9.04.2013

What's Good for the Goose.... (Girls, Boys, and Social Media)


I read a post today, where a mother very beautifully asked girls to be careful of the pictures they post on social media. Her family apparently goes through their sons' social media friends regularly, filtering out girls who post provocative ("the red-carpet pose, the extra-arched back, and the sultry pout") or scantily-clad pictures, and discussing why. And while I understand and respect the need for open conversation about such things, I can't help but be saddened by the post...because of this:

"Girls, it’s not too late! If you think you’ve made an on-line mistake (we all do – don’t fret – I’ve made some doozies), RUN to your accounts and take down anything that makes it easy for your male friends to imagine you naked in your bedroom."

And this:
"Some young men are fighting the daily uphill battle to keep their minds pure, and their thoughts praiseworthy."

Along with the fact that included in the post were photos of the poster's own sons (and daughter) in swimsuits, posing to best show off their muscles. How ironic!

Here are three points I'd like to make:

1.) It is not a girl's job alone, to keep the thoughts of boys pure. It's a boy's job to realize that girls are people, regardless of how they are dressed, posed, etc.. Modesty helps, but it only goes so far. Boys need to be taught that THEY are accountable for the way they think of women; that THEY are accountable for the actions that take place because of any impure thoughts they have.

2.) Girls also have daily uphill battles to keep their minds pure! This is not just a boy thing. And pictures of scantily-clad boys don't help...which brings me to the next one:

3.) I firmly believe that what's good for the goose, is good for the gander. Modesty applies to girls AND boys!

There is a huge double-standard in this country, and it's something that is constantly hidden in messages to women. Messages like this. This double-standard contributes to the rampant rape culture, as it refuses to hold men (or boys) accountable for their actions. And before you think this has nothing to do with rape, I argue that it does. It REALLY does. Because so many women are afraid to report rape or misconduct (or are not believed when they do) because messages like these tell them that it's their fault. That by wearing different clothing, or posting different pictures or acting in a different way (or saying no more forcefully), rape could have been prevented. Seriously, folks. That by covering themselves up, the pig of a man who raped them would have magically gained some self control. NOT SO!

Here's the thing: I have a son. I worry about him. I worry that I will fail to teach him to respect women. I worry that somehow he'll come across porn, or some form of it, before I can teach him about the true functions of our bodies, and that by then, it will be too late. I worry that through advertisements, movies, and TV, he will learn to objectify women, and to think of women as 'things,' instead of people. I worry that he may be pressured to have sex before he's married, or even before he's mentally ready to cope with such a thing. But most of all, I worry that I'll fail to teach him to hold himself accountable for the way he thinks about women. 

I worry a lot. And in a way, I get the idea behind the plea of the mother who wrote the post I mentioned. But I can't stand behind it; it places the accountability on girls, and blatantly flaunts the hypocrisy of our sexist society. What's good for the goose, is good for the gander! When my son is older, instead of deleting any girl with a picture that may resemble something sexy, or asking those girls to delete anything that *may* make it easy for him to imagine them "naked in bed", I'll teach him to think of her as the child of God that she is.

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