A blog posting the other day from a mom to girls about their social media activity has garnered a lot of attention lately. I have not yet seen one review that was critical, nothing but praises. And rightly deserved too.
In this article the mom, (Kim Hall) makes many great arguments on why young women need to practice modesty online. I agree with all of them. Her message in many respects is great for young women.
Her main premise is that when girls and women dress immodestly, they pose a moral distraction and temptation to men. When they take pictures of themselves in immodest poses and post them online, the moral danger to young men is even greater because of its lasting effects.
Her proposed solution is to block the persons profiles from her sons accounts to limit the exposure. This is often a good solution. But I do not think it is a long term solution.
In the absence of sharing what her boys can do (aside from blocking friends) this article implicitly suggest two things that stood out to me:
1. Immoral thoughts on the part of men are the fault of women.
2. Women must make the effort to change, not men.
I just can’t come to grips that any of that is OK. I doubt Mrs. Hall is OK with that either. She is right though, men and boys will have thoughts about women when they see them dressed provocatively. But that has been happening for thousands of years. Even when modesty has been observed. So what can we do for our young men to see past the pictures.
Here is a little FYI, to parents (and future parents) of teenage boys.
1. Real men control their thoughts. It takes practice. It’s one of the milestones of transitioning from boy to man. Men see past the clothes, past the make up, past the errors of youth, and see all people – especially women – as God see’s them. It’s a parents responsibility to teach them how to do that. Not to turn away and ignore. It’s not easy. It’s hard. It’s even hard for adults. But if you can teach your young man to see themselves as a Child of God, and believe it – they will be able to see other’s as Children of God as well.
2. Compliments go a long way. When a woman, young or old, receive compliments on their wardrobe, it’s an incentive to wear that style of wardrobe more. Teach your young men to compliment modesty. These kinds of compliments can help wipe away media induced confusion about what is sexy, and instead become acutely aware of the personal value they possess beyond the looks.
3. Good judgement and being judgmental are completely different things. It is important to identify situations that might make your young men weak against temptation. It is just as important to identify the difference between situations and people. Blocking and avoiding people prevents opportunity to learn compassion, tolerance, understanding and mercy. Not all young women who have taken pictures in indecent poses knew what they were doing. In some cases, they were taught by media, peers and other sources that this kind of behavior is what makes them popular, wanted and loved. But it is not reflective of who she is. Who she can be. Who she will be. The sooner your young man is taught this, the sooner questionable media becomes ignored without the need for regular table top discussions.
When young men make the required changes in themselves to see others as God sees them, to be abundant with compliments that encourage modesty and make the effort to adopt Christlike attributes, the immoral thoughts that so easily beset my gender can be just as easily dismissed.