Posted: Sep 04, 2013 4:15 PM
 
Parents have a major influence on kids’ views toward bodies, sexuality and gender roles. Think hard about the messages you share and the impact they’ll have on your kids and others. Here's a tip — slut-shaming probably isn’t the best way to go about shaping healthy attitudes.

Mom of three boys Kimberly Hall has some advice to share with the teenage girls of the internet — put your bras on and cover that skin up. Your provocative bodies aren't communicating who you really are inside, and even worse — you're causing teenaged boys to have uncontrollable sexual thoughts.

Back that up for a second

To illustrate something, Kim Hall included photos of her kids at the beach on her post letting teen girls know how to behave. All three boys are posing like bodybuilders, showing off their muscles. Were Mrs. Hall to apply the same standards of decency to her sons, logic would dictate they'd be covered up. They certainly wouldn't be displaying their nipples. Doesn't she know that once a female sees you in a state of undress, she can never un-see it? Or wait, that actually doesn't make sense. In fact, her argument is a gross exaggeration that places the blame on women when men don't control themselves. Sorry ladies, but your nipples were theoretically there! Next time don't provoke men so much. Hall has since posted a second version of her original post, with pictures of her sons fully-clothed.

Slut-shaming is a learned behavior

Slut-shaming is when women and girls are told that expressing sexuality, acting sexual in any way or not conforming to arbitrary expectations is shameful and indecent.

Unfamiliar with the term slut-shaming? Don't worry, you've just been handed a perfect illustration of the behavior. Slut-shaming is when women and girls are told that expressing sexuality, acting sexual in any way or not conforming to arbitrary expectations is shameful and indecent. For example, telling a girl that her arched back, sultry pout and exposed body needs to be scoured from the Internet is a textbook form of slut-shaming. As the mom of two boys, it's incredibly important to me to check the way I talk about sexuality, sexual freedom and responsibility. I know it'll be a difficult subject but I also know I won't take the easy way out and place all the blame on women for being tempting.

The devil's in the details

Let's look at some of the terms used to describe teen girls expressing sexuality much like a boy expressing sexuality by posing half-naked on the beach — unfortunate, bummer, mistake, inappropriate. Now let's look at the words used to helpfully tell girls how they should come across — decent, moral, real beauties, lovely, interesting, smart. In short, according to Mrs. Hall's manifesto, you can't be these things if you tempt men and boys with your trashy body.

Now let's talk about rape culture

"Men are fighting an uphill battle to keep their minds pure," says Mrs. Hall. What is this fight actually against, if you follow her logic? Women. Women in towels, pouting women, sexual women. These women are causing men to lose integrity, act dishonorably and imagine naked bodies — presumably in a way that causes a debilitating lack of judgment and reason. Sadly, this is not an uncommon point of view. Boys are taught that it's OK to objectify and otherwise mistreat girls who are slutty. After all, those aren't the good, decent, modest girls they'll marry.

Honor comes in the way you treat others, no matter how they look or dress or act or what your mother told you was OK.

FYI: Teenaged boys

Your parents' old-fashioned ideas of decency and femininity don't have to shape the way you treat others. And here's a little secret — having sexual thoughts doesn't make you dishonorable. You're a teenager. It's kind of expected that teenaged boys and girls have a few or maybe a billion impure thoughts. Honor comes in the way you treat others, no matter how they look, dress or act — or what your mother told you was OK.

More tough topics

Please stop sexualizing your kid for your own purposes
Gender-bending: When your son dresses like a princess
Talk to your teen about accountability

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