ever know.

quote:
We hope to raise men with a strong moral compass, and men of integrity donít linger over pictures of scantily clad high-school girls.
So... she hopes to raise all three of her sons to be gay?

Is she so ignorant as to think that she can out-shame a teenage libido without the use of medical procedures and beatings? Regardless of gender, sex is human, get over it already so you can teach your kids how to be safe and have a healthy relationship with their own sexuality before they see a hard nipple and lose all control.

Wait, there is another option... but what is the typical christian American stance on asexuality?

P.S.
For a lot of teenage girls, and about ten percent of the teenage boys, those pictures of her sons who aren't even wearing towels are quite interesting. And they can't unsee that either.

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SenojRetep
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quote:
Originally posted by TomDavidson:
I don't think it's a strawman at all. The clear point of her article is:

1) My boys are too tempted by pretty women to be reasonably expected to behave to my standards when confronted by them.
2) Pretty women flaunting themselves have something wrong with them, and disrespect themselves by exhibiting awareness of sexuality.

I don't think that's a fair summary of the points of the article at all. In fact, it's so far from a fair summary that I'm having a hard time believing you honestly believe it is either, and aren't just trying to color the discussion with your preferred conclusions.
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advice for robots
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quote:
Originally posted by AchillesHeel:
quote:
You donít want the Hall boys to only think of you in this sexual way, do you?

Neither do we.

Here's a thought, maybe they do! They just hadn't considered the possibility that the boy at school who seems so confident and capable would require online babysitting ala his judgmental parents. And maybe, just a teeny tiny maybe, they are better for experimenting with their sexuality (which teenagers don't get handed until their eighteenth birthday of course) in the safety of their own bedroom where no one can force them to do anything. Imagine that... a whole generation of women who learned how to compensate for, mitigate and judge male attention without getting drugged at a party by a good christian boy who couldn't be expected to control himself and have a healthy sexual identity that does not involve sex with an unconscious body or an unwilling one at that.

But that would be anarchy.

So they will be judged by sex-negative people, and they will be over attended by sexually immature and predatory males. But what about the other ones? The ones who don't judge women for having sexual feelings and wants. Who don't think she is a craven animal in need of a master. Who don't distinguish between those poses and towels and her colorful lens, or all that other stuff about her that someones mother wouldn't want her morally better offspring to ever know.

quote:
We hope to raise men with a strong moral compass, and men of integrity donít linger over pictures of scantily clad high-school girls.
So... she hopes to raise all three of her sons to be gay?

Is she so ignorant as to think that she can out-shame a teenage libido without the use of medical procedures and beatings? Regardless of gender, sex is human, get over it already so you can teach your kids how to be safe and have a healthy relationship with their own sexuality before they see a hard nipple and lose all control.

Wait, there is another option... but what is the typical christian American stance on asexuality?

P.S.
For a lot of teenage girls, and about ten percent of the teenage boys, those pictures of her sons who aren't even wearing towels are quite interesting. And they can't unsee that either.

I do agree that this letter is pretty heavy on the shaming, to the drowning out of any value that it may have for the boys.

However, I donít see how acknowledging and even celebrating your sexuality can only be done by letting things take the course they will. The boys can become better from learning self-control along with learning to be comfortable with who they are. I also donít think teenagers posting provocative pictures of themselves is some necessary expression of their sexuality and to inhibit the practice of both sending and viewing them is to repress and harm them. Itís simply a poor decision.

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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by SenojRetep:

And the issue of the bathing suits (which I've seen other people besides Kate raise as evidence of hypocrisy) is, in my opinion, a red herring. As Lyrhawn said, the mom wasn't complaining about pictures of girls at the beach in standard beach attire; she was complaining about pictures of them posing like sex kittens in their bedrooms while in various states of undress. That's a whole different thing.

I didn't accuse her of hypocrisy. I do think it shows a double standard, but that doesn't come from just her.

Explain the difference. I have some ideas but would be interested in hearing yours.

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AchillesHeel
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Everything that a person exposes to other people has a reaction and a potential price. We are all judged for stranger things than having nipples on a daily basis.

I would rather that a young woman that I care about get to learn about who she is and what she wants without being called names by adults let alone women, or far more importantly, that despite being raised in a christian home and being cute and being really sweet that not all boys will accept the word "no."

Should minors endanger themselves with their online activities? Of course not, but that responsibility lies with the legal guardian of any said minor, not me or that lady. Teaching a kid how to be safe and appropriate online should start long before they take "sexy selfie" (mom sure is up on her lingo ain't she?) pics in their room in *gasp* poses! And I don't know where the best place is to begin, but then again I don't have access to a gigantic compendium of immediately distinguishable knowledge to help me decide how I could do just that.

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Rakeesh
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I appreciated a vaguely open minded outlook, and a reluctance to engage in *direct* shaming but disapproved strongly of the broader point on which I don't see how anyone can disagree: a young woman expressing her sexuality is a shameful thing to be criticized, and good boys should t like it and good mothers should reject it-in fact good boys must be protected from it.

In 21st century America. Even assuming the broader point-that these girls whom she thinks are so great! (But too slutty for her sons) but are regrettably shameful...even if we assume its true, the horse is out of the barn and miles away now and maybe we should stop insisting that if we just close that barn door, our other horses will be safe.

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Rakeesh
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Also, I suspect if you asked a healthy heterosexual young woman (or homosexual young man!) just how sexual a picture of a young athletic man flexing in a bathing suit is, the answers would expose some of this double standard.

Put another way, a woman in a bikini that may very well clothe *more* skin than many (not just Speedos) male swimsuits is deemed more sexualized.

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scifibum
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Things I don't like:

I definitely noticed the double standard. Flexing is roughly equivalent to the arched back and pout, and being less than fully clothed is what it is.

I dislike the shaming and reinforcement of the harmful concept that girls are responsible for the sexual virtue of boys.

Distant third: I'm slightly put off by the implied message that all the girls should want to please and preserve the friendship of her boys.

I think the positive things are:
- the mother is paying attention
- There is a conversation about how parents are paying attention
- The idea that there are other ways to portray oneself besides trying to be sexy
- There was immediate and vocal discussion about the negative stuff

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Geraine
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While I think the author of the article blamed the girls too much, I can understand her MOTIVATIONS behind it.

I can understand that she does not want her sons to objectify women. I can understand that she wants them to respect women. I can understand why she would have her sons block the posts.

What I don't get is why she had to write an article shaming the girls. If you don't think something is good for your family, fine. There is no sense in blaming others for it.

The bigger conversation should be why girls in high school feel they have to post sexually driven pictures at all, especially online. I had a cousin that did some "modeling" in a bikini. All fine and good, except most of the pictures were pretty damn explicit (bordering on simulated sex with objects). While they are ok by Facebook's standards, I wouldn't want my children seeing those.

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Boris
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What I don't get is why she didn't mention the dangers of teenagers posting sexually provocative pictures of themselves online for every sexual predator on the planet to see.
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scifibum
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How dangerous is that, do you think?
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Elison R. Salazar
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I can see having a stick up ones arse isn't a class feature limited to Paladin's. [Wink] Also how am I supposed to learn female anatomy for my art if girls stop posing on facebook [Frown] (I joke, I google clothing models)

Less tongue in check, I think the mother probably means well but didn't fully think through the implications or had the self awareness to realize the double standard she used.

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Wingracer
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If she is cute and her self shots are only slightly sexy, they will appear on porn sites and blogs within weeks. Guaranteed.
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Boris
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quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
How dangerous is that, do you think?

Considering it gives a staggering amount of information to savvy predators (not the least of which is what you look like, where you live, and a lot of other hidden information that exists in pictures taken with the average GPS enabled smartphone), I'd say pretty dangerous. Also, how much information do you think a predator could use when looking at a picture of the average teenage girl's bedroom?
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scifibum
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I guess we're assuming that the pictures are public. Even so, I wonder if it's a significant danger. I think online predators almost always groom victims through chat rooms.

Note: I'm not saying it's definitely safe. However, unless the danger is really significant, I don't think it's a very healthy thing to tell girls to avoid posting such pictures in order to keep themselves physically safe.

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Boris
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quote:
Originally posted by scifibum:
I guess we're assuming that the pictures are public. Even so, I wonder if it's a significant danger. I think online predators almost always groom victims through chat rooms.

Note: I'm not saying it's definitely safe. However, unless the danger is really significant, I don't think it's a very healthy thing to tell girls to avoid posting such pictures in order to keep themselves physically safe.

The default security settings of Facebook generally make everything you post there public and usually searchable. A lot of predators use chat rooms, but remember that Facebook has a messaging system that allows messages to reach you from people who aren't friends. It would not be difficult for a predator to see those pictures, get a whole hell of a lot of information from them, and then use it to lure an unsuspecting teenager into a really bad situation.

(I'm speaking here as a security specialist, not as someone trying to tell people not to post sexually suggestive pictures. The sexually suggestive thing could, however, increase the likelihood of a teenage girl or boy being specifically targeted, though).

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Wingracer
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This girl is a great example of what can happen. She never took any nude shots or anything even remotely pornographic yet she's a porn star.

Just one of the dangers

[ September 05, 2013, 04:12 PM: Message edited by: Wingracer ]

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Lyrhawn
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A different approach to handling sons and the objects of their desire
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Rakeesh
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quote:
The bigger conversation should be why girls in high school feel they have to post sexually driven pictures at all, especially online. I had a cousin that did some "modeling" in a bikini. All fine and good, except most of the pictures were pretty damn explicit (bordering on simulated sex with objects). While they are ok by Facebook's standards, I wouldn't want my children seeing those.
There's a lot at work, but it's pretty fair to say a big part of it is: forbidden fruit, stretching boundaries against authority, and pressure applied more to women than men to couple up. Forbidden fruit: the girl who posts a picture of herself (gasp!) without a bra stands out. Society sexualizes her right away but also chastises-something men are expected to leer at but simultaneously shun (especially in the eyes of others). People often want what they're told not to want. Stretching boundaries: it's natural as someone matures to begin to strain to some extent against parental authority. Sexual behavior (in the broadest possible terms) is one effective way, in terms of stretching boundaries, to do this-especially given our often shame-oriented approach to sexuality. Then there's the pressure to couple up, which will always encourage the party most pressured to do more.

Anyway, that's some of the factors I see at work. Unfortunately nowhere in that woman's story do I see anything about 'how to begin to understand your own sexuality' for her sons, much less 'how to begin thinking about the sexuality of others'.

I also didn't see anything to indicate: why girls should give a damn if they have the resort much less admiration of her sons, or why she is such a moral authority in the first place. Everything proceeded from the point of: I am a profoundly good person, and you must measure up or be judged wanting. Why? Because they take a good picture?

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AchillesHeel
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Mrs. Hall's response to people pointing out how sexy her little boys are when half naked.

And, Jezebel has picked up the story.

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Wingracer
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
A different approach to handling sons and the objects of their desire

Link seems to be down.
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Lyrhawn
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Odd, I just clicked on the link and it worked fine.

[ September 05, 2013, 05:35 PM: Message edited by: Lyrhawn ]

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AchillesHeel
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quote:
I think the boys notice other things. For one, it appears that you are not wearing a bra.

I get it Ė youíre in your room, so youíre heading to bed, right? But then I canít help but notice the red carpet pose, the extra-arched back, and the sultry pout. Whatís up? None of these positions is one I naturally assume before sleep, this I know.

quote:
Did you know that once a male sees you in a state of undress, he canít quickly un-see it? You donít want our boys to only think of you in this sexual way, do you?
So.... does she always make sure to wear a bra and never let her kids see her pajamas? We all know that they can't unsee that. And she wouldn't want them to only see her as a sexual object.
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Wingracer
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
Odd, I just clocked on the link and it worked fine.

It's working now. Your link must have overloaded their server, haha. Good article.
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Raymond Arnold
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I.... did not realize this was not satire.
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AchillesHeel
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Oh... hahahahahahahhahahahahahahahaha

[ROFL] [Blushing] [Party] [Evil Laugh]

I don't care if that was satire or earnest, you just made so very happy.

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advice for robots
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I have no argument about a woman's right to be viewed as a person, no matter what she's wearing. This is where the messages are getting jumbled, however: in a perfect world, what's supposed to be going through your head when she shows up in a deliberately provocative picture?

First, shame is bad. That's been pretty consistent. You're not going to shame her for showing off that aspect of herself. And there's certainly no shame in coming across such a picture or feeling the feelings it's bound to provoke.

Does that mean you're free to look all you want? Or, does looking at all constitute sexualizing her, because it's just her picture you're interacting with, and it's obviously designed to provoke sexual desire? Should you feel any shame for looking anyway?

Is it possible, just with this picture, to simply affirm the sexual aspect of her humanity and thus making her even more human to you? Or is it impossible to look at the picture without objectifying her?

That's what's confusing me. It's clear what a "good Christian boy" would do, but what about a boy who's earnestly trying to do right by everyone?

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Lyrhawn
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It seems like there are a couple different conversations to be having at different times. If the girl is doing something like that and she's 18 and the boy is 18, then they are both consenting adults and she must have an incredibly good idea as to what her intentions are. I think at that point the best advice you can really give both genders is, be actively aware of what you're doing, what it means to both parties, and have at it.

For younger people, maybe explain that experimentation is a part of growing up, but you need to be wary of how far you go in your experimentation, that posting or sending a picture like that is sort of inherently both sexual in inviting.

Deliberately dressing up sexy and taking on a sexy pose and then actively sending that pictures to others is anything but a benign act. It's done with the intent of eliciting a response. But young teen girls may or may not be fully aware of what that response is, and young teen boys may not be aware of how to respond when their bodies clearly tell them one thing that may contradict their heads. When they're older, the signs and signals for that sort of thing are pretty clear cut, when they're young, it can be mixed.

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advice for robots
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All right, that's a practical perspective, but there's been enough talk here centered on "why protect the boys from those pictures at all?" that I'm wondering what right-minded boys should be thinking in this situation.

On another note, if teenagers aren't quite clear yet on what kind of response they're inviting or how to respond to such pictures, isn't it a good idea for the parents to be filtering what comes through on their Facebook accounts?

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Lyrhawn
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I would say no, because it buys into the illusion that parental Facebook censorship, or really media censorship in general, can shield teens from confusing images and concepts. It's not even a stopgap, it just gives the parents piece of mind but doesn't actually teach the child anything at all.

The focus shouldn't be on "protecting boys from the images," the focus should be on "GUIDING the boys through the images," because whether they do it on their own, whether they see them at a friends' house with less strict parents, or whether girls text the pictures directly, they are GOING to see these images. Learning how to do with something like this is a necessary aspect of emotional development in the technological age and it needs to be confronted directly (perhaps with allowances changing depending on very young age), not labeled with the Scarlet Letter and ignored.

Because this is EXACTLY the age we want to confront young boys about how they react to these images. If we don't do it during those formative years when they are forming and cementing their sexual identities and personalities, then bad behavior will be locked in place for years to come.

Censorship might feel like good parenting, because anything that involves nuzzling their precious innocent little boys feels right, especially to a mom. But they aren't precious little boys anymore, and censorship is doing more harm than good at an age when they require guidance more than castle walls.

ETA: As for what they SHOULD be thinking about? Well, I would probably start by asking what they actually feel. When they look at something like that, how do they view it? Then start some parenting. It's okay to have sexual feelings, especially when someone is coming on to you, but you can't let those feelings run wild. You control your feeling and actions, sexually, they don't control you. Then make sure they understand that while sex is perfectly natural and fine, it's not like going for a job. It's a more serious act that requires forethought and planning to be safe if undertaken at all, and shouldn't be taken lightly. Finish up by making sure they understand it's an act between two consenting adults when they're mature enough to undertake it, and it's more meaningful when there is a real emotional bond. Sex is special, the teen in question is valuable and so is their prospective partner, so neither should throw themselves away cheaply. Don't make it taboo, and don't make it overly fun and easy.

And that's just the first of a series of conversations. I would imagine you can't just throw that out there and then see what comes of it, kids aren't an experiment you leave running in the lab. But that's the start, you have to get all that out there.

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kmbboots
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
A different approach to handling sons and the objects of their desire

I am glad you posted this.
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The Black Pearl
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quote:
Originally posted by AchillesHeel:
Mrs. Hall's response to people pointing out how sexy her little boys are when half naked.

And, Jezebel has picked up the story.

...the first comment on that page...
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advice for robots
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
I would say no, because it buys into the illusion that parental Facebook censorship, or really media censorship in general, can shield teens from confusing images and concepts. It's not even a stopgap, it just gives the parents piece of mind but doesn't actually teach the child anything at all.

The focus shouldn't be on "protecting boys from the images," the focus should be on "GUIDING the boys through the images," because whether they do it on their own, whether they see them at a friends' house with less strict parents, or whether girls text the pictures directly, they are GOING to see these images. Learning how to do with something like this is a necessary aspect of emotional development in the technological age and it needs to be confronted directly (perhaps with allowances changing depending on very young age), not labeled with the Scarlet Letter and ignored.

Because this is EXACTLY the age we want to confront young boys about how they react to these images. If we don't do it during those formative years when they are forming and cementing their sexual identities and personalities, then bad behavior will be locked in place for years to come.

Censorship might feel like good parenting, because anything that involves nuzzling their precious innocent little boys feels right, especially to a mom. But they aren't precious little boys anymore, and censorship is doing more harm than good at an age when they require guidance more than castle walls.

ETA: As for what they SHOULD be thinking about? Well, I would probably start by asking what they actually feel. When they look at something like that, how do they view it? Then start some parenting. It's okay to have sexual feelings, especially when someone is coming on to you, but you can't let those feelings run wild. You control your feeling and actions, sexually, they don't control you. Then make sure they understand that while sex is perfectly natural and fine, it's not like going for a job. It's a more serious act that requires forethought and planning to be safe if undertaken at all, and shouldn't be taken lightly. Finish up by making sure they understand it's an act between two consenting adults when they're mature enough to undertake it, and it's more meaningful when there is a real emotional bond. Sex is special, the teen in question is valuable and so is their prospective partner, so neither should throw themselves away cheaply. Don't make it taboo, and don't make it overly fun and easy.

And that's just the first of a series of conversations. I would imagine you can't just throw that out there and then see what comes of it, kids aren't an experiment you leave running in the lab. But that's the start, you have to get all that out there.

Thanks for your thoughtful response. I agree--the thing to do is help them know how to handle these experiences when they come, because you're right, they will. I'm glad you emphasized that.

While I don't think you're turning your boys into monsters who end up as date-rapists later if you censor provocative images in your home instead of letting them view them as part of an educational experience, you do need to prepare them for what's going to come at them and help them know what to do with it--and that while the feelings they bring are natural and not shameful to feel, they're also powerful. The boy needs to learn how to channel and govern those feelings.

On the occasion that a friend posts a picture that is clearly provocative, I don't think I would keep it around--but I would definitely use the whole event as an opportunity to get their feelings about it and help them understand what's going on. No, I don't think it's OK for this hypothetical girl to be posting suggestive pictures, and no, just because they showed up on Facebook doesn't make viewing them any more right. It's still a poor choice and a potentially harmful one all around. But this is a great time to reaffirm that it's never right to objectify a woman, and that every person deserves to be thought of and treated with respect.

I do not see preventing such events from reoccurring in my home as somehow shaming the girls who are posting the images. In fact, I see it as helping them be able to correct their own poor choices--along with the contact I would certainly be making with their parents if I had a way to contact them.

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Rakeesh
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Simply preventing them after a thorough and open, unabashed conversation-I wouldn't say that's shaming either. In the case of the letter in question, though (I don't think you meant your statement to apply to it), the conversation as well as the letter itself were rife with shaming and male privilege.
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advice for robots
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Yes, they definitely were.

There's a difference, IMO, between writing such a letter and posting it for comment, and taking steps to prevent the reoccurrence of that situation.

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Rakeesh
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Can't argue with that.
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The Black Pearl
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In a way Iím glad your first post made everyone all uptight. It means it got SHARED and READ a lot! Which is a wonderful thing! I actually think women are the keepers of standards in our society so I do believe the primary burden of modesty falls on girls and not boys. Itís interesting to me how people were so knee-jerk about it. (I didnít even notice it until I read the comments.) Please donít let that keep you from continuing to write your truth.
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odouls268
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Well, the Hall boys' street cred is now in the crapper.

Luckily, "street cred" is something that doesn't/shouldn't matter much past 9th grade.

And hopefully by the time they're in their 20's this will be a hilarious story at the thanksgiving table.

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stacey
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My personal reception was... [Roll Eyes] [Roll Eyes]
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The Rabbit
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quote:
Originally posted by Lyrhawn:
A different approach to handling sons and the objects of their desire

That's an excellent article but I can't help but wonder what I would say that would be half as good for a teenage daughter. To me, this is the harder part of the discussion, because I wouldn't want a daughter of mine to be ashamed of her body or her sexuality but I also wouldn't want her to feel pressured to look and act sexy or to unintentional communicate things that were sexually provacative.

If we women want to be treated with respect rather than viewed as objects, we need to stop sending mixed signals. It isn't fair to put the full burden on men. If we are publicly advertising our our sexuality, we can't expect the public to ignore it. If we don't want to be seen primarily as sex objects, then we shouldn't be cultivating that image. And in my experience, lots of young women are rather naive about the image they are presenting to the world. (and by young I mean well into their twenties.)

I've seen too many women graduate students give presentations at scientific meetings wearing necklines that were so low and skirts that were so short that most of audience was embarrassed for them. As a senior woman a field of mostly men, it's often fallen to me to explain to these young women (much to their shock and horror) that the men are calling them 'the girl who is dressed like a hooker'. Young women tend to rather thoughtlessly wear whatever the fashion industry pushes and they have too few roll models for fashionable professional dress.

I don't even know how to explain what I'm saying here. There is nothing inherently sexy about the naked body and women shouldn't have to keep covered up to be seen as something other than a sex object. But in every culture there are styles, fashions and body language that will be widely viewed as sexually inviting. Posting sex kitten selfies of yourself on the web qualifies. There is nothing inherently wrong with being sexually inviting, in the right time and place -- but a public forum is probably not the right place.

There is nothing inherently wrong with sex and wanting to be sexy, but women deserve to be recognized for more than that and wanted for more than sex. When the first thing that attracts others attention about you is that you are sexy, many of them won't ever see beyond that.

I think what I'm saying is I'd want my teenage daughter to understand what messages she was sending so she could send the messages really wanted when she wanted to, and to whom she wanted. I'd want her to understand that if she attracted attention to herself by being sexually provacative, she would be less likely to be seen for her other virtues. I'd want her to believe that she had assets far greater than being sexy. I'd want her to attract the kind of friends and lovers who valued her personality and talents more than the superficial sexiness.

[ September 08, 2013, 02:45 PM: Message edited by: The Rabbit ]

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mr_porteiro_head
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My personal reception was [Hat]
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