I’m not sure how this post is going to go. I’m sitting down to my laptop with a little time and not a whole lot of comprehensible thoughts. I’m sure by now you’ve read the letter written by Mrs. Hall about her teenage boys. If you haven’t, go ahead and search for it, because I don’t feel like linking it. When I read it, I tried to keep an open mind. As a mother of (non-teenage) boys myself, I thought maybe this was a glimpse into my future. While reading the letter, I started to feel very, very uncomfortable, and now 2 days later I still have that discomfort in my gut. Something didn’t sit right with me, and I am not the only one who felt that way.
Mrs. Hall’s letter to teenage girls, basically outlined how she doesn’t approve of the “sexy” pictures that she saw on her sons’ Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook feeds while they were all, as a family, checking out their social media accounts one night. That, because of these pictures, she had to block the girls from her sons’ feeds. That, because her boys have seen these pictures, they can’t unsee them, and now will only think of these girls in a sexual way. That there are no second chances when it comes to pictures like these. Right, that’s great, that’s her opinion and she’s entitled to it.
Once upon a time, I was that girl. Believe it or not! As a teenager, I was a camgirl. I got really into the scene and was really motivated by, let’s face it, money, gifts, and praises. I liked being told that I looked good. Who doesn’t? The problem was, I was young and dumb, and didn’t think about the repercussions it could cause on my future, and didn’t realize that even back in the early 2000s, everything that goes on the internet is permanent in some way or another. Those pictures are still out there. I know how to search for them and I know how to find them. Thankfully, not many people know how to find them and my lips are sealed on how to get to them. Also, I’m not planning on running for president anytime soon so I’m not too worried about them resurfacing and ruining my political career.
The thing I want you to know, about those pictures, is that they by no means meant anything other than that I was young, had a nice body, felt good, and wanted to show it off. I wasn’t a slut. I didn’t have promiscuous sex. I didn’t walk around with my tits hanging out and the pockets of my cut off shorts hanging out at the bottom. I held a steady job and worked hard from the age of 15, eventually went to college, had a couple of long term boyfriends, lots of great friends, and lots of opportunity at my hands. I also threw kick ass parties and I had a hot 18 year old body, that I liked to show off. Now I’m a 30 year old woman with two sons of her own and an awesome, intelligent and successful husband, trying to navigate life, and somehow not ruined by those pictures that I posted as a teen.
Now I’d like to talk about the slut shaming. I have just explained all of my “slutty” actions, and defended myself. You may still think I was a slut, but I certainly do not and did not feel that way about myself. I never cheated on my boyfriends. I always practiced safe sex. One night, at the age of 19, I was invited over to a guy’s house whom I knew from work. He was 29, and kinda cute, and pretty nice. It was a Friday night, and we decided we’d just hang out and watch a couple of movies, movies that I brought with me. American Pie. Halfway through the movie, he started kissing me. I tried to push him away, he insisted that it was what I wanted. He called me a dick tease. Told me I shouldn’t have come over if I didn’t want it. One thing rolled into the next and despite the fact that I said no, no, no, and No is supposed to mean No, he had his way, then had the balls to ask me if I was on birth control. I wasn’t. I had to go to Planned Parenthood the next day and take the morning after pill because some jerk decided that because I was at his house and had showed the slightest interest in him, he got to have sex with me. Here’s the thing: I was wearing jeans and a freaking t-shirt. I wasn’t wearing sexy clothes, but even if I had been, NO MEANS NO, and it wasn’t my fault. He also had never known my online persona so please, don’t blame it on the pictures.
Maybe now you understand why I am so frustrated and so tired of this “Women must dress modestly so that men can control their sexual urges around them” crap. That is slut shaming. Blaming a man’s inability to control himself on how a woman is dressed, is absolutely ridiculous.
Mrs. Hall, I hope that you tell your boys that they should respect a woman no matter what she is wearing. That “No” always means “No” even if she’s not wearing a bra. That thinking about females sexually is OK, but acting upon it without consent is not. I also hope that you realize, that the girls that your boys see don’t have to be in a “state of undress” for them to be thinking about them sexually. It is in their nature; we can be wearing a t-shirt and jeans and men will still think about us sexually. You should know that! I am sure your husband has grazed your ass in an attempt to get laid while you were wearing the most dumpy house clothes you could find. Right?
And to the teenage girls posting these pictures, this is all I have to say to you. Do you want to run for political office someday? If so, I’d stop posting those types of pictures right away. If not, and you truly are not worried about the repercussions of posting them (like, they never go away, ok?) then by all means, go for it. Modesty is great, if that’s what you want, but dressing modestly and dressing in a sexy way, usually have nothing to do with the person underneath the clothes. At least, that’s my biased, humble opinion. Rock it.