In case you missed it, this post has been floating around the interwebs: http://givenbreath.com/2013/09/03/fyi-if-youre-a-teenage-girl/
I think it sucks. So here is my version.
I have some information that is probably of no interest to you, because you are busy living your own life. But just in case you are unusually bored today and have nothing better to do, I will continue. My son is only 12 weeks old and not really that in to social media at this point in time, but let’s pretend he is almost grown and really into Facebook, or whatever you youngsters are into nowadays.
It has come to my attention that some families sit around the dinner table passing around their I Phone (version 20s, I suppose). This seems fairly odd to me, but I suppose this may be a normal occurrence once I have an adolescent boy. Whatever. But let’s say we were doing this and for whatever reason decided to internet stalk young girls…
We noticed you weren’t wearing a bra. Don’t you love that feeling of freedom? My favorite thing to do at the end of the day is to take off my bra. Or sometimes not because I was never wearing one to begin with. It just depends. My son may or may not have noticed. He probably wouldn’t feel the need to comment on it anyway because, crazy story, he has nipples too! And he knows what breasts are. He spent the first few years of his life attached to mine. He knows what they are for and that they do amazing things to feed young people. He knows they are part of the body and the body is beautiful in its myriad of shapes and forms. He also knows that people, him included, can wear whatever the hell they want and it says nothing about them other than that is what they felt like wearing that day.
We also noticed that you were posing a certain way. Far be it from me to assume your intentions, and it really is none of my business. But if for some reason you were trying to be sexy, I want you to know that it is okay and perfectly normal. You are entering a time in your life when you are exploring your new-found sexuality. I hope you have had mentors in your life that have taught you how to do this in a healthy and age appropriate way and I hope you enjoy this new aspect of your life. I hope this for my son, too.
So, please understand that we don’t intend to make a habit of stalking you on Facebook, because let’s face it- that’s kind of creepy. Unless of course you decide to friend me or something, which would make me feel hip and kind of cool again. And know that whatever interaction you have with my son in private will remain private unless he decides to share them with me. Because he is his own person and I trust him and the fact that he has a Facebook demonstrates that I think he is mature enough to handle it.
You posts reflect the part of you that you want to share with people and all of those facets of yourself wonderful. They do not retract at all from any other aspect of yourself- intelligence, beauty, and kindness.
But here is the bummer- some people may judge you. They may tell you that you don’t have the right to be yourself. That there is something shameful about your body or that you are somehow responsible for how their children react you. They may even have the audacity to post a picture of their half-naked son in the same post as they are telling you to put some clothes on. I just want you to know that it’s bullshit. They are hypocritical, judgmental, and misogynist. You are only responsible for you.
So wear whatever you want and do whatever you want. My son will decide if he would like to be friends with you based on your character, not your profile picture. And if he does treat you like an object, please let me know because I raised him better.
This may sound odd, but you see- in our family we respect each other as unique individuals who have control over their own bodies. If my son decides to linger over your picture, that is his choice and if I for some reason have a problem with that, I will hold him accountable, not you.
I spend time thinking about who my boy will love, and I don’t assume that person will have a vagina. I only hope that the person will love him and encourage him in life, and that my son will love this person for their heart and not how they choose to dress themselves. In the meantime, I hope he also gets the chance to explore his own sexuality and grow as a person and not feel wrong or dirty or dishonorable for acknowledging his real emotions.
If you decide to dress differently or act differently- don’t be afraid to try new things. Just make sure you are doing it for yourself and not to fit into any predetermined labels seeking to ascertain your worth. You can’t control other people’s imaginations.
There are plenty of people out there who love you for exactly who you are.
Just be yourself.