Recently a blog post has been floating around on my Facebook newsfeed. It was written by the mother of three teenage boys, and it serves as a warning to teenage girls who post scantily-clad photos of themselves on social media. You go, Mom of boys! I agree with her family’s practice of looking at their boys’ social media, and I agree with everything this woman had to say. Yet, I felt like there was something missing from the conversation. There is often something missing from conversations about purity and modesty. That something is boys. Teenage girls get lots of admonitions, as well they should, to be modest, to not tempt boys with alluring photos and skimpy outfits. But I have yet to come across a viral blog post that looks at the responsibility of boys in the whole purity equation. So, here goes….
Girls don’t wear enough clothes. I’m sorry about that, but it is a sad fact of our modern culture. Of course I’m not telling you anything you don’t know. If you have ever left you house or turned on the television you know this. In fact, if you have been to a high school girls’ volleyball game or sporting even where there were cheerleaders you know this. Even if every girl who ever comes across your social media is wearing a turtle neck sweater and extra large sweat pants, you know this.
We have considered making our daughters wear swimsuits like this…
Or cheerleading uniforms like this…
And we are particularly fond of this volleyball uniform…
But we have decided we’d rather our girls not run away from home.
My point is this. It is great if your family monitors your social media. But it’s not enough. When you walk through the mall or stand in the checkout line at the grocery store, you are exposed to advertisements and magazine covers that would have been Playboy centerfolds in your grandfather’s generation. Soft porn is considered appropriate entertainment for a Superbowl halftime show. Even what girls wear to play a school-sanctioned sport is a bit iffy. YOU have to be responsible for your own purity – of deed and of mind. It can’t be all up to the girls to draw lines and keep it covered.
And it won’t be easy. Everyday you are exposed to dozens of immodest images real and digital. You have to work harder than any generation before you to shield your eyes and keep your mind clean. It’s not fair, but it’s just the way it is. Work hard. Be careful what movies you watch, magazines you read, and Internet sites you visit. Don’t think you can linger gleefully of Sport Illustrated Swimsuit Edition and then mock, ridicule, or look down on a girl who posts a questionable selfie.
Don’t look for a girl who is hot. But get to know girls who are beautiful – inside and out- and make ALL girls feel like they are worthy of kindness and attention, no matter what size jeans they wear. And let’s stop pretending that the modesty issue is just a girl problem. Guys need to be modest in action and thought if they expect girls to be modest in dress. I know it’s tough on guys to think and do the right thing with so many scantily-clad girls running around, but as soon as our culture starts showing girls that they are so much more than objects, I think we will see a lot fewer half-naked Instagram posts.
Be a guy who helps create a culture of respect for women. If you will, and if more girls will start respecting themselves enough to NOT post seductive photos, then maybe parents won’t have to spend their spare time monitoring social media – but we still will, just in case.
Mom of girls (and boys)