09 September 2013

My response to: "FYI: (if you're a teenage girl)".

If you've been hangin' round these parts for a while, than you probably know that I avoid talking about controversial topics. For 2 reasons: a) we are all entitled to our own opinions, and sometimes that opinion doesn't come across correctly through written word and b) I like to keep my blog a warm & welcoming place, free of contention. 

But I recently saw this post (and the backlash from it) and it got me really fired up: FYI: (if you're a teenage girl). It's written by the Mother, and she's addressing this post to the girl friends of her teenage boys. Basically telling the teenage girls that if they post pictures of themselves dressed inappropriately or skimpy, they will be blocked from their sons social media accounts because it's provoking their sons to think of these girls in the wrong way. That's a summary, feel free to read the post before you to proceed reading mine.

The response to this blog post has been ridiculous. On one hand, people are saying that this woman is trying to blame girls for teenage boys crude thoughts. The argument here is that women should never be blamed for the way guys think or treat them. They should be able to wear what they want, and it's all the guy's responsibility to control this thoughts. On the other hand, some people agree with this women's post, and think that skimpily dressed girls are provoking these thoughts from teenage boys.

Here is my take on this.

We can not control what other people think or do. We can only control our own thoughts and actions. Obviously.

So with that in mind, the answer to this is simple. There needs to be accountability on both ends. Period. No blaming the opposite sex. Just take responsibility for your actions, your thoughts, and how you act on them.

Girls: You can dress however you want, obviously, its your life and your body. But, if you dress in a revealing manor, please be aware of the the image you are portraying. This isn't to say that what you are portraying is an accurate representation of your personality, but people often judge the book by the cover. Is it ever okay for a boy to say crude things to you or to treat your poorly because of how you dress? Absolutely not. Never ever. And you are NEVER to blame for someone else's behavior. Their actions are on them. However, I am asking you to think about how you want to be viewed and dress/act accordingly. Simple as that.

Boys: Regardless of how a girl is dressed or acting, it is your job to treat them with respect and see beyond their exterior. Women are beautiful and should be treated kindly and with dignity. Though it can be hard, don't make assumptions about someone because of their appearance. If a girl is wearing revealing clothing and posting half naked pictures online, to a certain degree, she is doing it to get attention. But please, give her respectful attention (if you desire) and treat her kindly. And most importantly, do your best to control the path of your thoughts.

Parents: It is OUR responsibility to teach these basic principles to our kids. Teenagers, and adults alike, need to learn to respect themselves and each other. They need to learn accountability and responsibility. And they also need to learn that modesty goes a long way.

So bottom line, for me, is this:

What is your take on all of this?


Rachel said...

I completely agree with the idea that there needs to be accountability on both sides. It makes me sad when I see teenage girls and boys posting foolish pictures of themselves on FB....because they are so young, they don't realize how hard it is to delete anything permanently from the internet--they don't realize how 'scandalous' pictures and smoking pictures and drinking pictures could come back to haunt them years later when they are all grown up and seeking a professional career. For this reason I won't accept my 14 yr. old brother-in-law's friend request on FB, because I'm not going to encourage immature use of social media. Kids are kids, you can't expect them to know all the right things to do, but hopefully parents will love their children enough to teach them how to do a good job using the internet for good!

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Kala Bernier said...

Ummm.....YES agree 100% I personally think more responsibility needs to go on the parents (unless we are talking about 17-19 year old)If your raise your kids right more than likely this will not become an issue when they are teenagers.

Parents now a days seem to want to be their children's friend as oppose to parent.I have seen moms and dads act just as bad on facebook as their kids. If you want to raise good, respectable children you need to start to be the example of those behaviors.

Sarah [NurseLovesFarmer.com] said...

I'm glad you posted, Mandy. Very well written and if you get flack for writing this, I'll come back and pipe in some more ;)

When you say: "We can not control what other people think or do. We can only control out own thoughts and actions. Obviously." I agree 100%...but sadly it's not so 'obvious' to people. I've been struggling with this in my personal life since my dad got sick and then died. I cannot control how what I say and do makes someone else feel. THAT IS THEIR CHOICE. But...it's not that simple.

I didn't read the original article, but by your summary...I don't think the mom is doing any good by trying to protect her boys by deleting pictures. If boys and girls want to do "stuff" it will be done. Deleting pics will not stop it. We can only pray and hope that we raise (in our case) our boys to treat women with respect and to honor God's will for them. That's what I'm trying to do anyway.

Amy said...

We live in a new age where social media has become a reality of young teenagers lives. I think parents have a responsibility to monitor their children's activity on the Internet because their whole life will be represented online. I think this parent is making a positive decision to monitor her sons behaviour online and create a positive balance. It might be seen as extreme to some, but she's doing the best she can do.

Perhaps if those girls parents monitored their behaviour better other parents wouldn't have to do it for them!

Being a teenager is a tough time of self-discovery and often silly decisions are made from all the raging hormones... all parents can do is their best as we navigate through a different era!

The Ramblin Rooster {Ashley Mills} said...

I love this, I love this, I love this! Very well said! I feel like it's so easy to blame everything on one source and I feel like that's kind of what that mom was doing. This is a much nicer, better rounded approach. Everyone has to take some responsibility when it comes to things like this. Thanks for posting, it's great!

Karly Gomez said...

Yes yes and more yes! I have four girls, and this stuff scares the crap outta me! Rudy and I are teaching them that modesty is best as they grow we'll teach them that modesty is far more attractive than crazy skimpy clothing. I love your remark about giving girls respectful attention. People are so much more than the clothing they wear, and it's true that often girls will dress in such a way to get attention. Maybe because they are insecure of themselves, or jealous of friends with boyfriends, that kind of stuff. But if a boy gives that girl respectful attention, attention based on her personality, her smarts, her creativity, or the sparkle in her eyes rather than her clothes, she'll eventually stop dressing in such a crazy way, because she won't need the attention it brings.

At least, that's what I think about it, based on my own experiences, and observations.

Kerri @ Simplicity Interrupted said...

Mandy, I know you weren't sure if you should post this, but I am glad you did. I agree with your thoughts on accountability. While I understand where the Mother was coming from in her post, I think her time would be better spent teaching her sons to respect others and think before they act.

Leah said...

I like your post much more than the one you linked to. Very honest and true and not blaming on anyone.

Alyson McMahon said...

Agreed and very well said, Mandy. Parents need to all take a bigger role in keeping track of their kids' social media. It is SCARY out there and most children are just so naive to the ways of the world and how easy it is to get info on someone.

And really, if you're raising your kids up right and talking to them about respecting others and doing your best, it's all you can do. They're going to make their own choices in the end. We just have to teach them to make the right choices. I don't know many teen boys who would see a cute girl in a bikini and NOT think of her body.. it's a natural reaction, sure. But teaching your son to remember that there is MORE to that cute girl than her body is what's important. When I read that post, I wondered if that mom realizes that teenage girls have hormones too and her boys were plastered all over her blog in just their boardshorts! Of course, boardshorts are acceptable clothing.. but hello, any young girl is going to have similar thoughts.

Parents need to parent. Plain and simply.

Alyssa Birchfield said...

Love your response to this. You handled it with such grace! Thank you for being unbiased and just saying what's true!

Stephanie said...

"Be Responsible. Be Respectful." I think that's all that needs to be said, for sure!

Fran said...

I love your response. It gets to the core of the problem without putting blame on anyone, rather making them responsible for their actions. I read the original post last week and while I agreed with a lot of what she said, the way she said sat wrong with me - and like a lot of people pointed out in her comments, it was a little funny that she used pictures of her boys in swim trunks haha

Julia Anderson said...

Couldn't agree more! Perfect take on this touchy subject :)