FYI (if you’re a teenage girl)

***Snark alert!! This post is written in response to this post by Mrs. Hall. ***

Dear girls,

I have some information that might interest you. Last night, as we sometimes do, our family sat around the dining-room table and looked through the summer’s social media photos. Because, you know, we’re over-controlling helicopter parents who don’t trust our sons.

At the cottage

I know you would like for me to post outrageously sexy photos of my boys here and, truth be told, I would do that if I had any. Because I’m hypocritical like that. It’s okay for boys to be naked and sexy, but not for girls. Remember that, teenage girl. Remember that. But I don’t have those photos, so you’ll have to settle for pics of my boys working. See – it’s that control thing I have.

We have teenage sons, and so naturally there are quite a few pictures of you lovely ladies to wade through. Wow – you sure took a bunch of selfies in your skimpy pj’s this summer!  Your bedrooms are so cute! Our eight-year-old daughter brought this to our attention, because with three older brothers who have rooms that smell like stinky cheese, she notices girly details like that.

I think the boys notice other things. For one, it appears that you are not wearing a bra. And, as we all know, every girl should wear a bra 24/7 to keep her girls covered up. Because boys – especially MY boys – shouldn’t be exposed to the real world and to ((ahem)) girls.

I get it – you’re in your room, so you’re heading to bed, right? But then I can’t help but notice the red carpet pose, the extra-arched back, and the sultry pout.  What’s up? None of these positions is one I naturally assume before sleep, this I know. And, because I am a self-righteous mother who deems herself to be the gold standard for the world, you shouldn’t assume those positions either.

So, here’s the bit that I think is important for you to realize.  If you are friends with a Vogel boy on Facebook or Instagram or Twitter, then you are friends with the whole Sathre-Vogel family. All of us, because we don’t trust our sons to make good choices. By being a friend of all of us, my husband and I can make those decisions. And that’s just more power for me!

Please know that we genuinely like staying connected with you this way!  We enjoy seeing things through your unique and colorful lens – you are insightful, and often very, very funny. It’s just that we expect YOU to conform to OUR expectations. Because we’re control freaks, you see.

daryl push rock

I bet you wish that this was a sexy photo of my son. But we make ‘em work. Yes, that’s my husband there, driving the kid, making him earn his keep. That’s one way we maintain control over these boys of ours. Another way is keeping sluts like you out of their Facebook stream.

Which is what makes your latest self-portrait so extremely unfortunate. That photo of  you, in your bedroom before you go to sleep. It’s unfortunate because you are popping my sons’ bubble and showing them stuff I don’t want them to see. *I* would never show that side of myself to my sons. Because I want them to remain babies, tethered to my side for eternity.

That post doesn’t reflect who you are at all! We think you are lovely and interesting, and usually very smart. But, we had to cringe and wonder what you were trying to do? Who are you trying to reach? What are you trying to say? Were you trying to say that teenage girls have feelings? And emotions? And maybe sometimes they feel a little bit sexy? That’s too bad, because showing those feelings to teenage boys is a bad idea. A VERY bad idea.

It’s a bad idea because my sons just might start realizing there is more to this world than the protective bubble wrapping I’ve cloaked them in. And… well, you know… that would mean that I might be losing control. You wouldn’t want to be the cause of *me* losing control, would you?

And now – big bummer – we have to block your posts. Because, the reason we have these (sometimes awkward) family conversations around the table is that we care about our sons, just as we know your parents care about you. Although, maybe your parents don’t care for you as much as I care for my sons. If they did, they would keep you under their thumb and not allow you to make choices for yourself – just like I do for my sons. I do that because I know that my sons are not capable of making good decisions for themselves. And well, as long as I prevent them from learning those skills, then I will be in control. That’s a good thing, no?

I know your family would not be thrilled at the thought of my teenage boys seeing you only in your towel. Or, at least, I think they wouldn’t. Did you know that once a male sees you in a state of undress, he can’t quickly un-see it? And that is something that I can’t control. You don’t want to make me lose control over my sons, do you?

Neither do we. We’re more than that. We’re control freaks and helicopter parents who can’t stand the thought that our sons will one day soon be out in the real world. We’re doing the best we can to keep them innocent and naïve and dependent so that I have more power. Because power over my children is what I crave.

davy saw

There’s not much more sexy than a boy with a saw, no? It’s okay to post sexy pics of boys, because there is a double standard out there. I’m okay with that.

And so, in our house, there are no second chances with pics like that, ladies. We have a zero tolerance policy. I know, so lame. But it’s really important – I couldn’t stand the possibility of having my sons develop thoughts and feelings of their own. I shudder at the thought that maybe they would develop some independence and learn to control their own thoughts and feelings.

If you want to stay friendly with our sons online, you’ll have to keep your clothes on, and your posts decent.  If you post a sexy selfie (we all know the kind), or an inappropriate YouTube video – even once – it’s curtains. See? That’s how I maintain control. It’s curtains for my sons. No second chances. Ever. Because I’m badass like that.

I know that sounds so old-school, but we are hoping to raise men with a strong moral compass, and men of integrity don’t linger over pictures of scantily clad high-school girls. Or so we say. Really, what we’re hoping to raise are men who don’t know right from wrong; who rely on me for every little thing they do. I don’t want them to have a moral compass – I want them to depend on me my whole life. I don’t really care what happens after I die. I’m selfish like that – let them flounder, for all I care.

Every day I pray for the women my boys will love. I pray they, too, are willing to come under my all-powerful presence. They better, because I will not allow my boys to marry them unless they agree to bend to my every wish. I hope my sons will be drawn to real beauties, the kind of women who will leave them better people in the end. And by better, I mean wishy-washy, spineless wimps who live with me because they don’t have the skills to do anything on their own.

I also pray that my sons will be worthy of this kind of woman, that they will be patient – and act honorably – while they wait for her. And wait. And wait. And wait…

daryl rock

 

Girls, it’s not too late! If you think you’ve made an on-line mistake (we all do – don’t fret – I’ve made some doozies, even today!), RUN to your accounts and take down the closed-door bedroom selfies that makes it too easy for friends to see you in only one dimension. Make sure you don’t leave up anything that might cause my sons to see the world for what it is. Do everything in your power to empower me to enable my sons’ ignorance. It’s your responsibility girls! You. Must. Help. Me. Retain. Power.

Will you trust me? Please? Pretty please? There are boys out there waiting and hoping for women of character. Women who are so ashamed of their bodies that they can’t bear the thought of exposing their shoulder in a picture. Women who realize that it’s their own damn fault that men like my sons can’t control their thoughts.

Some young men are fighting the daily uphill battle to keep their minds pure, and their thoughts praiseworthy – just like you. They are also fighting an uphill battle to remain weak and under my power. Please help me with that, girls. You wouldn’t want the responsibility of my son growing up, would you? You wouldn’t want to bear the blame your whole life long that you caused my son to gain independence and leave his over-controlling mother, would you?

You are growing into a real beauty, inside and out. Except that, you need to hide that. Seriously – go cover up. Pull out those long pants and long sleeve shirt even though it is 100 degrees outside. And yeah – you should probably put a hat on too, because maybe the sight of your hair would be too much for my sons. Because, you know, they can’t be expected to control their own thoughts, desires, and actions. I. Must. Do. It. For. Them.

Act like a good little girl I can be proud of. Speak like her. Post like her. Don’t make my sons think for themselves. Be a good little girl.

Mrs. Sathre-Vogel

 

Here is my response to her.

Dear Mrs. Hall,

You blew it in two ways. Blew it big time. In fact, I think this is one of those doozies you refer to in your post – one that you should RUN to take down NOW.

First, as has been pointed out thousands of times by now, is the obvious double standard you hold and are perpetuating. For some reason, you deem it acceptable to post pics of your scantily-clad sons, proudly showing off their tanned skin and nice physiques. Doing sexy muscle poses, no less. In the very same article where you bash young women for doing the same. Double standard much?

But for me, the worst part of your letter is where you say/imply that your sons are not capable of controlling themselves, therefore the girls must do whatever they can to protect your sons. I think you are selling your boys short – WAY short.

Each one of us needs to make choices about what we will and won’t do. When I’m walking down the beach and see some handsome man struttin’ his stuff in a Speedo, it’s not okay for me to go throw myself on him. It’s okay if he arouses feelings or emotions within me, but it’s *MY* job to control my actions. And I believe that I CAN control my actions. I am not some bimbo with out-of-control hormones who can’t say no.

That’s all I expect from my sons. It’s okay for them to have thoughts and feelings, but *THEY* are in control of their actions. Not the girl, my boys. It is my boys who have to learn to control themselves and I will not – ever – say it is okay for my sons to blame their own actions on somebody else’s behavior.

Unless somebody is holding a gun to your head demanding that you do something, you have control over what you do.

I hope that, at some point, you realize that your sons’ behavior is your sons’ responsibility, and stop blaming the girls.

books by Nancy Sathre-Vogel

About Nancy Sathre-Vogel

After 21 years as a classroom teacher, Nancy Sathre-Vogel finally woke up and realized that life was too short to spend it all with other people's kids. She and her husband quit their jobs and, together with their twin sons, climbed aboard bicycles to see the world. They enjoyed four years cycling as a family - three of them riding from Alaska to Argentina and one exploring the USA and Mexico. Now they are back in Idaho, putting down roots, enjoying life at home, and living a different type of adventure. It's a fairly sure bet that you'll find her either writing on her computer or creating fantastical pieces with the beads she's collected all over the world.

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16 Responses to FYI (if you’re a teenage girl)

  1. Lisa September 5, 2013 at 10:03 pm #

    Love this…..such a great response!

    [Reply]

    Nancy Sathre-Vogel Reply:

    @Lisa, Thank you. Her control freak nature really rubbed something the wrong way!

    [Reply]

  2. Shannon McMillan September 5, 2013 at 11:37 pm #

    I thought you had lost your ever-loving mind for a moment there, until you posted the link. Then it made sense! :)
    I didn’t know I was supposed to go over an entire summer of freaking photos on my sons’ pages. I would be here all week. That is not going to happen. I would rather create an open dialogue with my boys when they see photos like that. Because they show me and they ask questions. They are still young enough to ask lots of questions. I hope that never changes. When it does though, I will know that I’ve answered enough to give them the knowledge to go out and make their own decisions. Bad or good.

    [Reply]

    Nancy Sathre-Vogel Reply:

    @Shannon McMillan, I should have put a warning at the top of the page! It’s there now :) And that open dialogue is so very important – that’s where the real lessons are.

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  3. Jacqueline queen September 6, 2013 at 6:09 am #

    I was totally confused by this, Nancy! I knew it was much too ‘over the top’ for you. I know that you and your boys will discuss and question things, and on your travels, they must have seen enough to know what a human body looks like. I know that your boys are fine young men and don’t need any father (or mother) to stand over them and force them to work. They will know when they are needed to help and just get on with it. It’s all to do with the way you have brought them up and the relationship you all have together as a family. I did know there were controlling families, but what a way to bring up children!

    [Reply]

    Nancy Sathre-Vogel Reply:

    @Jacqueline queen, I went ahead and put a little “snark alert” at the top of the post – should have thought of that earlier. I think kids need to know that it’s okay to be silly/sexy/whatever. They need to learn how to react appropriately and take control of their own actions. Blaming your reaction on a girl posting pics just doesn’t make sense.

    [Reply]

  4. Jessica September 6, 2013 at 8:02 am #

    That was fantastic! Poor Mrs. Hall-I really don’t think her view of the world is very broad at all. For example, I don’t think it even occurred to her that posting pictures of her shirtless sons would be a double standard.

    [Reply]

    Nancy Sathre-Vogel Reply:

    @Jessica, I know! She seemed genuinely baffled when people started pointing out the double standard. It’s okay for boys to be sexy, but not girls. Hmmmm…

    [Reply]

  5. Kim September 8, 2013 at 12:00 am #

    Great response – I just wish you’d posted a warning at the top about what you were doing! When I started reading I was annoyed that you were giving this woman more play, that you were reposting her woman-shaming post. Still, thanks!

    [Reply]

    Nancy Sathre-Vogel Reply:

    @Kim, Great idea! I just put a little “snark alert” at the top of the page.

    [Reply]

  6. Susan September 9, 2013 at 12:58 pm #

    I checked her page. Your response is not on it. She had a note saying that rude comments would be deleted. Guess she thought you were rude. Figures. But the good news? She says she no longer has time to moderate everything. Now you can post your response to her. I encourage you to do so; she needs to hear what you said.

    [Reply]

    Nancy Sathre-Vogel Reply:

    @Susan, I doubt she will read my response, but at last it’s out there. Sounds like she’s been inundated.

    [Reply]

  7. Jacqueline queen September 14, 2013 at 1:41 pm #

    I see I wasn’t the only person who thought you were writing contrary to what we knew were your beliefs. I did enjoy the really sexy picture of Davy with the saw – ha-ha. (Don’t know how to put a smiley here).

    [Reply]

    Nancy Sathre-Vogel Reply:

    @Jacqueline queen, There’s nothing sexier than a boy with a saw, eh?

    [Reply]

  8. Deia @NomadWallet November 1, 2013 at 9:01 pm #

    Nancy, I love this post. In fact, this post has aroused some desires within me that I cannot speak of. Did you know that once you let a post like this loose, I can’t un-read it? I’m fighting the daily uphill battle of actually doing productive things online every once in a while. ;)

    (Seriously, I just found your blog and I’ll be following via RSS.)

    [Reply]

    Nancy Sathre-Vogel Reply:

    @Deia @NomadWallet, HA! I did get a bit snarky on this one, eh? Welcome to our world!

    [Reply]

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