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MUMMedia | Parenting & Popular Culture

Media Monday – Teenagers, Sexy Selfies, Boys, Girls, Modesty…..Oh My!

teenagers facebook

A post written by a concerned mother of teenage boys about girls posting inappropriate, sexual images of girls on facebook has gone viral – FYI (If you’re a teenage girl). It has sparked great controversy in the online world!

Many seemed to agree that the virtue or value of modesty has been replaced with girls (women) believing their worth is connected to their sexiness and therefore feeling the need to post sexy selfies on facebook for attention.

The mother asked some interesting questions regarding these bedroom selfies.

“That post doesn’t reflect who you are at all! We think you are lovely and interesting, and usually 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?…..”

The heart of the post was, girls, be modest and don’t get caught up in the shallow values of our culture. I saw that this mother was trying to teach her boys to look for women of character, women who know who they are, and don’t feel the need to parade their bodies around to get attention. I think she makes some fair points – although by the heated defensive comments, clearly, these are difficult to hear.

There were comments suggesting that this mother should just teach her boys to control themselves rather than tell young girls to keep their clothes on.  I don’t think she would’ve posted this if she wasn’t doing her very best to teach her boys! But she is also reaching out to these girls (as her son’s potential wives) and encouraging them, hey, your worth is not connected to your sexy bedroom selfie – don’t sell yourself short.

I  liked what the mother said about encouraging her boys to seek women of character. I share the same heart for my boys. I don’t want them to grow up being superficial and wanting the ‘hottie’ anymore than someone else desires their daughter to be chased after by horny teenage boys!

SEXY SELFIE PIC – deleted!!!!

I think it goes both ways. We must teach our boys to value women and not see them as objects but also encourage our girls not to present themselves as objects. It seems a double standard to tell our boys that girls are not objects but then to have girls clearly dressing and presenting themselves as such. It works both ways.

Clearly by some of the comments this is a sensitive issue. So many comments were critical and defensive, “There’s nothing wrong with being sexy!” were the cries and “Dressing sexy makes me feel good!”. Dressing sexy makes people feel good because the attention makes them feel good regardless of the nature of the attention. Despite what anyone says, no one dresses in a sexually provocative way purely because they enjoy it, they mostly enjoy the attention and way it feeds their own self-esteem and self-worth.

No, there’s nothing wrong with being sexy or attractive. But seeking attention in a sexually provocative way as a teenager, who perhaps has a limited understanding of what she’s doing isn’t, at the very least, good, is it? Can’t we at least agree it’s just not…good? Necessary? Helpful? Positive?

More than ever I’m seeing that  teaching the value of modesty to our children (both boys and girls) is important and so is challenging our sexualised culture. There is just so much working against us as parents that we have to be proactive in confronting these challenges and making sure we build our kids self-esteem on something deeper than our popular culture.

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