Double Standards and Responsibility: An FYI Roundup

Both yesterday and today, I have come upon an ever-growing stream of responses to the viral blog post, FYI (if you’re a teenage girl). Some of them were so good I just couldn’t leave them be without sharing them. So here, in this post, I’m going to offer a roundup of responses of sorts. Feel free to post additional responses you’ve come across in the comments, and I may add them here.

First, of course, is my own post, FYI (A letter to my daughter Sally):

Dear Sally,

I saw something today that made me think of you. It was a blog post addressed to teenage girls. Oh I know, you’re only four, but in ten years you’ll be fourteen. It was that fourteen-year-old you I couldn’t help but think of when I read this post, and inside, my heart broke for you.

Next is Dianna Anderson, articulate as ever, writing about What Boys Become: Modesty Culture and Learned Irresponsibility:

This is the primary sin of modesty culture – it teaches irresponsibility and blaming others, but masks it as sexual purity. It teaches men to dispose of women who don’t fit their mold, under the guise of “keeping themselves pure.” It teaches men that women exist on a spectrum of worth determined by their clothing and that it is their right as men to determine which women are worth more – and yet, modesty culture masks it as “keeping away from sexual sin.” It teaches men irresponsibility and plays it off as “integrity.”

Modesty doctrine, at its rancid core, teaches men that sitting around judging women, treating them as objects because they’re immodest, is appropriate.

And I really have to follow this with the most laughter-inducing post I have seen on the topic so far, which simply turns the words of the first post around, with some added snark—FYI (if you’re a teenage boy):

Dear boys,

I have some information that might interest you. Last night, as we sometimes do, our family sat around the dining-room table and looked through your social media photos. Because we’re creepy like that.

We have a teenage daughter, and so naturally there are quite a few pictures of you handsome boys to wade through. Wow – you sure took a bunch of selfies in your pajamas this summer!  Your bedrooms are so dirty! Don’t you know how to clean your rooms? Our nine-year-old son brought this to our attention, because with one older sister who has a room that smells like an old dead hamster, he notices boyish details like that.

I think the girls notice other things. For one, it appears that you are not wearing a shirt.

I get it – you’re in your room, so you’re heading to bed, right? But then I can’t help but notice the big muscles pose, the extra-arched back to show off your rock-hard abs, and the smirky grin.  What’s up? None of these positions is one I naturally assume before sleep, this I know. Because I’m a woman. And rock hard abs left me four children ago.  And I like to judge others based on my own standard behavior.

So, here’s the bit that I think is important for you to realize.  If you are friends with a daughter of mine on Facebook or Instagram or Twitter, then you are friends with the whole fam-dam-ly.

Please understand this, also: we genuinely like keeping up with you. We enjoy seeing life through your unique and colorful lens – which is what makes your latest self-portrait so extremely unfortunate. You just aren’t good enough. We’re the Joneses. Now keep up with us.

Those posts don’t reflect who you are! We think you are handsome and probably interesting, and, if I’m being generous, very smart. But, we had to cringe and wonder what you were trying to do? Who are you trying to reach? What are you trying to say? Because we literally have nothing better to do than judge and examine the lives of teenage boys.

And now – big bummer – we have to block your posts. Because, the reason we have these (sometimes awkward) family conversations around the table is that we care about our daughter, just as we know your parents care about you. But not as much as we care about our kids because we’re totes better parents than your parents.

I know your family would not be thrilled at the thought of my teenage daughter seeing you only in your towel. Did you know that once a female sees you in a state of undress, she can’t ever un-see it?  You don’t want my daughter to only think of you in this sexual way, do you? Because if she does, it will be YOUR fault. Our daughter does not have free agency. She is incapable of controlling her thoughts and actions so you must do it for her. Seriously, she can’t.  It’s some sort of chromosome condition that only occurs with the XX.

Seriously, read the whole thing.

Similarly sarcastic is FYI (if you’re a mom of teenage boys):

Dear moms,

I have some information that might interest you. Last night, as I sometimes do, I sat on my couch and looked at social media on my phone.

I’ve been on vacation, so naturally there are quite a few blog posts and news articles to wade through. Wow – the Internet sure has been busy with the slut-shaming this summer!  Some of my friends brought this to my attention, because as Christians and/or feminists, we notice shit like that.

I noticed other things, too. For one, it appears that I’ve been on the wrong path when it comes to raising my own son.

. . .  I can’t help thinking that maybe I’ve failed by trying to raise a son who respects women regardless of how they’re dressed.  Clearly, I should have been protecting his eyes.  I should remedy that.

And then there is FYI: A Letter To Teenage Girls Who Don’t Always Wear a Bra, which I may take issue with on a few points but is also worth reading.

Girls, adults are afraid of your sexuality. The moms who are teaching their boys that you’re nothing but a seductress if you dare go braless or post a selfie where your [gasp] shoulders are exposed are terrified. I’m not sure what makes them afraid. It’s possible that they think their sons will burn in eternal hell, that they’re worried you’ll knock on their door pregnant one day soon or something that’s less easy to identify. Just know that adult women who are concerned about teenage girls not wearing bras are fearful women. Know that women (and men) who are operating out of fear have no advice to give that’s of any value.

I also especially liked A Response to Mrs. Hall: Teaching Our Boys Respect and Self Control:

I suspect that Hall’s post has gone viral because so many people are concerned with teenage girls’ self-presentation on facebook. We’ve all seen it: teenage girls trying to mimic the scantily-clad celebrities and models plastered on billboards and magazine covers. And naturally, people want to do something about it. After all, the implications of our media culture’s sexualization of girls is serious: As the American Psychological Association has noted, when girls learn that our culture values their appearances above all else about them, they may in turn learn to sexualize themselves–and the impact of self-sexualization on girls’ self-esteem and self-image is devastating. The damage of thinking of oneself first and foremost as an object can take a lifetime to undo.

Furthermore, once a photograph is online, it’s essentially impossible to remove it from the internet. So when girls place sexually provocative “selfies” of themselves to facebook, it’s a huge issue. For example, the photos can be used by bullies to shame the girls–and they can resurface years later, too, causing myriad problems in their lives.

But these are not problems that would affect Mrs. Hall’s sons. They would affect the girls themselves. Furthermore, the sexual double-standard in our society is so pervasive that any “sexy” photos the boys may post of themselves are unlikely to cause them similar harm.

Next is FYI Mom Bloggers (if you’re shaming teenage girls):

And the icing on the hypocrisy cake? These are the actual photos of her sons that she posts in her blog post that is all about how teenage girls need to cover their bodies so her sons don’t feel lust and so that her sons can still respect these girls. This is real. I am not making this shit upboys will be boysmore hypocricy

So while it’s very, very, veeerrrryyyyyy important for teen girls to not just stay covered up, but also wear a bra under their clothes so that her sons cannot even see the defined outline of their breasts, she will post pictures of her sons in their bathing suits, posing and flexing their muscles. Because, after all, she is perpetuating rape culture, and furthering the myth that the female body is only a sexual thing and that the male body is exempt from this burden, this desirability.

Mrs. Hall, some girls and boys in your sons peer groups are looking at those pictures and feeling arousal. And I think it might be time to consider why it is that you find it so much more important for girls to cover themselves up to not tempt your boys and why you do not, in equal measure, cover up your boys to not tempt other girls and boys. It’s a double standard.

Next is this truly beautiful post, FYI (if you’re a teenage human being):

Girls, you beautiful, wild, wonderful creatures; there are oceans inside you, waves crashing against the shore of every new curve. Some of you sirens, some of you as steady and certain as an ancient shoreline, some of you still curled up in shells under the seabed, not quite ready to wander out into the wide world; but all of you, each of you, so exquisitely, perfectly, fearfully made.

See that.

Accept it.

Own your body, your body, this body that so beautifully holds your soul and your spirit. Explore it with reverence, let it be explored reverentially; it was made to give and receive pleasure, to give and receive pain, to give and receive lifelive in it, fully, forcefully, have fun and get hurt and be healed and be made whole again.

Wear tight jeans and long skirts and short shorts and bikini tops and turtlenecks and find what makes you comfortable, find the things that make you feel good; your lives are not a fashion show, an exotic dance, a striptease, and the essence of you doesn’t dance around a pole for the enjoyment of others.

. . .

Boys, you beautiful, bold, unwieldy boys; there are seas inside of you. Some days are nothing but sunshine, and you lie warm and full and content, sparkling under stars you can’t see in the daytime. Some days are full of storms, and you rage and toss, thunder under your skin. There are those of you who rarely see the sun, and those of you who have rarely touched the rain, but all of you, each of you, are so exquisitely, perfectly, fearfully made.

See that.

Accept that.

Own your bodies; the way you grow like oaks, your limbs strong and long and reaching into the earth and into the sky. Send your roots down deep and taste the sweet soil beneath you; stretch into the sound of the wind, and feel the kiss of the clouds as they pass through you. Let yourself be climbed. Let someone build a haphazard house in the strongest parts of you. Let yourself be inhabited.

Read a book; read lots of books. Go fishing or go dancing. Wear khakis or Levis or sweatpants or fancy trousers that cost you your first paycheck. Do the things that make the best parts of you sing, and don’t be embarrassed by how your voice sounds.

And then there’s I Was a 15 Year Old Slut:

Before you judge the girls in outfits you feel are outrageous, pictures you think are too revealing and behavior that you deem risque . . . remember that they won’t stay girls forever. That they’ll grow into women who will become your daughters-in-law. The mothers of your grandchildren. The wives of your sons. They’ll be doctors, teachers, homemakers, and they have the chance to make the world a better place.

And to you girls out there who feel you are being attacked by the mothers of the world . . . you’ll be okay. Just remember that your body belongs to you and shouldn’t be controlled by a boy . . . or his mother. Love yourself. Respect yourself and others. And don’t ever let anyone tell you you’re not good enough.


A Former Slut Who Refuses to Let You Children Be Shamed 

Finally, this one was written last month, but seems applicable and is also worth reading—Seeing a Woman: A Conversation between Father and Son:

Hey, come here.  Let me talk to you.  I saw you look at her.  I’m not judging you or shaming you.  I know why you did.  I get it.  But we have to talk about it because how you look at a woman matters.

A lot of people will try and tell you that a woman should watch how she dresses so she doesn’t tempt you to look at her wrongly.  Here is what I will tell you.  It is a woman’s responsibility to dress herself in the morning.  It is your responsibility to look at her like a human being regardless of what she is wearing.  You will feel the temptation to blame her for your wandering eyes because of what she is wearing – or not wearing.  But don’t.  Don’t play the victim.  You are not a helpless victim when it comes to your eyes.  You have full control over them.  Exercise that control.  Train them to look her in the eyes.  Discipline yourself to see her, not her clothes or her body.  The moment you play the victim you fall into the lie that you are simply embodied reaction to external stimuli unable to determine right from wrong, human from flesh.

Look right at me.  That is a ridiculous lie.

So how about it? What other responses have you seen?

Anonymous Tip: Meet the Lawyer
What the Ruff, the Spotted Hyena, and the Cuttlefish Taught Me about Gender and Sexuality
The unBiblical Tea Party Christian
Evangelical Christianity’s Patriarchal Alternative to Fifty Shades of Grey
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.

  • Kathleen Margaret Schwab

    This was my response, posted o my FB : “When I was in college I was in a church that taught ths whole modesty thing (for women). So i asked my hsband his opinion on the Christian modesty doctrine. His repy was quite telling. He said that when he was with our church friends, he was very aware, and bothered by, any small infraction by any of the women of the quite strict modesty rules. And then he would walk around his college campus, where women wore whatever they wanted, and the uncovered female bodies didn’t affect him. He just didn’t find himself responding. This doesn’t surprise me. I’ve personally come to the conclusion that the hyper awareness of some groups within the church to female modesty has exaserbated, andin some cases outright caused, the problem of male runaway lust they think they are curing.

    Dear mom of three sons: You are causing more problems for your kids than the girls whose FB pages you blocked. I expect you don’t beleive me, but it is true. And it is just plain painful for teenage girls, who get the only message they can get from this: there is something deeply wrong with them, that by their very natures they cause others to do and feel wrong things. This is an absolutely awful way for a young person to feel.”

    • JarredH

      Totally agree with everything you said.

      I mean, seriously, so you see someone who gets you a little excited, what’s the big deal? If you just go about your business, it’ll pass.

  • Guest

    A reply to Kimberly Hall by Amy Mitchell (of Unchained Faith), entitled FYI (If You’re A Mom Of Teenage Boys), doesn’t quite reach the unparalleled high snark of Risa’s FYI (If You’re A Teenage Boy), but it comes pretty darn close!

  • lana hobbs
  • AAAtheist

    Check out Amy Mitchell’s FYI (If You’re A Mom Of Teenage Boys). It doesn’t quite reach the unparalleled high snark of Risa’s post, but it comes pretty close!

  • Mary

    My husband’s response:

    To clarify for those that see a difference in a sexy selfie and the pics she posted of her sons. The pics of her sons have them accentuating the physical traits that society has sexualized for men: shirtless trim bodies, muscle definition, and flexing. That is no different than a girl posting a picture of herself in a t-shirt/tanktop with no bra or a swimsuit top, arched back, while making a “sexy face.” Both scenarios have aspects of sexualization, and the author only finds it inappropriate based on gender. It is highly and destructively sexist.

    The author’s focus should be on teaching young men how to control their own sexual emotions and how to respect women. One day those young men will need to interact with women in a nonsexual way. Replacing one emotion (lust) with another (fear of infidelity/impurity) will not teach them to be fully functional and well balanced adults. They need to be taught that sexuality is normal and important and how to use the mind (logic and reason) to control emotion.

    My response:

    I would love to remind the world at large that

    1. Women are visual, masturbate, and do not differ from men in our sexual responses as much as they say. For real.

    2. If you see someone’s selfie and feel compelled to imagine them naked in their bedroom, that’s your fault, not theirs. And it’s creepy.

    3. While I would agree that a grown man’s “dwelling on a photo of” a scantily (define, please?) clad teenager is icky, one of her male friends her own age seeing a selfie that she put on facebook is another thing entirely.

    Dude. I’m a christian. I believe in modesty 100 percent. Modesty as in not flaunting your wealth and making people feel bad because they can’t dress as nicely as you can. WHat’s with the body-covering? How the heck does that even relate to christian modesty? When I think of modesty, I think of the verse that says something to the effect of “don’t fawn over a rich dude when he comes to your church, and don’t neglect a poor person. Your stupid classism is not exactly making God proud, folks.” (I know that’s not exactly what Paul said- it’s a rather liberal paraphrase.)

  • Mel

    I like the last post Libby Anne connected to (A talk between a Father and Son). If that family is genuinely concerned about their sons attitude towards sexuality, that talk is much more real and loving than trolling through FB as a family picking at photos of teenage girls.

  • Susie M

    I wrote this in response
    because I grew up in a world where, even the girls who wore clothes and didn’t try to be provocative STILL got bitched at by mothers. I like the last article best. Why? Because he writes from the idea that he wants his sons to respect women, that he knows what’s coursing through a young, teenage boy’s body but that’s still no excuse. It’s decency. It’s self respect. It’s modesty. My own post is the same thing, just written from a female perspective. Because, ouch, the original post needed trigger warnings of; ”if your boyfriend’s mom treated you like a slut” and other such nonsense.

    • TLC

      Just read your post. This was magnificent!

      • Susie M

        thank you!!!

  • J-Rex

    The way this woman talks, it reminds me of my ex-boyfriend’s family. They were all very talkative and would sit around the dinner table talking about their days at school. The kids seemed to really like drama and would talk about what Drew said to Mary Kate and how Mary Kate reacted or how Kristin tried out for this one part in a play but Liz got the part instead and now they’re not talking. I knew none of these people and was bored out of my mind at every visit, but the weird thing was that the parents completely loved talking about it too and I would hear them repeating it to a sibling who hadn’t heard yet. Are some parents’ lives so dull that they need to know all the details about their children’s friends and make their own judgments and snide remarks about them? Wtf? Get a life!

  • J.A.

    I may have missed this one in the comments but the post here:

    … is very good. Also very snarky. :) De-lurking to share but have been a long-term fan of your blog!

  • Cassie

    As much as I loathed the original post that spawned all these rebuttals, I am happy to see people talking about these double standards that are harmful and insidious. I had to sit down yesterday and write my own FYI after I read Mrs. Hall’s.

    • AAAtheist

      Damn fine poetry, if you don’t mind me saying so.

      • Cassie

        I don’t mind at all. :)

    • JarredH

      That post was a thing of beauty.

      • Cassie

        Thank you!

  • Richter_DL

    It’s really not easy to out-hypocrite the Taliban, but American conservatives manage again and again. At least in Taliban land, the boys would be forced to cover up, too (moderately, though, but still).

    Conservative Americans are so ridiculously obsessed with controlling their children. Must be the slavery culture background.

  • CarysBirch

    Gah! I think part two is even worse, honestly. She switches out the photos but leaves the text exactly the same. Not only is it crystal clear that she has no freaking idea why anyone saw a double standard in her post, it’s equally clear that she seems totally okay with the messages she’s sending girls. Yuck yuck yuck! And people are praising her for her willingness to learn. Yuck.

    Dear Mrs. Hall, I’m so glad you didn’t know me as a teen, I have enough baggage of my own! I don’t need to carry yours or your sons’!

    • NeaDods

      Yeah, she accepts that she made a mistake and corrects it. But a teenaged girl? No second chances for that little ho tempting her boys! The blindness and hypocrisy are staggering despite the reproofs she’s gotten in comments.

      • luckyducky

        No, not really. Instead of swapping out photos and noting the edit (what I would have done if I had take the criticism to heart and seen the error of my ways), she made a separate post, labeled it “covered up,” swapped out the photos,* but left the original up and made no text edits or notes other than the title to acknowledge the difference.

        It read to me as different editions for different audiences kind of thing, with the intent/assumption both go somewhat viral within their respective circles with little cross fertilization. Post one was girls-only modesty police and post 2 is for the gender-neutral modesty police.

        *Unless they are REALLY far north, like inside the Arctic Circle north, the photos were not from this summer — I don’t know if that matters but it was a little odd that she didn’t choose “covered up” photos from the summer in a post referencing end-of-summer.

      • NeaDods

        From what I’m seeing on some of the response pages, she has finally taken down the first one — and that she has no knowledge of either Google Archive or the Wayback machine, because it’s still there and absolutely out of her control. As is whatever might happen for her having been foolish enough to use her son’s real names in the second post. I don’t want anything to happen to those boys, but this woman really knows nothing about the Internet!

        And she still doesn’t grasp how she’s coming off, because even in a post where she says she’s correcting a mistake she’s telling the girls her sons know that they’re ho-bags who get no second chances. Truly, truly blind to say she’s learned and corrected her mistakes but not to give the same graciousness to someone who is not theoretically old enough to know better!

        Actually, the thing that’s striking me the most a day later is that because she knows the kids were fooling around in the first shot, that’s what she sees – kids fooling around. But she doesn’t have the charity to look at other people’s children in the same manner. In about 7 years, if the kids recreate that beach picture, she’s still going to see her kids fooling around, but someone with a mind *just like hers* is going to look at the now-grown daughter and see not someone aping the poses of her brothers, but someone bending forward to show off her cleavage, and with her legs actually wrapped around a boy!

        Because when someone’s looking for a reason to judge a girl, they’ll find something!

    • skyblue

      Yeah, that was really, really disappointing. I read a bunch of the comments left on the original post (I’m sure there are hundreds more by now), and I thought many people gave her excellent explanations of why the post was harmful to girls. I was hoping that she’d join in a serious discussion there, but, so far… nope.
      The second post just shows – she missed the point entirely (as did the people posting the praise for her “open mind”), and doesn’t really seem interested in learning why people object to her “FYI”, even if it had no photos at all.

  • Tami Mirabzadeh

    I thought I would leave my FB message as well: I also worry about this type of shaming with my daughter. She is so comfortable, free, and just naturally herself that I worry that one day someone may identify her as sexually over expressive instead of… I don’t know the word I’m looking for at the moment… her own HERness – the confident girl she is right now. She loves dance and bathing suits and posing for photos, it doesn’t mean the poses she strikes are meant to be anything other than a celebration of being alive. I also hope she one day becomes comfortable with her sexuality – when she’s older, but I don’t think that means she needs to hide it when she comes to the experimental teenage years. And i certainly don’t think All of the “sexy” photos girls take were even meant to be sexual (even though some might be and that’s Just Fine because teens are at the age where sexuality is something to be worked through and learned), but were photos of girls proud of their looks and having fun. If boys can celebrate their biceps, six packs, and strong legs, why cant girls be proud of their breasts or their hips or long legs? This kind of shaming of girls in our society is only going to lead to more confusion, not to mention reinforce the second-class identity many women from our generation and earlier have internalized and struggle with all our lives.

  • Kellen Connor

    I look forward, 10 years or so into the future, and I entertain the possibility of adopting. I’ve always sort of assumed I would adopt a girl. But I’m not so sure anymore; some of these comments make me wonder if I’ve got something to teach a boy, too.

  • Jackie

    When i saw the FYI going on Facebook, I was surprised and disappointed at who among my Facebook acquaintances was spreading it. Though one thing they all had in common was no teenage girl in their home. Of course I couldn’t stop myself from replying…

  • TLC

    Here are a couple of great replies I found while trolling on this today:

    Views from the Couch:

    I Know How Babby is Formed:

    I went back to the post that started it all and read all the comments. Ugh. Thanks for posting this to help me recover!

    • Stev84

      Yeah, the sheer amount of people defending that nonsense there was just horrifying.

      And it’s really not just the hypocrisy of posting the boy pictures. The whole mindset behind the post is fundamentally messed up.

  • Guest

    If I were that teenage girl, I’d thank that family for blocking me on social media: I’d feel a lot safer knowing that this family would never again have any awkward, CREEPY conversations about my boobs at their dinner table! Ew! Why were they looking so closely at a photo of her in her pajamas?

    And really, I think anyone with a teenager should block that family across all social media going forward. Do you really want this crew staring at pictures of your teenage daughter trying to figure out if she’s wearing a bra?

    • Tikatu

      I had a similar reaction: not only are the sons and the mom and the little sister looking at these girls’ photos, so is the dad–and THAT is really creepy.

    • luckyducky

      In general, I agree with you in terms of the dynamics of this particular family’s monitoring of online presences… and I don’t have teens of my own yet but I think I will maintain a “I have access to all of your electronic accounts” policy in part out of safety but in part to help them learn (keep in mind) that there is really no private about anything electronic communication, particularly social media and it should be treated accordingly.

      That doesn’t mean there will be a weekly check-in session with the whole fam-damn-ily sitting around the table but that I would be able to surreptitiously check-in as I saw fit and make sure nothing Steubenville-ish is going on. Responsible behavior means less oversight, minor infractions mean more, egregious abuse means no access for them at all and, obviously, less supervision as they get older.

      I see it as analogous as being allowed to have friends over even if mom & dad are out if you’ve demonstrated you and your friends make good decisions, to being able to have friends over with mom & dad home but can go to the basement and close the door closed while demonstrating the above, to you can have friends over but door open and mom or dad will pop in from time to time when you’ve made some really boneheaded decisions.

  • Tikatu
  • Gnome

    Mrs. Hall comes from the same denomination (PCA) as misguided Mr. Todd Akin.

  • Katherine
  • Megan Maas

    Thanks for rounding these up! I am a sex researcher and sex educator who specializes in adolescent online activity such as social media use and pornography use, so I just had to write a response myself.

  • Brad C.

    Edit: Oops, this was linked in the original article above! I’ll leave it here as a +1!

    This came out before the FYI article, but it is directly on point (an imaginary conversation between a father and his teenage son):

    “A lot of people will try and tell you that a woman should watch how she dresses so she doesn’t tempt you to look at her wrongly. Here is what I will tell you. It is a woman’s responsibility to dress herself in the morning. It is your responsibility to look at her like a human being regardless of what she is wearing.”

    and later

    “I’m not telling you to not look at women. Just the opposite. I’m telling you to see women. Really see them. Not just with your eyes, but with your heart. Don’t look to see something that tickles your senses, but see a human being.”

  • NickyFisher

    I have always had a problem with putting the responsibility of modesty solely on girls. I believe that the woman who originally wrote the post was an LDS woman. I am also LDS, but I believe in accountability for myself, not “righteous judgment” and blaming girls for behaviors that boys supposedly cannot control. It is a double standard that creates an atmosphere of judgment and self-righteousness. We are so often taught to look for inner beauty–but apparently that’s only if you make the right (modest) first impression. I wish people would focus on themselves and ways they can improve, and attempt to be decent human beings rather than use religion has justification for criticizing others. I will now step down from my soap box.

  • JethroElfman

    Found my daughter this morning in her skimpiest short shorts and tank top , smearing her body with vaseline (ran out of Body Glide). Then she’s heading out to run through town like that. She has a half marathon in 2 weeks. It’s what she does for her sport. I encourage her to go out for sports. If the way she dresses bothers Mrs. Hall, then, the Hall sons will just have to stay in their secure enclave where they are shielded from such sights.

  • Marie

    Hey there, this may not be the best place to ask (Would it be better to comment and ask on the respective posts themselves?) and I suppose one should know that responses to a triggering post may be triggering, but it surprised me so I thought I’d throw it out there: would you mind putting a trigger warning on the second-to-last and third-to-last links or the entire post?

    (I’m new to this whole world, both of feminism and of standing up for your needs, so if I’m “doing it wrong” and being too sensitive or not asking in the right way or anything please let me know. I don’t know where the line is between wanting to be kind and put trigger warnings on stuff versus recognizing that pretty much everything could trigger someone and it’s ridiculous to put warnings on everything.)

  • John

    I am a dedicated single dad of two daughters, the mom went to live with her girlfriend after 15 years or “marriage”, I say this to note the depth of my experience in these matters.

    I am constantly put off by posts that say what boys should do and girls should expect (or vice versa, but there seems less of those in my circles). Hetero-normative is very broken, as is the ongoing repression of sexuality, and I dearly hope my girls (and the sons of the world) focus more on how they treat others in general.

    I used to judge a lot, like if someone was a single parent, or even just out of wedlock, or had an affair (still not cool), or if a dad wasn’t a “good provider and protector” or both parents worked, etc. etc.

    What my Ex went through could best be described as an epic identity crisis. And being pulled into such a situation you tend to question everything. I realized I had enabled the situation by my own internalization of what it meant to be a “man”. And I saw how much divorce court (AKA “the system”) had adopted the same mentality, men were supposed to be stoic providers and women the subserviant care givers.

    Part of my experience also is rooted in a troubled childhood, my crazy mom left me and my sisters when I was 3. I was physically abused by caregivers and my “macho” dad thought military school was the best solution for my errant behaviors in 8th grade, with high school seniors who were there by court order. This is very much like prison, no place to run and plenty of violence, and another case of feeling very much abandoned.

    So, while seeing the rhetoric about “rape culture” (I find the term sexist), I made the connection between what these women reported feeling (you don’t hear much from the men who are raped, even though it is in similar numbers to women) and to my own experience with violence, as well as repressed sexuality in general. But I think assault in general is very much the same as rape emotionally, but the societal stigma about sex only adds insult to the injury.

    I appreciate it isn’t PC to sympathize with straight men as much as women, especially when women are taught to feel victimized, but we all suffer from these archaic mentalities, especially as we try to dehumanize entire groups of people in a power struggle.

    Anyway, I’m rambling and will continue to do so.

    So while my ex was secretly developing an attraction to her GF, they started punching each other, huge bruises on their arms. My sister explained her understanding of it, sorry that it is based on a movie that I’ve never seen. But she said there is a scene in brokeback mountain where the dudes start beating the crap out of each other because they didn’t know what else to do with their feelings. Men are largely the “victims” of assault, and the prisons are full of men, and so now I wonder if a large percentage of my own assailants were somehow repressed themselves.

    Anyway, the main point is that any dialog that alienates the other gender is probably going to be counter-productive.

  • Brittany Stoker
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