I was on Facebook the other day, and one of my Facebook friends posted a message geared toward teenage girls. I went to the post and read it. It was a beautiful blog post written by a lady named Kim Hall, and it was about an experience she had when opening some pictures on the internet from teenage girls who were posing and taking pics that were intended to be sexual provocative and what would happen if her sons were to view those pictures.
When I commented on this the other day, I checked the box to receive follow-up comments. Maybe I shouldn't have done that because my email box is overflowing with comments and I don't have time to read them right now.
Most of the comments are positive, and I am greatly encouraged. I am impressed with the fact that a mom took some time out to lovingly point out to the teenage girls, what they were doing, and how these pictures were not appropriate for young men, such as Mrs. Hall's sons, to look at. I know how easy it is to find sexually explicit pictures on the internet. One email server I had didn't have a spam filter and I would go through hundreds of emails every day and saw a lot of things I never saw before!
But I would like to comment on a few things that are happening with Mrs. Hall's blog post. There are a few people sending in nasty comments. Some are trying to accuse Mrs. Hall of hypocrisy, because there is a family picture posted which shows a family with sons who aren't wearing shirts. They aren't wearing shirts because they are at the beach. Men don't normally wear shirts on the beach anyway, but people are complaining because she has this picture posted while pointing out the error of the teenage girls posting their scantily clad nightwear on the internet.
There are a couple of things to keep in mind, that I want to bring up here when reading the original post by Mrs. Hall, and the comments that follow.
1. Boys respond differently to sexual impulses than girls do. Men are visual. Girls generally are turned on by touch or emotion, and are not as visually affected. That is why there is magazines like Playboy. That is why men struggle with porn on the internet. They are visually stimulated.
2. The subject of rape and victimizing has come up. Rape is a different subject than porn. Men don't see a sexually explicit picture then go off and rape a girl. The root of rape is anger. It has different causes than porn and has to be handled differently.
3. A picture of sexually explicit woman doesn't cause a man to rape a woman, therefore, a woman who has been raped is a woman who has been victimized and it is not her fault that she was raped. This is important to remember because some of the commenters are reading into Mrs. Hall's blog thoughts that suggest that she is saying that when a woman is raped, then it is her fault because she suggested it by sending provocative pictures on the internet. Like I said above, rape and porn are two separate subjects and rape has to be dealt with gracefully, and with sensitivity by a skilled counselor, pastor or caregiver. Commenters are in ignorance when they get these two issues confused.
4. Teenage girls do know what they are doing. They are intentionally putting these pictures on the internet, probably in order to get attention. I am sure that they do not understand the full response that could come their way. They might be doing this in order to get attention, but there are dangers involved that they might not be aware of, such as pedophiles or those scouting out potentials for the sex-slave trade.
5. We can, and should train our young men to be careful as to what they see. We want our young men to have godly desires and pure hearts. We would like for them to have to desire and the strength to not open a Playboy magazine if its in front of them. BUT, we have to remember that men are visual and they will remember visual impressions that they see. If a man is sitting in a park, and a woman goes past him dressed in a sexually provocative way, he will be affected. We can say, all we want to, about the man controlling himself, and that he probably will do. But, it is not fair to him, to have something come in front of him in his view that he didn't ask for. It will affect him. Women are responsible for the way they present themselves in public. I can give you personal examples of this, of things I now regret that I did in the past. If these pictures that Mrs. Hall is talking about happen to be on Facebook or in her's son's emails, it is not fair to the sons for these girls to send pictures that they will see. Yes, they will, by God's grace, have self control. But they will be stirred in a sexual way that they won't be able to fulfill.
6. We have two different standards that people are coming from. We have God's word (which we are all subject to, whether we like it or not) and we have the culture's standard. Many of the commenters are coming from the world's standard and viewpoint and are responding in a way that the world responds to things like this. The culture assumes that we can do whatever we want and as long as I am not hurting anyone then I can do whatever I want. So, when Mrs. Hall points out something that violates God's standard, the culture gets upset. They call Mrs. Hall names and say she is judgmental. They say she has a double standard. They have stereotyped her and are making all kinds of assumptions that really aren't there.
7. On the subject of judging. This is the most misunderstood subject the world uses when trying to defend their ability to continue in wrongdoing. The subject originally comes from Jesus' words recorded in Matthew 7. Jesus starts by saying 'Judge not, lest you be judged'. This has been taken to mean that a person can do whatever he or she wants, but don't you dare come to that person and tell them of the consequences of their wrong doing because you are 'judging' them. Judging in the Bible has more to do with faultfinding in others and using other's weaknesses to exalt ourselves. I was amazed to see how many people are criticizing Mrs. Hall and telling her that she is arrogant and that her sons are going to be doing sexual activities whether she likes it or not. Again, they are pointing out her 'double standard' because of the picture she posted of her family at the beach, with her sons wearing only shorts.
I applaud Mrs. Hall for what she has done. We need to take a stand for what is right and valuable. People today have not been taught about sowing and reaping. We have also not been taught about eternal perspectives. We live for today, and what is easiest, most convenient, and what makes us happy right now. We don't realize that there are consequences for everything we do, whether small or significant.
A question we can ask ourselves, that will help put things into perspective is this; Would I be doing the same activities I do every day, if Jesus were in the same room as I am? How would things change if I knew that Jesus was coming to my house this afternoon? Something to think about...
Here is the url for Mrs. Hall's blog:
FYI - If You're a Teenage Girl
(I noticed that she took off the pictures of the family at the beach and replaced them with other pictures of the family).
For a good example of the culture's response to Mrs. Hall's post, go to:
Huffington Post Response To FYI Mrs. Hall's Blog Post
(Was she really 'shaming' the girls or was she just talking frankly to them?)