Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Vine and other photo-related social networking websites encourage their users to share not only images of themselves but to also put their entire life on public display as much as possible. Some members of older generations understandably disagree with these new practices and prefer to live a more private life.
One such woman named Mrs. Hall however decided to address those matters by writing a troubling post on her blog, Given Breath. Her post took the form of a letter, entitled: “FYI (If you’re a teenage girl)” beginning with the sentence “Dear girls” (The word “girls” was unintentionally lowercase) and then proceeded to go on an angry, slut-shaming rant.
Some of her most cringe-inducing lines included:
“It appears that you are not wearing a bra.”
“I know your family would not be thrilled at the thought of my teenage boys seeing you only in your towel. Did you know that once a male sees you in a state of undress, he can’t quickly un-see it? You don’t want our boys to only think of you in this sexual way, do you?”
“If you want to stay friendly with our sons online, you’ll have to keep your clothes on, and your posts decent. We are hoping to raise men with a strong moral compass, and men of integrity don’t linger over pictures of scantily clad high-school girls.”
While it is perfectly acceptable for families to have different standards and rules regarding their children’s use of social networking, this woman most certainly crossed the line when she stated: “Girls, it’s not too late… RUN to your accounts and take down the closed-door bedroom selfies that makes it easy for your male friends to imagine you naked in your bedroom.”
Mrs. Hall’s letter is flawed in many ways. For one, she implies that all males, including her sons, are uncontrollable bundles of raging testosterone that can turn salacious with even the slightest trigger.
She also implies that the families of people who post provocative photos somehow do not know, or would be very disturbed to know that their child is developing their sexuality and experimenting with style. Why should it even matter to her if someone is wearing a bra or not when that is a very personal decision that is absolutely none of her business? She also puts the blame solely on girls for their supposed weakness or a lack of morals if her own sons so much as admires the female form.
Her letter is loosely based off of religious morals, which does not excuse her actions — not everyone has the same religious and moral standards as her family.
Ironically, she chose to put up rather provocative pictures of her sons shirtless and flexing at the beach to break up the text in her blog post. Not only is she being a hypocrite for posting ‘sexy’ photos of her sons, she also unintentionally pointed out the double standard we have in allowing men to be topless yet forcing women to cover up.
Several days after posting the rant, she changed the photos to fully clothed ones of her family, accompanied with a note:
“*Readers, two days ago I wrote this post for my normal audience, which is usually very small. That said, I included recent pictures of my kids at the beach, and many new readers found that to be a grave lack of discernment, considering the topic. I agree, and have replaced them with different photos than the original post. Thank you for your counsel.”
In addition to replacing the shirtless photos, she changed the part about her sons imagining girls naked in their bedrooms because it was “too easy for friends to see you in only one dimension.”
Instead of apologizing for her poor judgment, slut-shaming, and double standard, she simply changed the pictures and reworded her post so her “new readers” would not be offended.
Read Kendall Anderson’s earlier blog post: BLOG | Body Positivity: Dispelling the Myths of the “Freshman 15”.
Anderson is the founder and co-leader of Mills Body Positivity Group and a regular contributor for The Campanil‘s health blog section. Check out the Body Positivity Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/555588184475032/.