That's me but those aren't my boobs. The boobs are a costume item I sold online for a while, made out of polyester and fiberfill. Great gift idea...good for baby showers and pot luck dinners.
Now that you've seen me in one of my favorite photos, are you able to control yourself? Especially if you are a red blooded heterosexual young male...can you tear your eyes and thoughts away long enough to see the woman behind the photo? Have I made you impure?
If I posted an even more naked photo, would you be able to look me in the eye?
I hope so.
At least that's the sentiment I left in a comment (still in moderation) on a blog post that's gone viral these last couple days. A quote from FYI (if you’re a teenage girl) on Given Breath on the subject of modesty of teenaged girls:
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 ever un-see it? You don’t want the Hall boys to only think of you in this sexual way, do you?
Many of you know that I'm the mother of sons. They are 19, 14 and 8. Because I'm the mother of sons and in general a conscientious person, I've been as thorough as I can be regarding their hormones and the subject matter of sex.
Let me give you an example. When my middle boy was in second grade he asked me why the baby his teacher was carrying didn't just fall out of her body before it was ready to be born. I got that kid in front of a computer, pulled up a diagram of a woman's reproductive system, and he learned that the part that keeps the baby inside is called a cervix. I also told him that many people are not as comfortable as his mother is when it comes to the subject of sex and reproduction, and so he shouldn't just repeat what I taught him in school. Then I forewarned his teacher. It would be an odd thing at circle time for the subject of her cervix to come up.
My oldest asked me what a period was at age 7. I told him. He asked what herpes was at age 12. I showed him. It led to a productive conversation on STDs and how they are transmitted. My middle asked me what the term "horizontal polka" meant. I told him. My youngest asked me how women got eggs in their bellies to make babies. I told him along with the help of YouTube and without euphemisms.
My children know that they can come to me and ask me any question. I will not bat an eye. I do not get embarrassed. I will answer with compassion. We talk about all of it. Male and female anatomy and function. Biology, hormones, drives and orientation. Sexual ethics, sexual consequences, and love.
Hell...I've even had a question and the ensuing conversation at Disneyland making the happiest place on earth all the more happy.
When you talk this way with your children you remove the mystery, the shame and the stigma of sex. AKA, the tee-hee factor.
What you get is young men and young women who have the tools to approach their sexuality in a matter of fact way rather than out of misguided emotion and unchecked instinct. While my sons may look at a photo of a lively young lady and have an impure thought or two, they also know that there is nothing wrong with them because of that. That they can put the thought in the proper context because they don't have to be ashamed or make a secret of having a normal reaction. They know, because their mother has taught them, that women are more than their parts or their clothes. They understand what their body is doing and why and what happens when they act out of ignorance, naivete or single minded lust.
Modesty is how we view other people and not how much of our naughty parts are covered. No one else is responsible for our thoughts and you can control them.
So, if my boys see something like this...
...the expectation I have laid at their feet is that while they may have sexual thoughts, Miley is a human being, and you will look her in the eye. Robin Thicke is a human being. You will treat him with consideration.
If they come upon imagery like this, they will have the tools to recognize that she is more than what we'd scorn her for. That her display only has the power they give it. She is worthy of respect and of kindness. You will look her in the eye.
This woman is not immodest and she has nothing to be ashamed of. She has the breasts that all women have. Her body is not bad and you seeing it doesn't make you bad. You will look her in the eye.
This woman is not an object. She is not a commodity. She has thoughts, feelings and struggles. She is a human being. You will look her in the eye.
This woman is not a temptress. Her body is not property. Her body is not evil. It will not cause you to become evil or out of control. The way she dresses is no more or less worthy of respect than any other woman on the planet. You will look her in the eye.
My sons bodies are not evil. They are not abnormal. They are not commodities. They are not animals. They are not clueless, thoughtless or incapable of decency.
So, having read all this and remembering back to my hilarious photo of my costume boobs, I'll ask you the question again.
Can you look me in the eye?
ETA (Sep. 9, 2013)
I'm talking sex ed. Go ahead and CLICK HERE!