Guest Post: Allowing the Devil To Undress You: The Slut-Shaming of a Former Homeschooler

Teresa Scanlan.A Guest Post by Ryan Stollar

Originally posted on Homeschoolers Anonymous

A disgrace.

A destructive force against families.

Homeschool dropout.

A rat turd.

These are but a number of phrases used on HSLDA’s Facebook page in reference to Teresa Scanlan, a former homeschooler attending Patrick Henry College. These are not phrases used by HSLDA; in fact, HSLDA has championed Teresa as a homeschool success story. But these phrases are also not coming from anti-homeschoolers or liberal secularists.

They are coming from fans (or at least previous fans) of HSLDA.

Yesterday, HSLDA shared about Teresa’s life and homeschooling experience in light of her being crowned Miss America in 2011. It was obviously about marketing to some extent — “the secret behind the crown was homeschooling!,” HSLDA says. But it also was about celebrating a young woman with passion and drive.

But things got ugly.

Some of HSLDA’s fans were livid. In fact, if you were looking for evidence that the modesty and purity culture that exists within Christian homeschooling can lead to some truly dehumanizing and dangerous thoughts, look no further than what unfolded.

Here is HSLDA’s original post about Teresa Scanlan, and here is the link to the post on Facebook:

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The comments that some people are leaving on HSLDA’s post about Teresa are frankly alarming. They are misogynistic and dripping with body-shaming. They even are scarily reminiscent of rape culture — that women are responsible for men’s lust and are “asking for it.”

Seriously.

There is direct, no-holds-barred slut-shaming going on right on HSLDA’s Facebook page.

Check it out:

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Yes, you read that right. Someone is pulling their support from HSLDA because of HSLDA’s link — which was merely a link to their original radio series about Teresa. Because old men and young men might “fix their eyes” upon Teresa dressed in a rather conservative red dress (you can’t even see her shoulders!).

Now you might wonder: how is that picture immodest? Well, it isn’t. But fear not. People encouraged other people to google her in a bikini. (Does that sound a bit hypocritical? Because it is hypocritical, and also slightly creepy.)

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Not everyone on HSLDA’s page, however, was attacking Teresa. Some people tried to defend her – and then got promptly slut-shamed, too.

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Yes, if you participate in a pageant, you have caused men to commit adultery and you will be “held accountable of Judgement Day.”

The comments continue:

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Another defender, who is attacked:

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By the way, Teresa is a Christian.

Not just “a” Christian, but a conservative Christian. In fact, she points out in her radio interview with HSLDA that many of the young women that participate in pageants are actually conservative Christians:

Actually, the majority of contestants, believe it or not, are Christian conservatives, I found, in the competition. And then the judges, in my interview, they have my resume in front of them, and they saw a lot of church activities and things on there, so during my interviews, several of them actually asked me questions about my faith.

But that does not stop people from judging her relationship with God:

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Also:

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It really is a train wreck. They call her a “homeschool dropout,” and attack her for wanting a career:

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They compare her to a “rat turd”:

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They do not hesitate to link to her Facebook profile (which, as we all know, will probably lead to further online bullying, harassment, and slut-shaming):

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This is not to even mention the likely hypocrisy and double standard of some people in the homeschooling community when they only think of modesty and purity in terms of women. What about men?

Were all these people up in arms when Tim Tebow went shirtless for magazines?

Or were they parading Tebow around as a homeschool superhero? Kathryn brilliantly pointed out (not on HSLDA’s page) this double standard about equally harmless actions:

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Credit must be given to those people who are defending Teresa on HSLDA’s page. This goes to show that not all homeschoolers — in fact, not all Christian homeschoolers — believe in the toxic ideas behind modesty and purity culture ideology.

I commend those people for standing up against those ideas and the people that would use those ideas to shame a young woman.

We need to push back like this. We need more homeschoolers to speak up against these ideas (and not just against the modesty and purity culture ideas). Teresa’s own experience has demonstrated that this shaming is (very sadly) nothing new to her:

When I first won, I thought, of course, that I would get criticism from the public in general about being a Christian, but it was kind of surprising to me that probably the most criticism I received was actually from conservative Christians that competing in the competition like Miss America did not line up with their morals and values.

No one deserves to be abused and harassed in this manner, regardless of their way of dress, their gender, their political or religious beliefs, or anything else. In fact, I commend HSLDA for being willing to champion a conservative Christian woman who is — through her actions — bravely overturning some of the deeply held assumptions in some conservative Christian circles. She is celebrating her beauty and her body, she is going to college, and she has high career aspirations — in fact, as HSLDA mentions in their bio of her, “her highest career goals are to run for president in 2028 or to be nominated to the Supreme Court.”

She also hopes to educate people about eating disorders.

She has expressed a desire to “educate children and adults alike as to the signs and risks of eating disorders, as well as how and where to get help for themselves or a loved one.”

More power to her.

Libby Anne comments: One thing that is so interesting about this incident is that it is such a reverse of how HSLDA’s facebook followers reacted to allegations that HSLDA mishandles child abuse in homeschool circles (for background, see here). In that case, they closed ranks and supported HSLDA unequivokly, without a blink, question, or second thought. And yet here, when HSLDA highlights the success of a homeschooler who was crowned Miss America, that is a bridge too far. That is what has HSLDA’s facebook followers threatening to pull their support. Mismatched priorities much? 

About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.

  • Vi

    Oh gosh! I’m surprised they cared more about modesty culture than promoting homeschooling, and more surprised at how nasty their insults are.
    It shocks me that people play the sweet, charitable Christian card and could be this cruel to someone just for modelling in a bikini!

    • Highlander

      It’s because they are now going to hell for committing adultery with her and it’s all her fault! Of course they could repent and ask for forgiveness and everything is ok again, but that would be like admitting they were the ones who were at fault for lusting after her. Can’t have that.

    • Rosa

      this is the thing that makes me not really worrry about the Dominionists and Christianists: they turn on each other at the slightest provocation.

      • Sally

        Absolutely. We think they’re hard on us; it’s even worse among themselves.

    • skyblue

      It really exposes their true priorities, doesn’t it? If the focus was on promoting homeschooling as an option for responsible parents, we wouldn’t see this stuff. We’d see discussion about course curriculums, exams, etc.

      If, on the other hand, the most important thing is having complete CONTROL over children, then this reaction to a former homeschooler who has “stepped out of line” is to be expected. As is the defense of abusive parents.

  • Monica Swanson

    So, according to these comments…
    Parents who use corporal punishment? It’s their right.

    Parents who home-school their kids but refuse to actually TEACH them? It’s their right.
    Parents who neglect and abuse their children until they DIE? It’s their right.

    Parents who support and encourage their daughter to use her talents? God forbid.

    How bass-ackwards is that?

    • Olive Markus

      It all comes back to shaming women…. Being a woman is the ultimate sin, after all.

    • Miss_Beara

      It is amusing that these people are most likely “pro life” but have no qualms about the neglect and abuse of children. And by “amusing” I mean disgusting and vile.

  • badgerchild

    Yet another example of how cruelty towards human beings = charity to the law of God. Because rejecting “worldiness” is all that counts, isn’t it. I think these “good Christian people” have forgotten how to be anything but judgment machines.

  • Mel

    Why do people take massive offense at another person’s good fortune?

    Teresa has worked hard, found a venue that rewards her multiple talents, and is moving towards her dreams. Instead, commentators start working them selves into a lather about bikini wear, the fact she graduated from a high school and that she has a different goal than being a wife and mother. One of the folks even started cyber-stalking behavior.

    IMO, Teresa is behaving in a reasonable fashion for a young Christian woman. The blog trolls are responding in a fashion that is decidedly motivated by jealousy, envy, and/or pride. Also, since they are not talking directly to Teresa, I think I could make the argument that they are involved in gossip as well. The blog trolls need to get the giant logs out of their eyes before deciding if Teresa has a speck in her eye.

    • Sally

      “Why do people take massive offense at another person’s good fortune?”
      There’s a little part of me that wonders if it isn’t sour grapes. I wonder if some of the people who speak out so vehemently were attracted to the purity culture in the first place because of their own body image issues. Now not only do you have a reason to cover up in loose flower sacks and hide your hair, even, but you can require “pretty people” to do the same. Sort of levels the playing field.

      • Sally

        Oops, I meant “loose flour sacks.”

      • Helix Luco

        all the flour sacks i’ve seen were made with a flower print.

      • Alix

        I’ve seen one with chickens. It was really weird.

      • TLC

        Perhaps they are dismayed that Teresa broke their “rules” yet kept her integrity, maintained her faith, served as a role model, didn’t turn into a prostitute, and wasn’t immediately cast into the burning pits of Hell. In other words, she succeeded with grace and dignity in spite of it all.

      • badgerchild

        Body shaming isn’t OK when “we” do it, either.

  • sunnyside

    Since they posted publicly, their names will come up in internet searches and anyone they’re friends with on FB will see it in the little news feed on the side (maybe the main one, depending). I hope potential employers, concerned family members, etc see what some of these people have to say. The one benefit of people behaving as if they’re anonymous/without consequence online is that they show who they really are.

    • Jayn

      I think stuff like this is a good argument against the “people will behave better if forced to use their own names” line I’ve heard tossed around during stuff like the Google+ fiasco. Facebook provides ample proof that many people will still act like assholes under their ‘real’ identity.

  • Mira

    I was never homeschooled but I STILL have image issues because of this purity culture crap I was raised in.
    These people need to get a grip. Not everyone wants to parade around in a burka–not all women want to dance around in a bikini either. That being said, when I DO wear a bikini, I wear it because I LIKE it and because it’s HOT and more fun to chill out in the sun in a bikini than a burkini. I’m not doing it for people to look at me. That’s not on me, that is on them. Rape culture, indeed.

    • Kit

      That’s something I don’t get as well – why is it that the clothing I choose to wear is always because of SOMETHING? A few weeks ago when I was in France, I was meeting up with some friends and wearing a t-shirt I like and a pair of shorts because they were really comfortable. A friend of a friend basically said I wasn’t dressed well enough to hang out with them.

      Why is it that I can’t put on clothes without thinking about what other people are going to think of me? Why is it when we wear clothes like bikinis, we get judged by a subset of the population for showing off and drawing too much attention to ourselves, but when we wear shorts and a t-shirt, we get judged for not trying hard enough to please others? Ugh.

      • rtanen

        Exactly! Quick tip: If someone is wearing clothing, it is probably because:
        1. They like how it fits them.
        2. They think it looks nice.
        3. It matches some dress code, whether it be their school’s dress code, their workplace’s dress code, or their personal standards.

      • http://abasketcase.blogspot.com/ Basketcase

        Or its all they have that fits and suits… (damn breastfeeding making all my nice clothes completely unsuitable for day-to-day wear)

      • Divizna

        Oh, I don’t know. When I’m wearing clothing, it’s usually more because:

        I’m neither cold nor too warm in it, given the current weather conditions.
        It doesn’t get in the way of what I’m doing.

        It’s currently clean.

        (Or sometimes:

        I was in a hurry and it was the first I grabbed.)

        And if I were on holiday, there’d also be this reason:

        I’ve taken this with me.

  • eamonknight

    “….there are only a few families left hanging on by a thread.”?

    Sky falling much in her world?

    • Sally

      I wonder if they meant that somehow HSDLA was holding them together and now they’re severed from them? Oh that that were true.

      • Rosa

        i’m actually hoping there’s been some drama in HSDLA and they were “hanging on” but now they’re leaving the group. It would be nice to watch that group disintegrate.

  • TLC

    First they tell you to Google her so you see ALL the pictures of her in a bikini. Then the rest start screaming about dressing modestly and lusting.

    Uh, how about: Don’t deliberately go looking for pictures of women whom you believe to be “immodestly” dressed ?? Because if you’re deliberately searching for photos of women in bikinis or anything else that goes against your so-called morals, you’re the one who’s being sinful. Same goes if you’re linking to said photos.

    Maddalena asks: What kind of people parade around in their underwear and say they belong to God? Answer: David! The “man after God’s own heart”. Read 2 Samuel 6. The conversation between David and his wife sounds kinda familiar.

    Finally, Maddela quotes Matthew 5. She needs to flip over a couple of pages to Matthew 7:

    “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. 2 For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged.

    3 “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own? 4 How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? 5 Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.”

    • Anat

      Yes, the conversation between David and Michal sounds familiar, but since it was a powerful man who was being shamed (in private, BTW) he had the power to retaliate by never having sex with her again (that’s how I take Michal’s childlessness), and when he had the opportunity he arranged for her sons by another husband (to whom she was given by her father, by no choice of her own) to be put to death (2 Samuel 21). So not quite the same.

      • Boo

        When I read that story it always sounded to me like David never had sex with her again, but she wasn’t much interested in having sex with him either. What woman would want to be with a man who had the children she raised killed. Plus, the Bible says that her second husband, who she had been married to for about 10 years, wept as he took her back to David. I would have hated David too. You never hear anyone tell her whole story.

      • TLC

        I wasn’t using the entire story of David and Michal’s marriage of an example here — just one incident, in response to Maddelna’s question.

        I know David wasn’t perfect. There’s a reason I put the phrase the “man after God’s own heart” in quotes. Paul called him that, not me. I was just trying point out the irony of one of their Bible heroes committing the same “terrible sin” of dancing in his underwear that they’re saying Teresa committed. That is all.

      • Boo

        Oh, I know. I just never pass up an opportunity to tell this woman’s story. Like many women of the Bible her story is so tragic, and part of the tragedy is that we only get to hear a shallow and misguided version of her life. She is known by Christianity as a ‘bad girl,’ but I don’t think I have ever heard one teacher or preacher talk about how she was used and abused in her life by both her father and David. I have a theory that if there was a Bible study about all of the women David mistreated, his sin with Bathsheba would look like just a continuation of he disrespect for women. We would have a difficult time acting like he was a good ol’ boy, and a ‘man after God’s heart,’ who did something bad once.

      • TLC

        Wow. That is an amazing insight! Thank you for sharing this.

        What if there were a Bible study or college course about ALL the women who were mistreated in the Bible? That would ruffle some feathers, wouldn’t it? It would be worth it just to see the hands wring and the fireworks fly! ;-)

      • Boo

        That is for sure. Unfortunately, the church has a way of taking any Bible study about female characters in the Bible and turning it into a ‘Women’s Fluff Bunny Study Course.’ There is a belief in the church that women either do not want, or cannot handle any real in depth scholarly Bible study. We would also be hard pressed to find to many men willing to take a Bible course on the lives of women.

      • Alice

        Yes, Rachel Held Evans had a wonderful post a while back on remembering the tragic stories about women in the Bible.

        http://rachelheldevans.com/blog/dark-stories

      • Boo

        Wow! That was powerful. And it made me think, if anyone was looking for a biblical example of rape culture they would have to look no further than the household of King David.

      • TLC

        Thank you so much for this link — how moving! And what an awesome tribute to these women!

    • Sally

      Do you think these people might say because they dress modestly according to their own standards (which they have set for everyone else) that they welcome being judged by those standards and that the speck is out of their eye in this issue so verse 5 gives them permission to now “deal with the speck in their friend’s eye”?
      Of course we could point out that this woman is not their friend.

    • Alice

      It’s kind of humorous that she quoted Matthew 5. That verse is condemning the person who lusts, not the person being lusted after! There’s also no exceptions, “But if she’s wearing a bikini, it’s okay to lust because she was asking for it.” Oh the irony.

      • Cathy W

        It’s not even that – more like “She made me lust! It’s all her fault!” She is, apparently, a bona fide Stumbling Block.

    • Alix

      Butbut… if we’re not allowed to go looking for all the possible immodest pictures, how can we possibly be judgmental assholes, as our twisted religion commands? You can’t excoriate a woman properly if you don’t know just what skin is showing!!!!

  • Sally

    I think these people are so upset because they thought HSLDA was part of their like-minded world and while they’d never discussed bikinis in the past, they suddenly feel duped by HSLDA. You really can’t be more conservative than fighting for the kinds of “rights” HSLDA fights for. Yet HSLDA isn’t as like-minded as they thought.
    Well, good.
    And what irony that HSLDA has gotten in bed with these kinds of people to promote their conservative rights cause. This is hardly the harm to HSLDA that child abuse is to children harmed by their policies. I wish this little sting would make them look at themselves. But they’re into their “rights” ideology to such a degree at this point that they’ll probably be shocked for a few moments and then wall this off and carry on.
    But they shouldn’t. They should really take a look at the whole big picture. These are the kinds of people whose rights you’re protecting. If they attack you and a stranger like this, what are their own children dealing with?

  • MNb

    I hate the word slut. It implies that women should be more restrictive regarding sex than men.

    • Lyric

      I hate the word “slut” because it pretends to mean something. Think about it. What does slut actually mean, beyond “you are a woman and I think you should be ashamed?”

      • KnBa

        It means “you engage in a hobby* I probably share, but in a way that is slightly different than me. Also, you are probably more involved in the hobby than I am. Therefore you are a bad person.”

        Prude, by contrast, means “you probably engage in a hobby I probably share, but in a way that is slightly different than me. Also, you are probably less involved in the hobby than I am. Therefore you are a bad person.”

        Both of these definitions are questionably coherent, and the criticism within them is downright absurd.

        *Specifically, sex.

      • http://abasketcase.blogspot.com/ Basketcase

        Well put.

      • Jolie

        I love the word ‘slut’ because I’ve reclaimed it- but I do hate it when it’s used in a derogatory way. (Pretty much just how I hate the word ‘c u n t’ when used as a slur/swear word but I actually like it when it refers to the actual vulva). And yes, despite being in an entirely monogamous heterosexual relationship, I do identify as a slut.

        In my mind, a ‘slut’ is someone who unappologetically enjoys sex: be it with one or multiple partners, with men, women, genderqueer people or all of the above; someone who doesn’t feel awkward or ashamed about expressing sexual desire in all forms and ways it strikes her fancy. And as long as the slut is an ethical slut- that is, one who practices good consent and does not use sex to manipulate, bribe, get revenge or otherwise harm other people- it is something to be celebrated.

      • http://abasketcase.blogspot.com/ Basketcase

        ethical slut.
        Love it.

      • Kellen Connor

        As I have reclaimed the word “dyke” and will someday have it monogrammed on my towels.

      • TLC

        Why wait for someday? GO FOR IT!!!

        And when you do, please post a picture of your towels. I gotta see this!

      • MNb

        “used in a derogatory way”
        Alas for a white male like me it’s impossible not to use the word in a derogatory way. Now I don’t have anything against derogatory words a priori. I do have a lot though against the implication that enjoying sex is something bad.
        Slut often means a woman easy to get in bed. Now if we shrug off our christian heritage (as a Dutchman I suffer from it as well) we can ask ourselves: what’s wrong with a woman wanting lots of sex?
        This is not an abstract subject for me. I’m a teacher in Moengo, Suriname. My kids, 12-16 years old, generally trust me. I have met young girls who badly wanted sex indeed (quote: I can’t help it). They were nice, polite, serious with their study. I absolutely can’t understand why they should feel ashamed and I have told them so.

      • Alix

        I absolutely can’t understand why they should feel ashamed and I have told them so.

        Good for you.

      • MNb

        Like I implied it means something like “a woman enjoying sex, eventually with more than one man and that’s a bad thing.”

    • smrnda

      I’ve always found that there’s no meaningful definition, just like I can’t exactly find anyone to give a meaningful definition of ‘promiscuous’ – it seems to just mean ‘having more sex than I think she should.’

      • Alix

        …my best friend, in one of her snarkier moments, said that the real definition of slut is either a woman who:

        1. had one more sexual partner than you did
        2. has had sex with a guy* you like
        3. your boyfriend has expressed appreciation for

        On a more serious note, it’s also thrown around as a general word of condemnation towards girls and women who’ve never actually had sex. So it’s even more hollow than just “having more sex than the speaker thinks she ought” – it’s “a woman who I dislike and can shame with this word.”


        *I’m sure there are exceptions, but I have to say, I’ve only ever heard “slut” used in a heterosexual context.

      • Nancy Shrew

        4. A woman who won’t have sex with /you/.

      • Lyric

        This is what I finally decided it meant, and I rarely see a situation in which that definition doesn’t work pretty well.

      • Alix

        True! I totally forgot that side of this.

  • LRK

    Welcome to the world of Atheists….we get this kind of BS from “Christians” daily.
    We also don’t like you shoving your “Christian” values into our laws.
    Glad to see you folks get a taste of your own medicine. Even better to see it happen from your own kind.
    Kudous to the girl.

    • Jolie

      Words of wisdom:
      Having a religion is like having a penis.
      It’s OK to have one.
      It’s OK to be proud of it.
      Just please don’t wave it around in public or shove it down children’s throats.

      • Alexise

        I love that saying!

      • Japooh

        I think I’ll have this printed on a t-shirt. Thanks

  • katiehippie

    Why are all these people on Facebook anyway? Who knows what you could be exposed to on there……

  • lollardheretic

    I do find the pageant circuit a bit off putting–and so some of their objections (the whole swimsuit competition does smack of body parading, even from a secular point of view, and one that might not be healthy for women period) make sense to me. I mean seriously, have any of you watched Toddlers and Tiaras? Some of that stuff is scary as hell. But the shaming is pretty awful, and not at all surprising. It also seemed, from the quoted bits, to come a lot from the same folks, which also isn’t surprising. A clique of mostly women slamming other (younger) women. Sexism perpetuated by women is often the most terrifying of all. (Genital mutilation, for example). Not that men weren’t also involved.

    A Christian, but non-sexist, non-shaming, critique of pageants is possible,but clearly NOT what is going on here.

    • Kellen Connor

      I mean seriously, have any of you watched Toddlers and Tiaras?

      Just a two minute clip on Kathy. I… yeah, I’m not doing that again.

  • http://www.nightphoenix.com Amaranth

    I noticed Rat Turd guy also referred to Teresa not by name, but by “female”: “HSLDA should pull their support from ‘this female’”. Like she’s not a fellow person at all, but some prize horse that’s no longer winning races for his team. Then of course he trots out the modesty verse, completely ignoring the face that “gold and pearls and costy array” have *nothing whatsoever* to do with anyone’s bodies, but everything to do with *wealth*.

    Really, really creepy, the way these people honestly think they have the
    right to make judgments about women’s bodies and lives and simultaneously
    don’t even see us as fully human. And apparently they can’t even suss out a relevant piece of scripture to back up their nonsense.

    • sam

      Exactly! I’m surprised he didn’t say “woman” instead of “female”. Either way it’s dehumanizing and creepy as hell.

      • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

        “Woman” would at least acknowledge that she is human – thus “female”. Ick, ick, ick.

    • tsara

      “I noticed Rat Turd guy also referred to Teresa not by name, but by “female””
      And that’s odd, because I don’t think rat turds have genders.

    • aim2misbehave

      I noticed, too. It seems like any time someone uses “female” in a place where “woman” would be appropriate, they’re being really sexist.

  • Mary

    That is ridiculous. SHe actually looks fairly conservatively dressed in the context of normal American culture. (And by the way- some christians interpret the “modesty” issue as “don’t dress so as to make people who can’t afford stuff that fancy uncomfortable.” Maybe I’m prejudiced, but I prefer it.) NOTHING about her says “slut.” (If that were even a thing, which it’s not.) That said, I do have a problem with pageants in general from a feminist perspective. I do think that it can be dehumanizing to reduce women to their bodies. I have no problem with bikinis for swimming- they’re awesome! But inviting the world to see you in one AND JUDGE YOUR BODY would feel very uncomfortable to me. Notwithstanding, women should have the right to do that if they wish to, and in no way does that make them immodest or slutty.

  • http://www.everydayintheparkwithgeorge.com/ Matt Eggler

    Oddly enough, I find this encouraging. I can’t find the quote so I can’t attribute and will have to paraphrase, but someone recently said that the reason people support theocracy is because they all think that they will get to be Theo. Theocracy inevitably leads to infighting as the adherents fight over who is truly holier than thou. It is nice to see it happening before thy even manage to come to power.

    • Kellen Connor

      Oooh, I like that quote.

  • Miss_Beara

    Those slutty slut women who dare to make men stumble by simply existing! How dare we? That vile comment made by Tommy sounds like he is eager to put all women in burkas. And “this female”? Clearly he has a strong contempt for all women. I wonder if he is a MRA.

    • Kellen Connor

      You wonder?

      • Miss_Beara

        Ok ok. He is. :)

    • Msironen

      I think in all likelihood he has no idea what a MRA is, much less identifying as one.

  • j.lup

    When I first won, I thought, of course, that I would get criticism from the public in general about being a Christian.

    Why did she think that? Is it because she’s swallowed the ridiculous rhetoric that Christians are a hated, persecuted minority? I wonder where she could have learned such things?

    I’m horrified (though not surprised) by the online hatred being thrown at her, but it’s a valuable lesson for all young people to learn: Making a claim of conservative Christian values doesn’t mean someone’s a good person. What a person believes doesn’t mean a damn thing – what makes a person good is how they behave and how they treat other people, and it’s through action that a person reveals what they truly value. Her critics may be ‘Godly,’ but they’re not ‘goodly,’ and what they’re doing is pure assholery.

    • Kellen Connor

      Why did she think that? Is it because she’s swallowed the ridiculous rhetoric that Christians are a hated, persecuted minority? I wonder where she could have learned such things?

      Lol. I missed that part. (Of course, I get comment-rage easily, so I had to start skimming after a while.) Seriously, what the what? I was homeschooled by Catholics and even I knew better at that age. Of course, by that age I had a job and had noticed that no one ever had trouble getting Christmas off, even if they didn’t celebrate it. I guess she’ll catch up.

    • Alix

      Is it because she’s swallowed the ridiculous rhetoric that Christians are a hated, persecuted minority?

      Almost certainly. If that’s the message you’re constantly receiving – and there’s a lot of effort put into that message – and any examples to the contrary are dismissed well enough, why wouldn’t you believe it?

  • Kellen Connor

    Look, I just hate beauty pageants because I think they’re stupid and waste a lot of money. There’s got to be a less extravagant way for women to compete for… whatever Miss Americans are competing for. If we’ve got dollars we don’t need for anything in particular, I think there’s some AIDS that needs curing or something. But (as was pointed out to me when I proclaimed that paramedics should be making as much money as football players), I live in a land of plenty where an abundance of resources go to entertainment. And apparently enough people like this boring parade of the same smiles, gowns, and speeches enough to keep it alive year after year. So, yay, power to my sisters… I guess.

    Sardonicism aside, good on her for knowing what she wanted and getting it. I mean that. I hope her late adult years are just as successful (if a bit more practically productive).

    • Alix

      …Yeah. I have some … serious issues about beauty pageants. But women being sexy and wearing revealing clothing aren’t, in themselves, one of them.

      • Kellen Connor

        Oh, I’m the last person who has a problem with women wearing whatever sexy thang they want. ;) Granted, I don’t need to go to Miss America to see that. Esp. since most of those girls are a bit young for my taste. (Apparently your pageantry career is over at 25, but I think that’s when you start getting interesting.) But, you’re right; everyone should choose the clothes that make them happy, and be comfortable in their own skin. We should all be as confident as Miss Scanlan. If a woman’s failing to be properly ashamed of her body is the issue that people take with beauty pageants, than those people need to realign their priorities.

  • Hat Stealer

    Remember kids- if you never see boobs, then boobs start to be the only thing you ever think about.

  • aim2misbehave

    Ironically, looking on the HSLDA website, although it says it’s a “Christian organization,” there are numerous places that states it’s an organization that’s meant to represent all homeschoolers, not just ones of a specific faith. So the people who are complaining are really, really stretching it on that front, as well… (but we all know they won’t withdraw their support, because HSLDA has them too scared of legal restrictions on homeschooling).

  • GothicGyrl

    I am a Secular homeschooler. HSLDA would never see a dime of my money as they do not represent me. However, the families that are posting these things to HSLDA’s facebook page represent homeschooling even less than HSLDA does not represent me.

    If I could have ever regulated homeschooling in such a way as to prevent people like this from inflicting this abuse onto their children, I would. It is, as many have said, shaming the woman. It’s wrong. They are wrong. They misquote scripture.

    And most importantly, they do not represent homeschooling. They are the pathetic fringe I wish would go away.

    • Alix

      …So this post isn’t about you, then, is it?

      • Brian

        Oh, no, it’s all about her. Didn’t you know? Everything is about her. That’s why when there’s an article about a problem, the most important thing for her to do is to point out that she’s not part of that problem.

      • Kellen Connor

        Come on, Alix & Brian, that’s a little harsh. I think what she’s trying to do is reaffirm that not all, or even most, homeschooling parents should be associated with this kind of shameful behavior. Maybe you don’t need reminding, but the sad fact is that some people will. She sounds upset and hurt about these nutty, malicious people taking something she’s proud of and giving it a bad name, so we should probably cut her some slack.

      • Alix

        I have to say, though, that this always happens: someone starts talking about the problems with homeschooling, and someone has to come in and not only say that they’re not part of the problem, but diminish the problem. It’s just “fringe.” It doesn’t happen that often, so why are we focusing on it, is the unspoken implication.

        What annoys me with GothicGyrl’s comment is that she’s already said she’s not part of the group criticized – HSDLA. Libby Anne’s very carefully and deliberately not talking about all homeschoolers, so why are non-HSLDA homeschoolers even important to bring up?

        It’s a classic form of derailing. For an unrelated example, I see it in discussions in pagan communities all the time: “This coven is a problem.” “Well, I’m not a member of that coven, and I totally agree it’s entirely problematic, but they’re a wacky fringe, not all pagans! Stop tarring us with the same brush!” When no such overgeneralization is even happening.

        That may not still be a good reason why I reacted as I did, but that’s my thought process, fwiw.

      • Kellen Connor

        I get your concern. Thanks for bringing that up; you make a good point. Conversation shouldn’t be side-tracked or derailed. Just because it’s a “fringe” group that’s responsible for the behavior, that doesn’t mean we should take our attention away from it. I’m still sympathetic towards GothicGyrl’s position, because it’s one I’ve been in myself, but I definitely understand your point too.

      • Alix

        I don’t think it would’ve rubbed me the wrong way if er comment had been in response to an overgeneralization – if, say, the OP or another commenter had already tried tarring all homeschoolers with the same brush.

        I’m not a fan of knee-jerk preemptive strikes. I feel they tend to either distract from the issue at hand, or cause an issue that wasn’t there.

        I do sympathize with feeling defensive – it happens for me a lot when I’m reading stuff that assumes all religious folk are Christian, for example. And I try to practice what I preach and quash that defensiveness unless something is said that actually deserves that kind of response, though I don’t claim to be perfect at it. (Ha, as if. XD)

        Thank you, by the way, for responding nicely, both times.

  • PL

    What is HSLDA stand for?

    • Kellen Connor

      Home School Legal Defense Association.

  • Rework Oh Ryan

    I am non-theist, yet I do believe the constant imagery of sex and promiscuity ruins a person’s appreciation for deeper qualities like intelligence and personality. We start looking at people first by their appearance, and secondly by the more important traits: intelligence and personality. I think this causes a lot of failed partnerships, because once people age, and lose that “beauty”, they discover that was the only trait their partner was in “love” with. Instead, we should be looking for the most compatible partners based on traits that don’t wither away, rather than how they look in a bikini. Don’t get me wrong, I love attractive women in bikinis, but have made sure that’s the last thing I look for in a partner. No reason to look down on someone for showing off their assets, but perhaps we could focus a little more on intelligence, than characteristics that disappear with time.

    • Alix

      …That’s kind of missing the point, though, isn’t it? You’re not the only person here with misgivings about beauty pageants, or even the oversexualization of society. But these people have turned on her for the simple act of wearing a bikini in a public place. That’s … a major, major problem.

      Someone simply having a nice body is not, by simply existing, reinforcing “the constant imagery of sex and promiscuity,” even if she’s wandering around completely naked. Oversexualization is a problem because it renders people like this young woman into sex objects to be ogled, but being attractive is not the cause of oversexualization and dehumanization.

      It is, heh, in the eye of the beholder. More importantly, it’s in their attitudes and baggage that they’re bringing to their viewing of her body.

  • Nicole Maendel

    The comments of these ‘parents’ shaming this young woman say it all. It’s so very sad to get a sneak-peek of what these self-proclaimed ‘home educators’ are obviously teaching in the home and pumping into captive young minds. Poor kids…

  • Composer 99

    I’m not at all surprised that Teresa has received more flak from her right flank than from her left, so to speak.

    Most Americans are Christian, to begin with.

    Further, moderate/liberal Christians and non-Christians aren’t likely to go out of their way to criticize a Miss America pageant winner on account of her being Christian – most of the time, anyway (I assume there are some, if only on account of how many people in the US or around the world might have an opinion of the pageant).

    And of course, moderate/liberal Christians and non-Christians are far less likely to criticize Teresa for taking part in the pageant, even those who have misgivings about the Miss [whatever] pageant system as a social phenomenon.

    Finally, moderate/liberal Christians and non-Christians are on the whole very unlikely to go around saying there’s a problem per se with Teresa for celebrating her body, since that would be body-shaming.

    (Again, it’s worth noting that in a country of 300+ million people and a world of 7+ billion, there will be exceptions to the above.)

    • Kenneth James Abbott

      –Further, moderate/liberal Christians and non-Christians aren’t likely to go out of their way to criticize a Miss America pageant winner on account of her being Christian–
      Carrie Prejean didn’t actually win, if I remember right (I don’t really keep track of it, because while I don’t find it offensive it just doesn’t interest me), but she certainly caught some flack for her beliefs.

  • ecolt

    Another good sign – that she wants to educate people on the risks and symptoms of eating disorders. I’ve heard it paraded around far too many times that eating disorders are only because of the sexualized nature of our culture, and I’m sure that many of these oh-so-perfect homeschooling, modesty culture super Christians think their daughters (and sons) are immune. In fact, modesty culture puts such emphasis on the bodies of women that I wouldn’t be at all surprised if there is a high occurrence of eating disorders among some of these conservative groups. As someone who has struggled with eating disorders and body image my whole life, I really hope that some of HSLDA’s members hear that message.


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