Brain dump regarding that post that went viral today.

by michelle on September 4, 2013 · 5 comments

This will be a brain dump. And probably not the most well written thing I’ve ever produced, either.

When I was a teenager, I went without a bra as much as I possibily could. I hated bras. They were confining. They weren’t comfortable. And I identified with hippies and liberation and decided that since I didn’t need one to feel comfortable, that I would go without as much as possible. And I did. I didn’t see this as a sexual statement. It was just me not wanting to wear something that was horribly uncomfortable. (See also: my love for baggy jeans. That my dad hated.) My mom never said anything about being sans bra. I have a feeling that it had a lot to do with her upbringing in the ’70’s and having the freedom to dress how she wanted within reason.


I met Chris when I was 16, and he was 17. We became fast friends, developed crushes on each other, started that whole high school “dating” thing that involved holding hands between classes and writing each other notes instead of paying attention to teachers. So. I was a teenager. I hated bras. I wore tank tops and things that showed off my figure or whatever. I realize now, my body would never look that good again, so I’m glad I showed it a little. I was never scantily clad in public. My uniform when not in school was jeans and a tank top. My uniform in school was a fitted tee shirt and jeans. I wore chunky boots. I was mostly covered. But I realize that my attire wasn’t exactly “modest”. I wasn’t trying to be “modest”. I was trying to look good.


Related: When I was in my “baggy jeans” phase (can JNCO’s come back now? Please? I’ve heard rumors that grunge is coming back. Let this be true, please.), my dad once told me that I shouldn’t wear baggy jeans because “don’t you want to look attractive to boys”. I just kind of ignored his comment, because I didn’t care if boys were attracted to me. I was going to dress how I wanted. The only boy that mattered, as it turns out, was attracted to me, so there you go. My dad was only trying to say something supportive – I know now that he was always only trying to be supportive. But I see now how that comment is so backwards. He is not at all sexist or misogynist in any way. This comment is just a product of society. Girls are supposed to be attractive to guys, we’re supposed to WANT to make ourselves (sexually) attractive to males. That’s what we’re SUPPOSED to do, according to some stupid societal rules.


A post went viral today, written as an open letter to teenage girls with social media accounts, more specifically, those who share pictures of themselves. You can read the Jezebel write up here, but I don’t want to link to the original. Basically, it’s a concerned mom letting the girls of the world know that if they share scandalous pictures of themselves on Facebook and Instagram, that they will no longer allow their sons to be your friend and your accounts will be blocked because you are tainting their eyes! She claims that once her sons see your body in a state of undress, they will only ever see you that way again, and can no longer stay pure. This sent me into a state of rage. It took me a little bit to figure out exactly why this post made me so ragey.

But then I realized why. Thank GOD there was no instagram or facebook when I was 16 and finding myself and learning what it means to be attractive to who I want to be attractive to, and learning about sexuality, and what that means to me. Because it’s important to feel pretty – we all want to feel pretty in our own skins. And part of our information age is sharing – over sharing, really – with our peers. I have a blog. That’s certainly over-sharing than what the generation before us would have done. I like sharing with my peers. But I am SO glad there was no instagram or twitter then. AIM away messages were emo enough. I digress.

I was wearing tank tops without a bra. I wasn’t trying to dress modestly. I wore whatever the heck I wanted around Chris, covered or not, and yet somehow, somehow he managed to treat me as a person and not just a sex object. We were best friends. We were in love. We managed to keep our respective parts and hands to ourselves for a long time after we started dating, out of respect for each other. Because we loved each other. In fact, we managed to “save ourselves” for marriage. We were together 7 years before we were married. And yet, despite having seen me in bathing suits, or less, prior to that, I was more to him than just a sexual object.

Part of that post that had me so angry was the lack of acknowledgement that sexuality in relationships is a two-way street. It’s not the female’s responsibility to make sure the male doesn’t have sinful thoughts. It’s the male’s responsibility to view the female as a person, regardless of how covered, or uncovered she is. And this is the same for females. Of course all people are going to ogle the opposite (or same, whatevs) sex. We can all appreciate attractiveness in others without reducing them to sexual objects. I managed to view Chris as something other than a sexual object through our youthful years. In face, despite seeing him in various stages of undress on a regular basis, I continue to see him as something other than a sexual object. He is my best friend. He is my lover. He is human. He is so much more than just a sexual being.

This mom has sadly discounted the importance of what a relationship can be. She is teaching her sons that women aren’t their partners. That they aren’t their friends. She is teaching them that women are simply objects, and if those women can’t act according to their mother’s morals, then they aren’t worth being around. She has removed all responsibility from the eyes of her sons, and placed it all on the females around them.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Aubrey September 4, 2013 at 11:08 pm

Yes yes yes. This.

Ari_Pepper September 5, 2013 at 11:28 am


holly September 5, 2013 at 11:33 am

((slow clap))

I’m jeaous of how well you can put a brain dump into words.

Kim_F September 5, 2013 at 12:07 pm

Oh my god. This is all kinds of perfect and beautiful. Especially for a brain dump.

doniree September 5, 2013 at 8:50 pm

I had SO many problems with that post. Women are sexual beings too, women are VISUAL sexual beings too, for starters. For another thing, placing the responsibility on the woman to dress a certain way so as not to tempt a guy to think of her as a sex object is so dangerously close to victim-blaming in rape situations that no wonder “rape culture” is something we talk about. Also, it’s an incredibly heteronormative rant. What if one of her sons is gay? The photos she posted in her own blog post would be doing the exact same things she was warning her sons’ female friends about. What about the women who are attracted to other women? Are they supposed to conduct themselves in a manner that leaves them pure and whatever for… other women? Ha, ok this is my brain dump of a comment, but I just… no. I had so many problems with this. How about we teach girls and boys to respect each other, to seek fulfilling and loving relationships with each other (sexual, emotional, friendly, or otherwise), and how about we give them the tools to explore their own sexualities in a way that is safe and supported, not… grossly skewed like this. /end rant.

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