There’s been a lot of chatter about this letter, from a concerned conservative Mom who is worried about her sons witnessing the stiff nips of a girl they know in their newsfeed. It’s been called “wise”. Have a read…
Mrs Hall reckons that if you’re a young girl and you post pictures of yourself posing with visible nipples on Facebook, you can be damn sure she’ll evict you from association with the family (more or less).
If you take a look at the post now, you’ll notice her sons look like good, clean cut children, wearing an excess of clothing. You’ll also notice the link in the upper right hand corner that says, “FYI #2 (the one where everyone’s covered up) →”
There’s a reason there are two versions. Before she made them both the same, the first version contained about five photos of her god-fearing sons, thus;
Not a lot of bras going on there.
The blatant shaming she carries out toward girls posing sexually isn’t equally applied to her sons behaviour, which she views as innocuous. Yet to claim that puffing out ones muscles in an attempt to show off physical prowess isn’t at least part of one’s sexual experimentation seems to be more than a touch naive.
What I’m hearing from Mrs Hall is:
“Sluts aren’t respectable. They’re not to be treated like human beings. We don’t talk to them. We don’t look at them. We shun sluts.”
If I had a daughter, I’d be really concerned.
I think safe experimentation with your own sexuality is a normal and healthy part of growing up. I think all women deserve fundamental respect, even those who exercise their right to enjoy sex. Just because someone has an expressive sexuality does that mean we’re not to be friends with them, not to look at them, not to respect them? Classic slutshaming, Mrs H.
I’m also hearing:
“My boys might not be able to control themselves once they see a sexy photo.”
Which legitimises the idea that the girls are responsible for the reactions of the boys, and they have no capacity to control themselves without Mom’s intervention. It show very little faith in her own sons and their ability to stay safe, and is not only a great example of victim blaming, it also seems excessively repressive, as though they aren’t allowed to experience sexual feelings, yet the oldest is at least at an age when his natural sexual feelings may be starting to emerge.
I like the idea that we should most vitally and actively encourage all children to feel a sense of worth that transcends their physicality and is related to who they are as good people, and forgets all the shame that society lumps on them, due to their bodies, and forgets also the attention that they receive solely due to their bodies.
I have a son now but he’ll be taught to respect others – particularly women – irrespective of whether they chose to have sex or act sexually. He’ll be taught to respect his lovers, should he choose to have them, by being safe, and by observing boundaries. He’ll understand that he’s must be vigilant about having sex with anyone who is intoxicated, or if he’s unsure about what they want. He’ll learn that sex can be fun and lovemaking can be emotionally rewarding, and it’s up to him how he prefers to be. He’ll be taught to be sensible, and to protect his heart, and then like all of us he’ll branch out and learn his own lessons and make decisions for himself, assuming he even identifies as a he. These are the same lessons I’d teach any child, irrespective of gender.