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Slut Shaming, Sanctimommies and Hope for the Next Generation

By Courtney Enlow | Think Pieces | September 10, 2013 | Comments ()


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Last week, a hateful harpy of a judgmental shrew penned an open letter to the terrible female children throwing their young bodies at her pure, innocent sons. This was gravely upsetting for countless reasons, ranging from her unaware, unironic inclusion of photos featuring her sons flexing in swim trunks in the midst of a diatribe about girls posting pictures of themselves half-clothed, to photographing her sons ostensibly laughing at the photos of these girls, which would be a deeply humiliating experience for anyone of any age to see, to alerting these young teen females that they have been BLOCKED (dun dun dun!) from her family’s computer screens for reasons of harlotry. Unspoken but implied, they may pick up their red ‘A’ patches on the way out.

I haven’t really commented on this myself. Not because I don’t have an opinion in the matter, because TAH-RUST ME, I do, but because things like this are so deeply rage-inducing that I’m rendered speechless. Not only is this woman calling out all teen girls for being unrepentant temptresses attempting to lead her totally innocent teenage boys who are in high school (so she’s a naïve imbecile on top of a sanctimonious Xanthippe), but she is directly stating that she, as a parent, is teaching her children that some women are not worthy of respect, that by exposing a certain amount of skin, that by making certain faces, that by coming of age as a teenage girl in a time of social media, they are bad people who deserve to be blocked from the minds of the COMPLETELY BLAMELESS AND UNACCOUNTABLE teenage boys, and even publicly ridiculed.

Again, she included photos of her sons LAUGHING at photos of these girls. Think back on when you were a teenager, just figuring out that you want to be admired, that you want people to be attracted to you, and imagine that you saw people you go to school with laughing at a picture of you, at a time in your life when you so want peer approval. Sickening. I hope the mothers of those bad, naughty girls teach their kids to run, RUN, from the sons of that wretch of a mother, because if her lesson plan has worked, they will grow up to be the worst kind of misogynist assholes.

And, just when I’ve lost a chunk of faith in humanity, I gain it back and then some.

Remember the 14-year-old girl whose amazing protest poster went viral? Her name is Tuesday Cain. She’s a gem of a human being. And her response is better than any I could come up with. Because, sure, I used to be a teenage girl. I have a child who will grow up to be a teenage girl. But, Tuesday is a teenage girl, right now. And she and all other teenage girls deserve a first right of response to this most un-Christian woman.

I encourage you to read the whole piece in its entirety. It will give you fluffy cloud feelings. But here’s my favorite part:

The bodies of young girls are not dangerous.

But you know what is? Teaching young women they should be ashamed of their bodies.

Thank you, Tuesday. You give me hope.




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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not


  • Colleen

    so glad she's allowed to change the photos on her site and *poof* everything is wiped clean, but slutty teenage girl photos aren't quickly forgotten and earn a swift ban from her house. this is truly hypocrisy at it's finest.

  • Richk

    "Gravely upsetting" and "rage-inducing?" Your reaction to this is totally absurd and you're misrepresenting what she actually says. For example, it's quite clear they're not mocking the girls in the photos she disapproves of. She says the people they know online are quite funny, intentionally, and that's why the family likes to get online together. She doesn't hold her own sons to a different standard as you say. What she says is that she's trying to raise them by the same standard. And she's not saying these girls aren't worthy of respect. Her actual words are that they're "lovely," "interesting," and "smart."
    You've clearly got a keen eye for hypocrisy, but your comparison of the pictures she describes and the one on her own site is silly. A picture of kids playing on the beach is innocent and something you could display anywhere in your home. A picture of a young girl in a suggestive pose and nothing but a towel is of a totally different nature, and not comparable.
    I don't know what "rape culture" is. To guess I would say it's a term that would apply to certain places in the middle east, where actual rape is used as a way to punish and shame women. If you use that phrase to describe these kinds of innocuous comments, what in the world do you have left to describe what is literally a Culture of Rape?

  • Dumily

    Nope. Sorry, I'm too tired for this. I'll just let Lindy West take it from here.

    "I am tired of being called a shrieking harridan for pointing out inequalities so tangible and blatant that they are regularly codified into law.
    I am tired of being told to provide documentation of inequality in the
    comments sections of a website where a staff of smart women documents
    inequality as fast as our fingers can move. Like, you might as well
    write me a note on a banana peel demanding that I prove to you that
    bananas exist. I am tired of being asked to 'cite sources' proving that
    sexism is real (that RAPE is real, even!), because there is no way to
    concisely cite decades and decades of rigorous academia. Allow me to
    point at the fucking library. We can't cite 'everything,' and our
    challengers know that. It's an insulting diversionary tactic, it's an
    attempt to drag us all backwards, and fuck it. Do your own research like the rest of the grown-ups."

  • Vivianne ValdeMar

    In my country, almost everyone thinks like that woman. Young, and old, conservative, or so called more liberal, men, but especially, and sadly, women. My mother's reaction when I told her the guy I was seeing (whom I considered my boyfriend at the time) had forced himself on me was to say I was lying to cover up that I was promiscuous. I was 17 and a virgin, had never stayed out past 11 pm at the latest, always accompanied even when I did, at most I'd skipped school a couple of times to go to movies or hang out with my classmates. We'd engage in extreme criminal activities such as playing pool, or cards. No money ever exchanged hands, except when the check came (Coke, as in Cola, because we liked to live dangerously). Some years later I got mugged going to a party (I didn't make it that evening) at knife point, and had someone not intervened, would probably have had worse, after I got back from the police station, I was pretty shaken up. When I told her what had happened, she told me I shouldn't be wearing mini skirts, because "you're not 15, and should know better". That's when I decided to move to another city. I love my mum, but those kind of comments are just hurtful on many levels.

  • Dumily

    That's horrific. I'm sorry your mother was so callous.

  • Vivianne ValdeMar

    And I still hadn't had sex then, being the mini-skirt wearing slut that I was.

  • Pajiba_Pragmatist

    I'd like to threadjack here is a slightly different direction.

    We need to recognize that clothing IS a communicative medium. We are all here bashing on our keyboards, putting into words our thoughts and feelings. How we dress is, and historically has been, another medium to communicate how we think and feel.

    Therefore it's insane for us to pretend a woman posting a "selfie" in the bedroom in a pose with her behind jutting out is not trying to communicate sexual desirability. She is non-verbally crying out "look at me, and understand that I am desirable"!

    The fact that she is telling us that does NOT mean we have a right to take her language as an invitation to rape her, or treat her as less than human, or devalue her intellect.

    Frankly, I would suggest that the men who take those Jersey Shore style selfies where they show their abs are much the same thing "look at me, I am sexually desirable!" You can almost hear them yell.

    So when the 14 year old writing the response notes "Flirting or taking flirty pictures doesn't mean sex." and yet goes on to note "I have male friends that take pictures of themselves lifting up their shirts to expose muscles to make themselves seem more sexually appealing, and they don't get judged." She's just completely wrong.

    Yes, flirting DOES mean sex - it doesn't mean you are having sex, or should be forced to have sex or that the act of intercourse is now a given. But it is intended to send a sexual message. What's funny is that she nails it when she notes the male friend doing the shirt lift is doing so to seem more sexually appealing.

    Moreover, they are getting "judged", insomuch as you are judging that their behavior is intended to convey sexual potency.

    The difference is what we do with the information. Does the man's expression of potency result in fewer job opportunities? Are his college chances harmed? Does he lose friends? Probably not. Smart people may judge his decision to place physical potency on such a high pedestal as shallow, but he probably makes it just fine.

    But that may not be as clear for the girl, and that's the problem.

    What we can't do is try and pretend that a person can dress in a manner intended to communicate sexual desirability and expect no one to receive the message. The question of how we behave once the message is received that is important.

  • ScienceGeek

    Excellent points. I think the teenagers in both examples are Trying Adulthood On For Size. The pouting 14 year old (hopefully) has a very limited understanding of sexual desirability beyond the broad strokes. And that's what she's mimicking - the broad strokes. She's seen attractive women pouting and arching their backs in magazine, and gotten the message that this is how successful women look. Just like that woman's flexing sons were aping a muscled man, because that's another definition of success/attractiveness. I think the real intent is not so much trying to look sexually desirable as much as trying to look like adults, if that makes any sense. That may be why the photos/flirting 'doesn't mean sex' to them.

  • Pajiba_Pragmatist

    This is a really interesting point I had not considered. We all know that physical maturity, and even physical desire are not linked in any way with emotional maturity!

    On the sex side though, it's likely that the desire to look adult is subconsciously linked. There have been some interesting studies that have looked into underage pregnancy and the number of girls who looked forward to having a child because it represented a passage to adulthood. I am pretty sure This American Life did a good segment on it as well.

  • e jerry powell

    I love the conversation starters here.

    Sometimes I really need to make myself think about something to remember that I'm something near-human. It's not always the easiest thing.

  • Sara Habein

    Courtney, your posts are a treasure, and most everyone else here has echoed my thoughts on that woman. Creepy, weird, and harmful, to say the least.

  • Bert_McGurt

    Of all the posts, my work software decided to block this one today...

  • Evolve Today

    Just to play devil's advocate here, I have to bring up two things. 1: at what point does it become hypocritical to write/comment on a post about how bad a person is because they are "slut shaming" or otherwise judging others? And 2: why is it so bad to "slut shame"? When I hear the word "slut" I think of someone who knowingly sleeps with ones significant other, or uses their sexuality to gain unfair advantage. Not a sexually confident person who knows what they want. I'm not saying I don't think that women is ridiculous, or that I disagree with most of the points here, I'm just wondering about your thoughts on this.

  • Dumily

    1.) It's not hypocritical to say "What you're saying is stupid." It would only be hypocritical to say "What you're saying is stupid, and I never say anything stupid." 2.b) Your definition of slut is someone who knowingly sleeps with someone else's significant other or uses her sexuality for gain. For other people, it's someone who has a one night stand, who has sex on the first date, who dresses provocatively, etc. And for some people, being a slut means having sex before marriage, or having sex within marriage for pleasure rather than procreation. Whose definition of slut are we going by when you're talking about slut shaming? 2.c) Just as a side point, men aren't, by and large, slut shamed. It's usually a bad sign if an entire gender is subjected to a socially constructed punishment and the other isn't.

  • Evolve Today

    For point 1: this article starts "a hateful harpy of a judgmental shrew". That sentence to me screams hypocrisy. But point 2 is mainly just a discussion point, and I attempted to keep it gender neutral. To me it's an obviously overused word, but by my definition at least, it's justifiably negative. But I do agree with your second statement. It's pretty ridiculous that no one admonishes males for these same things.

  • BlackRabbit

    No, it's just considered "boys being boys" and we're oversexed chimps who automatically mentally strip-and-bang any attractive woman who crosses our path. We're not shamed. It's just a given assumption by many, which is almost as bad. Women automatically assume I want their "goodies"? Thanks, ladies.

  • Dumily

    1.) Fair enough about the article. I was mainly referring to the comments. That line does seem harsh, but in Courtney's defense it feels incredibly personal when someone takes potshots at "sluts." I can understand the response. 2.) Unfortunately "slut" can't really be gender neutral. It's why the term "man slut" exists. 3.) Even if you used a very lenient version of "slut" i.e. cheater, mistress, actual prostitute, what's the point of slut shaming? If I were the biggest slut you'd ever met, what would it matter? If I weren't doing anything that directly effected you, why would you care what I was doing?

  • Evolve Today

    People's personal behavior affects how we perceive them. Even if it's not entirely fair, you can't pretend it doesn't. So knowing that a person has done what I would consider morally wrong things, male or female, it affects how I interact with them at a certain point. Granted I've never called someone a slut, and I try to treat most people as I would like to be treated. I can't say for sure one way or another if, or why it matters in the grand scheme of things.

  • Dumily

    But there's a big difference between weighing someone's actions and deciding you don't want to have a relationship with them, and publishing an online post that intends to make women feel judged for their appearance. What you're describing isn't slut shaming, it's part of your process for choosing relationships. Slut- shaming is used to enforce social norms that say women are solely responsible for controlling sexual activity, and as such she has to be, and actively advertise being, "closed for business." And if, as a woman, you don't adhere to those social norms, you get a posting from a middle aged mother you've never met reminding you that she and her family think of you as a slut and won't associate with you. That's why slut- shaming is bad.

  • Evolve Today

    Makes a lot of sense. Good points.

  • Dumily

    Thank you.

  • Archie Leach

    Those first pictures of kim and her aryan brood are of them in Golden Gate Park. Golden Gate Park like in San Francisco. I'm sure I'm not alone is thinking it unusual that kim would allow her pure preciousess be allowed anywhere near a place of such sexual deviancy like San Francisco.

  • sanity fair

    I can NOT be the only one who is equally concerned about the fact that this sanctimonious bitch has an 8-year-old daughter, right?

  • BlackRabbit

    She'll be ok after a nice night at the daddy-daughter prom.

  • John G.

    The bodies of young girls are not dangerous.

    But you know what is? Teaching young women they should be ashamed of their bodies.

    A-FUCKIN-Men, Tuesday!!

    It's amazing to see that the internet, the very thing that has enabled rampant harassment by creepy misogynists to reach such a ubiquitous level, has also been the same engine that has allowed girls the world over to discuss the repressive myths of female sexuality and purity with each other, to combat slut-shaming, to reject the patriarchal nonsense that teaches young women in a thousand ways that they should feel shame for who they are and how men view them. The internet is a complex beast.

  • Al Borland's Beard

    I didn't make it through that whole first article (The holier than thou-ness was too much), but who the fuck goes around and looks at their kid's Facebook feed as a family?

    "Oh, what's this? It seems Jeremy from down the street went to Cherry Berry today. How delightful."

    "And your friend Jenny from school posted a picture of a cat wearing glasses. How cute!"

    "What's this? A rap music video? Well, so long Steven. Block!"

    "Well, well, well, seems like Elizabeth wanted to post a picture of herself in some shorts that are just a little too short. I guess you won't mind being blocked from my son, you little trollop."

    (Son walks in)

    "Mom, why are you on my Facebook?"

    "Get back to your room and READ YOUR BIBLE!"

    (Son rolls eyes, counts down days until 18)

    "Well, now that that's done, let's see if I can't find some pictures of Harry Connick Jr."

    But yeah, fuck that lady.

  • Slash

    Goddam, there's so much sociological shit in this controversy (which I was entirely unaware of until reading about it here), it would take quite awhile to unpack it all. Not sure I'm up to it.

  • F'mal DeHyde

    Seriously? Unless she's edited it, I didn't see anything out of line with what she wrote. She's trying to teach her sons to respect women and she advises the girls to respect themselves by not post scantily clad photos on her family's social media site. And yeah, it shows she and her sons looking at a phone and laughing but you're just assuming what they're actually looking at.

    And she sure as shit didn't say anything about young women's bodies being dangerous.

  • Pajiba_Pragmatist

    Here's the paragraph that moved me from "what's the problem" into more of the "burn her at the stake" camp:

    I know your family would not be thrilled at the thought of my teenage boys seeing you only in your towel. Did you know that once a male sees you in a state of undress, he can’t quickly un-see it? You don’t want our boys to only think of you in this sexual way, do you?

    Look at that last sentence; she's establishing that once the sexual thought exists, the girl is never more than a sexual object. That's where she goes off the rails.

    If it were a bit more artfully worded, she could have noted that teenage boys have a hard time separating hormones from a holistic view of an individual, and if you push the hormone button hard it makes my job as a mom harder as I try to bring them up in a way that rises beyond women as objects.

    But instead she did not take any of the responsibility upon herself for addressing the fact that the lust comes from her kids and that its something all people have to learn to control.

    She's set it up as causality. "Your clothes create my kids desire".

    No, your teenager is in a constant state of desire, it's freaking Pon Farr out there for a boy (Star Trek OG reference).

    So instead of blaming, how about asking for help from the girls, while also recognizing that they probably have their on internal schism - see me as a sex object, but also as a person.

  • stella

    Shes being catty and mean towards teenage girls. At the very least its really disconcerting.

  • Dumily

    Just to add to what Wigamer said:
    1.) It is hypocritical. Her sons without shirts is cool, girls without bras are harlots.

    2.) It reiterates the idea that women's bodies don't belong to us. Boys can take pictures with their shirts off because they're having fun or are at the beach or are having a family vacation. When girls wear swimsuits or short shorts or pajamas, it's because they're trying to elicit a sexual response from men. So we have to police our bodies to make sure we aren't accidentally being too sexual. We can't not be sexual beings, so we have to cover up in order to prevent causing sexual feelings in men.

    3.) It presumes that women can't be both sexual and respected. There isn't anything wrong with wanting to be sexy, but we teach women you can't be both. And we treat women who do want to be sexy disrespectfully.

  • Wigamer

    Well. I think it's the following:
    1) The original pictures she posted were of her sons in bathing suits-a little hypocritical.

    2) She seems sarcastic in her tone toward the young girls she's "talking" to.

    3) She seems to absolve her sons of any role re: healthy male/female interactions--it looks like she just wants the girls to take responsibility for their actions, but doesn't expect the same from boys.

    4) She removed a post in which she recounted getting hot for her husband the first time she saw him because he was shirtless--again, hypocrisy.

  • Pajiba_Pragmatist

    This hypocrisy point is coming up a lot, and I feel like it's completely disingenuous.

    We are ALL hypocrites. Every fucking day of our lives in thousands of ways.

    Hypocrisy can sometimes represent how we wished we could be vs. how we are. Other times it is the battle between ideal and practical.

    As Emerson said: " "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds"

  • Dumily

    Being hypocritical at times doesn't diminish our ability to point it out in others. And criticizing an argument with a valid point ("you're logic here is inconsistent", "that fact is incorrect", "you analogy is faulty") is how good arguments are formed. A major part of pointing out the hypocrisy in her posting pictures of her half dresses sons while complaining about half dressed daughters is to highlight the double standard that exists in the way we publicly treat male vs. female bodies. It's in no way disingenuous to argue that she's unfairly targeted one group of people and not another.

  • Pajiba_Pragmatist

    Agree that here you are shoring up with logic the "she's a hypocrite" :)

    But your point 4 isn't written to express that "she should recognize from her own life experience that a double standard exists". It's far more of a "gotcha" comment.

    For example, I think there's nothing wrong with Russell Brand pointing out the Hugo Boss ties to Nazi Germany when at some point in the past he wore a Hugo Boss jacket. That's not hypocrisy. He never said "don't wear Hugo" and then paraded down the street in Hugo Boss's latest fashion.

    It could be argued that the fact that she found her husband to be sexually attractive and went on to create a more well-rounded relationship* with him is hypocritical. But it's also possible she could simply recognize the inconsistency without losing her thread.

    *(ok, to be a bit snarky, I'm not sure how deep this woman is, she seems paper thin, but let's stipulate to their deeper relationship for the sake of argument).

  • Dumily

    I think you might have confused my post with Wigamer's. I only had three arguments.

    And while it isn't my point, I agree with Wigamer that editing a post where she discusses how hot her husband was with a shirt off is a good refutation of her own argument. Her husband with a shirt off, looking hot led to a long, presumably happy relationship. Girls in pajamas, looking hot leads to the girls being ostracized, and blocked on Facebook. Is there a good reason why it's ok for her husband but not okay for the girls?

  • Pajiba_Pragmatist

    WHOOPS! So I did.

    And yes, this is my point in the second paragraph, she certainly could have recognized that there is not a 100% correlation between shirtlessness and lack of relationship stability.

    The fact that she deleted the older post, rather than acknowledging the inconsistency is more problematic and suggests that she didn't have a good answer. I'm not bothered by her hypocrisy on it's face, but rather her lack of ownership of it.

    I've got multiple threads going here, but elsewhere I tried to touch on why I am more in the "burn her at the stake" camp than the opposite in part because she seems to lack any sense of responsibility or culpability.

    Still, cries of "hypocrisy" need to be made with substance rather than gotcha. Your updated response does that and is valuable to the discussion.

  • Nieve 'The Threadkiller Queen'

    Tuesday Cain is my hero.

  • emmalita

    I know. I'm all extra proud because I grew up in Austin, too. After years of Rick Perry and other Texas what-the-fuckery, it's so nice to see a Texas girl do good.

  • BlackRabbit

    *Sigh* I'm trying to like her, but my cynicism is threatening to overwhelm me. Maybe she really is a passionate, well spoken young lady who thinks strongly about abortion rights. But there's that bitter little voice that says she's just the flip-side liberal version of the Westboro Baptist kids who happens to espouse something I can get behind. I hate that voice-how do I get rid of it?

  • emmalita

    Start by accepting two things as a given. 1) her political views are heavily influenced by her parents, and 2) at some point in the next 10 years she will do a bunch of really stupid things inconsistent with the person she seems to be based what she has written. She's 14. If she were writing a political manifesto, I would be less interested. A 14 yr old can write 10 completely different manifestos in a year and believe them all passionately. She's really writing about her experience with the way adults are responding to her. She and her friend wrote a provocative, attention-grabbing sign. That was a very 14 yr old girl thing to do. The adult response to that sign must have been terrifying. I am proud that in the moment when a large man was screaming in her face she didn't back down. I am proud of her that she has the guts to write a piece calling out the people calling her a whore. I sometimes work as a tutor for high school students - usually girls. Nothing in that piece is inconsistent with what a 14 yr old girl would think, feel, or say. The thing about not having sex until she's an adult, eh, maybe maybe not. But frankly, she could have sex tomorrow and it would still be wrong to call her a whore. She could go through a phase where she has a lot of sex with a lot of people, and still, no one would have the right to call her a whore. Who ever she becomes in the future, at the moment that she chose to make a stand, she was a person worthy of my admiration and respect.

  • BlackRabbit

    I just didn't know enough about the thought processes and experiences of a 14 year old girl to be able to accept it as genuine. Too many fake "viral" stories and pictures to see the real pearl among swine, I guess. Thanks for your reply-I was afraid someone was going to blast me for being a Scrooge :).

  • emmalita

    I think it's reasonable to be wary of Internet sensations. :)

  • stella

    I just read what she wrote and all I got was that shes like really catty and mean. This is an adult woman with teenage children?

  • Yeah, the sarcastic condescending tone makes it annoying in addition to shitty.

  • ScienceGeek

    A friend of mine posted that 'FYI to teenage girls' thing to facebook with the suggestion it was good advice for parents to pass onto their daughters.
    I... I kinda lost respect for him. Not a lot, and not totally, because he's a damn good person and I'm sure he simply saw it as a 'don't post dodgy selfies' piece written by a compassionate woman. But his obliviousness to her hypocrisy (at that stage, she still had the half-naked photos up) was a little disappointing.

    But seeing the two very different attitudes present in her post's comment section made me wonder. The people who applauded her are probably wonderful people who also didn't see that ugly undercurrent of contempt in her piece. Do they have so little experience with this kind of 'girls be dirty hoars who tempt ma innocent boys!' attitude that they just don't recognise it? Or is it the opposite - so prevalent in their lives that they never question it?

  • chanohack

    I had several friends post it on Facebook, all of them Christian moms of boys. The most I could manage to argue was, "Weird how she illustrated it with shirtless pictures of her kids," which was met with, "I know, LOL!"

    :- |

  • Ashley

    That woman has actually replaced the photos of her laughing, shirtless boys, with charming ones of them as a family (laughing, yes, over a phone, but we don't know if they were laughing at all these internet harlots) and one with her small daughter in the garden. She definitely managed to get more gross.

  • kirbyjay

    I feel like I better duck after my comment but here goes
    I have two grown daughters and I've always taught them that no one will respect them if they don't respect themselves. That means not going to school with their asses and boobs hanging out, and yeah, acting like ladies. If you don't want to be an "object" don't act or dress like an object. Do girls or women that dress slutty bring it on themselves? Of course they do. Do boys or men have the right to "the goodies"? No they don't, and while I'm teaching my girls to demand respect, other parents should be teaching their sons to keep their hands and hardons to themselves.
    While the sanctimonious, slut shaming mother and her future gang raping sons are contemptuous, I'm a little surprised that nobody suggested that a teenage girl shouldn't be posting provocative selfies on her phone. There are many ways to look attractive to the opposite sex without posing in your undies, or lack of.

  • NateMan

    Do girls or women that dress slutty bring it on themselves? Of course they do.

    Um. What? The rest of your post is entirely reasonable. But this line is crap. A person, male or female, should be able to walk down the sidewalk buck-ass naked without worrying about anything more than a sunburn or hypothermia.

    If someone is proud of their body, they should feel free to dress however they like without other people making the assumption their bodies are up for grabs.

    A teenager should not post pictures of themselves to the Internet. They also shouldn't send them to other people, because that shit always ends up getting shared. But the only reasons they shouldn't do it is because society is populated by assholes and because future employers are going to want employees who act professionally.

  • kirbyjay

    See above clarification. I thought about that sentence after I posted and I knew it came off as "they deserved it". What I meant was they seek attention by dressing like that and they get it, and I really don't think anyone can dispute that. I also said that men didn't have a right to the "goodies". As the mother of girls, do you really think I condone rape?

  • Pajiba_Pragmatist

    I'd like to threadjack here is a slightly different direction. What about adult women?

    Here's a behavior I have run in to and I have no real good way of dealing with it or processing it.

    Professional woman X wears a gappy blouse with considerable décolletage. As an accessory, she has a chunky large necklace.

    Thoughout the day the woman reaches up to check the gappiness of the blouse. This motion pulls your eye down, you quickly snap your eyes back to face. Woman senses that the room looked at her chest, moves to cover, eyes once against follow - repeat all day long in several meetings.

    Why does she do this? I understand the point that sexiness is complex, but why wear something that makes you uncomfortable when people look at it?

    We have one 30 something at work that goes through this at least once a week. She's fairly attractive and in good shape. But she's constantly uncomfortable about the amount of cleavage she is showing and quickly checks whenever eyes move south of her chin.

    This produces a room full of follow-the-ball behavior, even with some of the women in the office.

    Finally, while I never stare at a man's crotch (or woman's) I will often look at a man's tie or shirt to take my eyes away from the face, if for no other reason to give my brain a second to breathe.

    If you've got a plunging neckline, I'm going to have to look to the side of you to avoid the boobs.

  • Emm82

    A big problem is that most ladies blouses (affordable ones, certainly) just do not fit. Especially if you are larger up top. There is always a gap & it's irritating as hell. If you work in an office that demands smart dress, a shirt is an inevitable part of the attire.

  • DominaNefret

    Yup. I do not have a job where I have to deal with office clothes, thank goodness. Business attire is extremely problematic for me, especially blouses. My choices are a few buttons undone or too big and totally unflattering.

  • DominaNefret

    Because she likes the outfit and thinks it looks good on her? Liking an outfit that displays some tit, as much women's clothing is designed to do, does not preclude anyone from feeling self conscious.
    85% of the time I don't care if anyone stares at my tits or ogles my ass, so long as they aren't harassing me in any way. 15% of the time it makes me really uncomfortable. I am fully within my rights to feel uncomfortable that 15% of the time, and am not going to change out of an outfit I like and into a muumuu because of it.

  • Pajiba_Pragmatist

    This is really accurate, but as foolsage points out below, it leads to situations where others aren't sure how to react - the "grey zones" he mentions.

    You are totally within your rights to feel uncomfortable that 15%, but what about the other side of the equation? Does the he or she making you feel that way have the "right" to stare? How about the "right" to question your judgement or situational awareness in a way that leads to you not getting a promotion?

    I think w have to fall back to the archaic concept of manners.

    It's bad manners to stare at anyone, especially in a sexually aggressive way.

    It's also bad manners to dress inappropriately for the situation. It shows either contempt or disrespect for others.

    Well that's all neat and tidy now, isn't it? Except that we all know what is considered appropriate changes...pretty much constantly.

  • foolsage

    I think you're both right. People generally choose their clothing to send some social signals, including sexual indicators. That's ok. Problems arise when people mistake open statements about sexuality for invitations to objectify or claim ownership. Sometimes, too, people's signals are confusing, to be fair, which is precisely why sexual consent needs to always be both clear and enthusiastic.

    Having said that, if you're showing a lot of decolletage, or your massive biceps, you shouldn't be offended if people occasionally notice them; that's generally the point, even if that wasn't what YOU meant by it. A gentleman might steal covert glances, while a cad might gawk. Some ladies will like the former and some will like the latter. And the same is true for all other combinations of sexuality. Some people really don't want the attention at all, and, hey, fair enough. Again, displaying your body is not an invitation to anyone else to make use of your body in any way. But if you seem to be flaunting something, others who don't understand your motives might reasonably assume you want to be looked at. If your outfit calls special attention to a part or parts of your anatomy, it's disingenuous to be shocked if someone notices that. Looking (with desire) generally isn't bad, but naturally it can lead to any number of undesirable outcomes.

    Very little on this topic is clear or certain. There are a lot of grey areas. What is clear is that the way you appear, from weight to height to skin color to appearance to age to clothing to accessories to makeup to hair to facial hair, does not justify or excuse any form of assault or battery. It's never ok to hurt someone because of the way they look to you.

  • kirbyjay

    Hmmmmmm.....cleavage in the boardroom? And women wonder why they aren't taken seriously. Sorry sexy women but when you show the stuff, men think about the stuff and it doesn't matter what comes out of your mouth, men are just thinking about the stuff. Are you ok with dropping F-bombs in the boardroom? Because that's just as inappropriate.
    And what's wrong with being called a slut? Nothing at all if you're ok with it. I would not be, and I wouldn't want my kids called that.
    I think we've gotten so far off the trail that we've fallen off the cliff. My post was about teenage girls showing the stuff, teenage boys being hot and bothered about the stuff, and how girls shouldn't be showing the stuff and boys have no right to the stuff, and teaching all of them that accordingly.
    Capeesh?
    P.S. I am neither a prude nor religious but I believe that just because you can, doesn't always mean you should.

  • Dumily

    And I'm really not trying to pick on you, but the "I am neither a prude nor religious" line reflects a larger societal ideal about being the "good woman." You aren't slutty, you aren't prude, you're just right. The Goldilocks of sexual activity. If I were to judge you as being prude, I think you would rightly be upset by that. You're judgement of how women should be presenting themselves is as unfair as my judging your sex life.

  • Dumily

    Can you please stop referring to women's bodies as "the stuff"? They aren't "the stuff", they aren't something to either be gotten or covered up. They're our bodies.

    And maybe instead of telling women what they should be wearing at the office, we should recognize that men are capable of full thoughts even in the presence of sexually desirable females. Women can't wear even vaguely revealing blouses because men are such uncontrollable animals that during your presentation they'll only be thinking "titties!"? I'm not sure which sex should be more offended by that.

  • DominaNefret

    Yeah, as someone who is considered sexy, I am going to call foul here. Both from my own experience, and the experiences of a lot of other females I know.
    Sexiness is complex, it is something that constitutes a lot of different things to a lot of different people; how someone dresses, a certain level of self-confidence they openly display, a bit of va va va voom, and just the natural shape of their body.
    I'm very self confident and love sex, so I'm not going to try to claim that it is the only reason I fall in to the "sexy" category, but the one major thing that I can't do anything about is my body. I am going to sound self-aggrandizing here, but I have bazongas and an ass and fabulous legs. I was dressed like a slob today; dirty hair pushed back in a headband, tank top, loose linen drawstring pants that look like sweatpants. I got honked at and catcalled four times on my three block walk to work. I get catcalls and or honks pretty much every walk from work to lunch, and that is always in my work clothes; I'm a massage therapist, so that means loose pants and tanktop, or leggings and loose shirt.
    I would have to wear a muumuu to totally hide my body, and I am far from the only female that is true for. It was very difficult when I was a teenager, because I am very long waisted and shirts for teenage girls are even shorter than those made for women. It was nearly impossible to find anything that didn't show a bit of belly.
    The idea that any female that you look at and think is dressed in a sexy or slutty manner is doing so for attention is just so outstandingly false. WWe shouldn't have to hide our bodies just in case someone else thinks that what we are wearing is sexy or slutty.
    Also, the idea that wanting to look and feel sexy is always about sseeking attention is very problematic.

  • Dumily

    I hope you don't duck out because I'd like to have a real conversation about this. Specifically the idea that being sexy and provocative, and wanting to be seen as sexy and provocative somehow precludes you from being respected. Can we really not respect anyone who has taken a picture in their swimsuit or underwear?

  • kirbyjay

    I am talking about teenage girls, and no, they should not be taking pictures of themselves in their underwear. When they are of legal age they can do whatever the hell they want, but the sexualizing of children, yes, teenagers are children, disturbs me greatly. Their bodies may be mature but their brains are not. Talk to me when you have teenage girls.
    As for adult women, there is a huge difference between sexy and provocative, and cheap and slutty, and no, I don't have a lot of respect for women that display sex and nothing else. How about a personality? A brain? A sense of humor? Pictures of women in bathing suits or undies can be sexy and beautiful, but they can also be lude and gross, and I think you know the difference.
    I would also like to clarify a statement I made.
    When I said that girls or women that dress slutty bring it on themselves, I meant attention, not rape.

  • delle

    I completely agree. The first thought a male has when he looks at an underage girl should NOT be, "Ohh...sexy". In my house I was taught that it is innappropriate for children to dress as adults. And it was done without me ever being made to feel like my body is dirty or shameful or anything negative like that. Girls can dress in a way that lets them look and feel pretty and attractive while still being age-appropriate. I am seriously disturbed by young teenagers being allowed to dress provacatively; it's heart-breaking when a 14yo girl picks her clothes based on whether they make her look sexy.

    An adult woman has had more time to learn to be confident in herself and comfortable with her body and who she is. A truly confident woman will dress to please herself, because she feels good when she sees her reflection in the mirror, whether she's dressed provacatively or conservatively. If she dresses sexily she is much more likely than a young girl to be prepared for the different kinds of reactions and responses she may receive, and she is more likely to stick up for herself if someone targets her in a negative way. A young girl on the other hand is much less likely to have that maturity; young girls dressing provacatively are often doing it in an effort to gain that sense of confidence through the attention they get. Sadly, the attention is often of the wrong kind when they are surrounded by teenage boys (and sometimes men) who have not learned how to respect females and who let their hormones rule their actions. At the least it can lead them to getting negative reactions, at the worst it can result in them being harmed or engaging in sexual behaviours for the wrong reasons because they didn't have the experience and maturity to handle the situation. The maturity and confidence should come first.

  • Dumily

    You make a lot if generalizations about girls' and women's sexuality and maturity levels, but I'm ignoring that for now. I have what I hope is a rather simple question: what's wrong with being a slut?

  • delle

    I don't think there's anything wrong with being a slut. I have been called one more than once, and have said it myself. Mature adults can live their lives as they see fit. I am very comfortable with my sexuality. But if I had an underage daughter, yes I would have a big problem with her being called a slut, and I think a lot of parents would too. I freely admit that I am very conservative when it comes to my views about young people having sex. Sex has consequences and a person who is immature is unlikely to be prepared to deal with those consequences. I am not saying all young people are immature, but many of them are.

  • Dumily

    So at 18, it's cool to be a sexual being? Clock strikes midnight and, bam, she's ready to do it? There's a magical slut line, and now she's old enough to cross it?

  • delle

    I didn't speak to specific ages, the point I was trying to make is about maturity and confidence. I am not saying maturity and confidence comes automatically at a specific age. For some people it is a lifelong battle, and for some people they get there at a very young age. However, I believe that for most people, we don't really reach a healthy level of maturity until we we live past our teens and have had more experience and time to understand ourselves and figure it all out. I never said it's not cool for young people to be sexual beings, as you put it; I don't believe that young people having sex is terrible, but I do believe that it is unfortunate when people engage in behaviours for the wrong reasons and live to regret it.

  • Dumily

    So what you're really saying is "it makes me sad when young people screw up." It doesn't really have anything to do with weather they're having sex, or dressing in a sexy way. We see what we believe to be risky behavior, and being making generalizations about how other people should behave. "Don't dress too sexy because sometimes people your age make mistakes about sexual activities." Is that really your point?

  • delle

    No, that isn't my point at all. Apparently I am unable to express myself in a way that you will understand what I am trying to say so I'm leaving it there.

  • Dumily

    But you didn't say that the problem is the (presumably exploitative) sexualization of children. You said "I've always taught them that no one will respect them if they don't
    respect themselves. That means not going to school with their asses and
    boobs hanging out, and yeah, acting like ladies." I get that there is a cognitive dissonance that happens when you're talking about your own family, but I think you can recognize that part of the issue here is that women are taught they can't be both sexual and respected. And there's no indication that girls the Crazy Mom is talking about aren't showing other aspects of their personalities. They could also be showing off their brains and senses of humor. Why is it that the sexually charged photo overrides all of the other characteristics about them? Also not that it matters that much, but I won't be having any kids.

  • kirbyjay

    I did say it was sexualization of children. The operative word was school.

  • Dumily

    In your original post, you didn't mention anything about the sexualization of children. You pretty blatantly equated being respected with not dressing in a sexy manner. And I don't see how school is the operative word. Could you expand on that?

  • Captain_Tuttle

    I have a son. Those of you who know me on Facebook know that my son is the best little dude ever in the history of ever, and that's an objective fact. The day he was born, scores of angels threw up their hands and quit the business, saying "how the fuck am I supposed to compete with that?"

    But, I am also a woman (of course). And if I ever find out that the little shit ever treats any woman (or person, really) rudely, crudely, poorly, or in any way other than with the highest respect, the lad will be on the receiving end of his mom's krav maga training, make no mistake. And at 5, he already knows that.

  • NateMan

    Please assume my upvote is actually 1,000 of them. Because that was great.

  • dizzylucy

    I'd be fascinated to know what that lunatic's relationship with her own parents was like. It seems like they, or someone, did a number on her brain.

    Tuesday and her dad are fantastic. It definitely does help calm the rage to know there are kick-ass people like them out there too.

  • Jezzer

    She's a Mormon. They're very Mormony.

  • e jerry powell

    Oy.

    I have to keep reminding myself that "Mormons: NALT."

  • NateMan

    Same shit, different day.The number of parents - male and female - who take quite literally all the pressure off teenage\young adult males and put it onto women is astounding. And how sad it is that this is not only what they think of young women, but also their sons? Your son is so out of control, so driven by his hormones, that he quite literally can't help himself from having unsafe or non-consensual sex? Are you raising human beings or chimps here?

  • GDI

    Literally, like, atmospheric pressure?
    That is quite amazing.

    No, but you are correct. Treating men as belligerent, walking erections is just as unhealthy and unjust as slut shaming.
    However, assuming that men lack agency over their sex drive just fuels the rape culture; or possibly, is the main propagator of it. This crosses the line from name calling to victim blaming. And that line can be crossed real quick.

  • DominaNefret
  • GDI

    I literally read the entire post.

  • DominaNefret

    That is literally the best article about grammar ever.

  • Wigamer

    Also, Tina looks weirdly like Olivia Munn in the header picture.

  • chanohack

    When I read that blog last week I was pretty irate and unable to really argue about it as well, and (no shit) I was hoping you'd bring it up here. (Also, I very much appreciate your appropriate use of "misogyny.")

  • Mrs. Julien

    things like this are so deeply rage-inducing that I’m rendered speechless

    Yes, absolutely. I go from zero to apoplectic in .3 seconds when these things come up. I find it confusing,angering and, most of all, profoundly saddening.

  • George Tarleton

    From the comments on her original article, in response to a very intelligent and insightful comment similar to Courtney's:

    What we’re doing is turning women into whores and men into victims. We need to break this link. I place the blame for this situation entirely upon advertisers and the porn industry. We need to teach love and respect in schools. Women need to be taught to respect boys by not teasing them by dressing like or acting like cheap hookers. Boys need to be taught to run when they see a cheap hooker approaching.

    Dear lord, what is wrong with people.

  • That kind of "save the defenseless boys from bad girls!" mentality is insane to me. I don't understand. I DON'T UNDERSTAND.

  • Wigamer

    Unfortunately, I do. Her blog would seem to indicate she's a Christian of the evangelical stripe, and this is part and parcel of that system of belief. Very few evangelicals have an understanding of church history, or even some basics of theology. Soooo...they make it up as they go, filling in the gaps in their knowledge with whatever feels right to them (or what political conservatives tell them) & decide it was revealed to them by God. It's a 1950s mindset & always will be.

  • John G.

    very few evangelicals Christians of all kinds have an understanding of church history.

  • Maguita NYC

    As long as the bible keeps blaming Eve for Adam eating that damn apple, there would be no new mindset when it comes to the religious beliefs.

  • Kris

    Eve needed a better lawyer.

  • Wigamer

    Or as long as men keep interpreting it literally & teaching it that way. Sure is convenient to have God on your side, innit?

    ETA--I mean, evangelicals are still up in arms about the ordination of women. In 2013.

  • Maguita NYC

    Well... That is the purpose of the book of god, innit? To interpret and abide by it blindly.

    As long as the bible keeps changing its content to suit some purpose, and keeps on denying women their right in history, those of "faith" will not soon to change their minds.

  • Wigamer

    I get what you're saying, I do. I think people of faith have done a terrible job of practicing what they preach and have absolutely used the Bible to justify any number of heinous things. Hypocrisy abounds. Which is obviously this freaky woman's issue, is what I'm trying to articulate.

  • Maguita NYC

    Oh, I was in total support of your comment! Sorry it sounded dry. And thank you so much for the Idris hotness!

  • Wigamer

    Also, Ms. NYC--something to relieve the tension

  • NateMan

    I do. It's used by parents who do such a shitty job raising their sons that they think they're just a bundle of uncontrollable impulses. To them, young men are no better than bulls. And if you wave a red flag - or a tiny red top - in front of a bull, you're going to get what you deserve. It's a woman's fault for putting themselves in that situation.

    So many people have very little use for responsibility, no matter what they say. It's always someone else's fault.

  • Guest

    I love Tina Fey, but she slut-shamed that Bombshell McGee woman on SNL pretty blatantly. I was disappointed.

  • Tyler Foster

    She has a pretty complicated history regarding slut-shaming. http://thenewinquiry.com/essay...

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