“Boys will be boys”

In response to the icky Mrs Hall post about the dirty dirty girls poisoning their precious sons’ minds with ‘provocative’ photos on social media:

This post at Put Down the Urinal Cake is a lovely, thoughtful, heartfelt reply to Mrs. Hall.

Iron Daisy’s post is a hilarious opposite-land ‘letter’ exposing Mrs Hall for exactly the person she’s showing herself to be.

Another thing that really bothered me about the original post: a lot of commenters pointed out that Mrs Hall had included half-naked photos of her sons. And Mrs Hall responded, “Oh, that’s different.” And then re-posted the post with different clothes. She had NO IDEA how hypocritical she was being not only by using those beach photos, but by insisting that photos of teenage boys half-naked and showing off are not ‘sexy’ or ‘provocative.’

And Parentwin’s post is exactly what I wanted to write. Mrs. Hall’s statements sound exactly like someone who would say that a girl was “asking for it” (whatever “it” may be) because of her clothing. Because teenage boys have no self-control and no responsibility over their sexuality, and they’re just victims of those overly sexualized girls.  Because “boys will be boys”, har har har, those crazy boys! Good thing we don’t need to teach them how to be respectful citizens of the world!

A roundup of a few more blogger responses here.

A friend who didn’t want to post publicly wrote to me about this issue and included this: “The young woman posting a “provocative” photo of herself is celebrating the beauty that she finds in herself. She is delighted with herself and unafraid to show her delight to others. Looking at her beautiful form is equally innocuous and could be delightful for those looking. We as adults add all the weight of lust and impropriety to even the most innocent.”

To that, I would add that the young woman is trying to find herself, trying to find her beauty, her place in the world, her place in her own little world, trying on a persona that seems to get many girls attention. And I think that we should give positive attention to girls who are trying to find out who they are, or playing with all the possibilities, or exploring their social world, and make sure they know that adults in their lives are there for support and guidance. I think girls need a lot more discussion about inner beauty, the inner self, being true to that, intelligence both academic and social, the difficulties they will face as females in the future. Women like Mrs Hall are judging them, boys like Mrs Hall’s sons are judging them, men like Mrs Hall’s husband are judging them. We need to help those girls find strength in themselves, and faith in their true beauty that comes from being a well-rounded human being.

A few more of my thoughts:

I will be raising two teenage boys. I have no idea how to do that. I do, however, know that I want them to know that they are in charge of their minds and their bodies. I also really want them to know that girls are in charge of their own minds and bodies too. And that they, as boys, MUST respect that, and they have the ability to choose how to respond to and interact with girls their age, and that I will hold high standards for them about that.

I will not throw God or Jesus at them, because we’re not that kind of people, and because good values don’t have to come from a Bible. And I won’t blag on about ‘modesty’, because it seems to be mostly the girls who need to be modest, in fear of sullying themselves in the eyes of not just God, but also boys who will surely go all HULKSMASHSEX if they see so much as a bare shoulder. I do want to teach them about morals: doing the right thing; being a good person; taking a moment to ponder the ramifications of their actions.

I hope that my boys grow up seeing their father respecting not just their mother, but all women, and all people. I hope that we are able to teach them that it is their job to do the same. I hope that my boys will grow up seeing their mother as a fully-realized human being with thoughts and feelings, and that they will understand that other females are the same.

And here is the exact future ‘conversation’ that is just perfect!

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3 thoughts on ““Boys will be boys”

  1. I have been reading a lot of the commentary on this original post (and like an idiot, some of the comments ON the post, too). I’m glad you wrote about this, just because I’ve been thinking about it. It’s complicated, to be sure, but it really worries me that so many people put all the blame on the girls posting the photos. And sure, some of them are the type that I’d never post of myself but it’s a two-way street. I wonder how parenting this next generation will be, growing up with social media and cell phones and how all of that connectivity will impact us as parents. Like, how much do you monitor what they’re doing, etc. It sort of reminds me of the question that was raised in library school (and in the heavily Hasidic community I worked in for a while): how much do you censor what kids and teens read? No one censored what I read, and maybe reading romance novels was how I learned some things, and I was embarrassed when my mom found out what I was reading… but I’m just not sure. Obviously this is now very rambly and my thoughts are super unorganized but: I enjoyed reading this post and your thoughts on the issue. 🙂

    • Ugh, the comments. I KNOW that comments should never be read. And yet, I do. Horrible. I was shocked and dismayed at how many people completely agreed with her! But I shouldn’t have been, because it’s clear that a lot of the Christian community shares, like, all of their thoughts and ideas–namely in this case that modesty for girls is the most important thing ever. The slut-shaming (and I hate the jargon-ness of this term, but it’s accurate here) is ridiculous. And honestly, sitting around the dinner table, scrutinizing these kids’ facebook feeds and photos?? That strikes me as creepy, not as caring parents monitoring their kids. I guess monitoring is important, but when kids are teenagers that seems a little overkill. Like, if you’ve done your job as a parent, by the time your kid is 15 your influence is there or it’s not and they’re not going to suddenly change their morals (whether they tell you they have those morals is a different matter, I suppose). When a kid is ten or twelve maybe it’s different, but in high school, geez, nothing they see on FB is different than what they’re seeing out in the world and in the media. Like, hello, giant photos of girls in bras are in STORE WINDOWS at the mall.
      As for reading, I don’t think much censoring needs to happen, after a certain age. I would worry about younger kids reading things that are not appropriate for them (in terms of violence or whatever, like an eight year old reading the last few Harry Potter books or the Hunger Games, which might give them nightmares or something), but not about teenagers. I don’t think there’s really a ‘bad influence’ to be found in books.

      Of course, my tune might really change when I actually have teenagers!

      • Omg yes. The sitting around the table talking about and looking at the photos of the girls is so so creepy. Hell I felt weird when a college friend’s mom friended me on fb. I’m with you on book censoring too.

        It’s just so unbalanced. I’m glad that everyone jumped all over her about the beach photos of her boys that were originally in the post. Lets just illustrate how much of a double standard it is! Ha. (Srsly though it depresses me that so many people think this way. )

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