shame no more.

I am going to write about it until one miraculous day when I don’t have to write about it anymore. This is my promise to you.

Someone on my Facebook posted this blog today with the caption “This article enrages me in so many fucking ways”. Naturally, it needed to be read. Before you continue reading this post please read it as well.

“FYI (If You’re a Teenage Girl)”

You ready now? Have you thought about it?

Good.

I am going to skip past the obvious question of, “Why are you gathering around your computer as a family combing through photos of young girls and don’t you find that a bit creepy?”. I am going to skip past the obvious addition of the photo of her sons in their bathing suits and the automatic hypocrisy of it. I am even going to skip the obvious religion angle because I know plenty of religious people who have been done a disservice by this woman.

This woman has done a disservice to women everywhere, actually.

It is inappropriate and completely not in her place to make any sort of judgement or comment on another parent’s daughter’s Facebook page. It is also completely delusional to think that by blocking them from her sons’ lists she has removed the threat of sexual desire forever – sorry, dear, you swept it under the rug but that rug is easily lifted (no pun intended? – eek).

Teenagers are teenagers and they are hormonal. They are trying to figure out their bodies, their sexuality, and how to make themselves attractive to other people. Those girls with their “sultry pouts” (which she would have known is popularly known as the duck face if she were more in tune to social media) are trying something on. They’re trying to figure something out. Guaranteed five years from now they’ll be mortified by that photo in their bedroom with their attempt at a sexy face in pajamas from Target. It is not your job to fast-track their mortification.

And it sure as hell isn’t anyone else’s job to make them feel ashamed for wanting to show their bodies.

Should teenagers be posting skimpy photos of themselves all over social media? No, probably not, but not because they shouldn’t feel proud but mainly because it can really affect you later in life. I have no idea what hiring processes are going to be like ten years from now and the last thing you want is an employer coming across fifteen year old you and never being able to erase your pouty face from their mind. But that is a risk that you take personally and I find it difficult to believe there is any teenager in this world who doesn’t understand the risks they run when they put something on the internet. It is slightly different from when I was their age – the internet “came out” when I was in the middle of elementary school and social media boomed through the next ten years. My friends and I saw the invention of MySpace, Facebook, Twitter, you name it and it was new to us and everyone else at one point. We were all trying to figure it out. The kids who are in their teens now grew up with these things and know the dangers much better than any of us did. It is ingrained into them.

So if a young girl wants to post a photo of herself on the beach jumping in the air or in her pajama shorts well then, she knows her risks and more power to her!

And really, let’s be serious here: How skimpy could these pajamas really be? Was I just impossibly sheltered (no) or did scanty lingerie just simply not exist to me when I was fifteen?

If I knew the Hall family (and at this point I am going to use the Hall family to represent not only them but the multitudes of other parents who are exactly like this) and I had children of any gender I would have my reservations of them being friends with them. One, I wouldn’t want to think that my children were being scrutinized by grown parents every night, judged for their attire, judged for their decisions, and made to feel in some way as if they have wronged the Hall sons. Two, I wouldn’t ever want to have to endure a dinner party with those parents. And three, I want to be able to teach my children healthy values rather than restrictive ones.

Boys will look at girls. Girls will look at boys. Boys will look at boys. Girls will look at girls. Especially when they’re teenagers. Blocking their social media feeds will not prevent anything that would have happened either way. My opinion? You might have just made it worse, Hall family, because now they can’t rely on Facebook news feeds to satisfy their desires to know what resides underneath and that is a recipe for skin to skin contact if you ask me. Because in your teenage years curiosity kills every one of the cat’s nine lives.

I hope that if any young girl has read the post made by the Halls that they do not feel discouraged or dirty because of it. I hope that they understand the risks of the internet and what personal safety means. But I also hope that if they want to be proud of their bodies and if they want to try to figure out what’s sexy, what gets them attention, and how to attract anyone and everyone, then they do that on their own. Don’t listen to detrimentally conservative, head-in-the-sand views.

Girls everywhere, especially teenagers, if you have skimmed through this entire post so far do not skim through this because this is the most important thing I am going to leave you with:

You are beautiful. You are strong. You are intelligent. You have so much to offer the world in mind, body, and spirit. Offer it on your own terms and don’t be ashamed. Raise your hand in class for the fifteenth time because you know the answer. Run faster than the boys because your legs are stronger. Take your clothes off and stand tall because your body is something to be proud of. If someone looks at you and compliments you, naked or not, say thank you. You deserve everything you can give yourself so give it. And never let anyone shame you into feeling like you don’t.

And the following is for the Hall family, at various angles and slightly different facial expressions in my sultriest of pajamas, also on my bed to drive home the fact that I am definitely, totally, and completely ready for action:

IMG_0261 IMG_0264

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