On selfies. Oh, and why I disagree with 'FYI (if you're a teenage girl)'

As a teenager, I was hassled, touched and sexually harassed - even when I looked like this! (Oh, and that's me in the middle, just in case you couldn't figure out which one I was. 

As a teenager, I was hassled, touched and sexually harassed - even when I looked like this! (Oh, and that's me in the middle, just in case you couldn't figure out which one I was. 

There's an article going viral right now called FYI (If you're a teenage girl) in which a concerned mum of teenage boys counsels girls of the same age to be careful of the selfies they post on social media.  

It's kinda sweet, I guess, that she wants to protect her sons. She says: "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?" 

But it gets my goat. Again.

I posted here about how it's really not about what you're wearing.  Once again, this article is making girls responsible for boys.

But it's just not that simple. If girls are supposed to watch what they wear so that boys don't 'behave badly' towards them, all I can say is that it doesn't work. I grew up in Pakistan where *everyone* dresses more modestly than in western cultures. But I've had my bottom pinched, been catcalled and been called the Urdu version of slut and whore while dressed in baggy clothes which reached from neck to wrist to ankle with my head covered. 

I am not responsible for your response to me, gentlemen. I'm really not.

This is my message to the mother of the Hall boys. Teach your sons to be responsible for themselves. Teach them to value girls for their friendship, their brains, their wit, their character. Teach them that if they want to look away, they can. Teach them that girls are not responsible for *their* sexual responses.  They, and they alone are responsible.

Now. Don't stop reading. The most important bit is over. But you don't get to think that I'm just fine with my 14 year old daughter posting half-nude, pouty selfies on facebook or instagram.

I don't want my daughter to post that kind of image anywhere. But it's for completely different reasons. 

Here's the main reason:

The internet is public.

These kinds of pictures are private. When you start putting private stuff (and I'm talking about pictures, writing, speaking, whatever) out there for everyone to see, you're going to run into trouble. Pretty much guaranteed. You'll be misunderstood, put into a box, misinterpreted and treated in ways you may not have expected. 

I see it like this. Test 1: Would you walk down the street looking like this? Test 2: Would you like your grandma to see this?  If the answer is no to either one, you should not post it.

The other reasons are these.

When you're 14 (or 15 or 16 or 17 or 18) you lack judgment. 

What seems like a great idea now can actually be a really stupid idea. But teenagers don't know this. They don't have the foresight to see what meanings can attach to what they post and like and play. When you're able to think adult thoughts, then you may post adult pictures (if you want to, but more than likely, you won't want to because you'll have better judgment.)    

 It's not classy. Trinny and Susannah wouldn't approve. 

And that's pretty much how we guage how we dress around here. Classy is good. Questionable isn't.

So, FYI, if you're a teenage girl. Keep the sultry pics off social media. But do it for yourself, and for your future, because you can't ever erase things from the internet! But don't do it because you think you have to be responsible for the responses of people you can never ever be responsible for.  Because I'll tell you: you can never, ever do that one well enough.