Stop Shaming Teenagers Because You Think They’re Hot

Screencap of Yahoo! Article describing outrage over Millie Bobby Brown's outfit

Courtesy Yahoo! News

Trigger Warning:  sex, sexuality, adolescent and teen sexuality, brief mention/discussion of sexual violence and rape.

I generally avoid anything related to “celebrity news,” but this needs saying loud and clear, so I’m gonna say it:

I’m glad I don’t live in a world – or in a mind – where I feel the need to body-shame a fifteen year old because I’m terrified that if I admit (out loud or even to myself) that I can see her cleavage and it makes me think vaguely about the concept of sex for second and a half, I’ll be socially outcast as a pervert even though that thought-line is entirely normal for a heterosexual adult man catching a glance of a decolletage developed enough to be called that.

We are sexually reproducing life forms; as long as we think we’re capable, we instinctively judge everyone we see, before nearly anything else, on their fitness as a reproductive partner.  If you want to be embarrassed about that you can, although in my opinion that’s totally unnecessary and maybe even not super healthy.  But please stop trying to pretend it doesn’t happen.  It happens automatically, at the gut level, with little to no conscious thought, but it happens, and it happens to you.

Humans are made to find human bodies attractive, and I find that most of them are, of any age, if you just look at them, and that includes all the bits that some of us don’t like to talk about.  That doesn’t mean I am attracted to all of them, but I can see they are attractive without feeling perverted or creepy about it, because I have zero perverted or creepy intent.

Let me drop that bomb again in case you missed it:  it is entirely possible and entirely normal to find someone sexually attractive and not be sexually attracted to them.

  • Well-adjusted adults with healthy sexual outlooks are capable of that (and most who aren’t well-adjusted – I’m not, and I’m capable of it).

    If you find that hard to believe, maybe you’re not as well-adjusted as you’d prefer to think.

    Human beings become sexually mature before they become emotionally or psychologically prepared for parenthood and relationships. That is a reality.

    We have a whole system of social conventions and laws built up to both protect young adults from predation and also to keep adults reminded that there are moral and ethical reasons why young adults shouldn’t be sexually active outside their age group until they grow in to the psychological and emotional maturity required to deal with the potential results of sexual activity, from love and babies to sti’s and domestic violence.  Indeed, almost by definition when they have reached that level of psychological and emotional maturity, they are no longer “young adults” but simply “adults.”  (Obligatory dad lecture:  anyone who is sexually active should always engage in safe sex practices including the use of condoms, birth control, and how to understand, respect, give, refuse, and withdraw consent.)

    I’m really tired of people – mostly men but also many women, and mostly female targets but it happens to young men too – trying to shame and bully women and young people about their bodies because they, the adults/men, are apparently so lacking confidence in their own self-control they’re afraid if they admit that someone too young for a grown adult to have sex with can still be sexy, they’ll be helpless to stop themselves from trying to have sex with teenagers.

    It’s exactly the perverts who can’t rip their eyes away who make all this noise, and it’s exactly them who turn out to be the predators and exploiters (no problem making billions on preteen beauty pageants, right?) themselves. They always make it about what they’re worried someone else will do, but it’s really about what they’re afraid *they’d* do if they had the chance and thought they could get away with it, and how guilty and ashamed that makes them feel.

    They see it as temptation because they find it tempting.

  • Nothing is inappropriate or disturbing about Millie Bobby Brown or her outfit, and it wouldn’t be even if she was completely naked. I think she looks great, and no I don’t think it’s inappropriate to say that out loud nor should it give her or me the slightest pause for concern, shame, discomfort, or embarrassment.

    What is inappropriate and disturbing is that we continue to allow people who have no self control, who are themselves the primary sources of prurient interest and hide behind grand public expressions of outrage as a smoke screen, to bully women and children into being uncomfortable with or ashamed of their bodies and sex.

    More importantly I think she’s a really talented young actor with a bright future and I think it’s obnoxious as hell we do this to teen actors, as soon as they start showing signs of sexual maturity the conversation immediately becomes totally about their bodies and how they look, and nothing at all about their work and what they do and what makes them good at it.  It’s insulting to them and it’s insulting to me as their fan, especially because it’s always done with euphemism and double-talk so if anyone calls you out on it you can just go ‘OMG I TOTALLY WASN’T EVEN THINKING THAT YOU PERV.”

    Bullshit, and to hell with you for even trying to run that bad lie past anyone.  I don’t want to think about people’s genitals, I want to watch a movie and enjoy a good performance.  Stop trying to make everyone else think about what YOU want think about.  YOU’RE the ones reducing the poor kid to a set of boobs, I just want to watch my show and see a great young actor rewarded with fame, respect, and recognition.

    Stop worrying about controlling OTHER people and worry about controlling yourselves, perverts. If you’re that worried about someone else’s body, you probably ought to sort that out in therapy instead of trying to bully women and children.

    Stop demanding the innocent and decent of all ages and genders cover themselves in fear and shame, and start demanding the prurient, indecent, and rapacious keep their damned hands – and their black bars – to themselves.

    Matthew 5:29.

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