‘Hey Girls’ breast meme: Cyber bullying or reasonable message of modesty?

A meme about girls keeping their breasts inside their shirts is making the rounds and some people are asking if it’s cyber bullying.

Click here to see the photos of the meme. If you search “Hey Girl” on Facebook a lot of things come up. Some have a similar message about the breasts but in dirtier terms.  (And for some reason a male escort from Spokane popped up as well.)

So here is the background and controversy according to Headline News:

“Last summer, on June 18, a Tumblr user posted the original four-pane image, seemingly innocuous amongst the typical flotsam of a teenage Tumblr page. Though it was deleted quickly, the picture had struck a chord that no delete button could erase. The “Hey girls, did you know?” picture went viral, and others followed. Some responses attacked the original message, including a popular copy that read, “Girls, did you know that, uhmm, your boobs can go wherever they want. Because it’s YOUR body.” Thousands of images cropped up on Facebook and Tumblr, ranging from the offensive (”Open books, not legs”) to the frustrated (”Hey girls, did you know? These pictures are really annoying.”) That’s the thing about memes. They never die, they simply evolve, folding over and into themselves in never-ending mutations and exchanges….”

So is this “slut-shaming” or just some good advice to keep your privates private?From Headline News:

For those unfamiliar with the term, “slut-shaming” is a rather jarring umbrella term for any words or actions that seek to put down or guilt women and girls who, in some general court of opinion, act in perceived “slutty” or “promiscuous” ways. Rush Limbaugh chastising Sandra Fluke over issues of birth control? Slut-shaming. An Instagram question from Sweden asking for all “sluts” to be identified? Slut-shaming. And now, the once-innocuous picture of a girl advising other girls to cover up ranks among them….”

Some publications including The Daily Mail have called the trend alarming. From Headline News:

“A few things to note: Several voices have identified the term slut-shaming as self-defeating; bringing hurtful words and assumptions into conversations that may not have included them before. Also, if one were to scroll through the exhaustive tiles of “Hey Girls” pictures and their natural mutations, they would see several messages aimed at males, a fair amount fighting back against the shaming undertone of the original, and far more that veer off into predictably dadaist strains of parody.”

So my question is do you think this is cyber bullying or is this a message that girls needs to hear. Should other girls tell girls, hey you don’t have to reveal your private parts to draw attention or be validated?

I had a talk with my 11-year-old over the weekend about girls with low self-esteem and how they look to boys to lift their self-esteem and end up doing things they regret.

I think the message of being modest is a good one, but I guess it’s a question of how the message is presented and if girls feel intimidated by it?

What do you think?

17 comments Add your comment

Voice of Reason

January 15th, 2013
12:16 pm

Ladies, if you’ve got it, and you are old enough to do it, I say, flaunt it.

If you are too old, though, please pack em away, please?

Also, Hey Guys! Did you know? That a banana hammock is not a bathing-suit.

/Rant over

DB

January 15th, 2013
12:18 pm

I wish more WOULD tell younger girls that having their boobs hanging out and having their butt cheeks peeking out from under a too-short skirt is neither elegant, attractive or sexy. Cyber-bullying? I don’t see it. “Slut-shaming” is neither new or improved — women who have acted outside of the perceived societal norms throughout history have been called far worse things than “sluts”.

Chaos

January 15th, 2013
12:21 pm

@Voice

I agree, nobody wants to see saggy fun bags.

daleio

January 15th, 2013
12:58 pm

If they’re big, let them hang out—good stuff!!

FCM

January 15th, 2013
1:18 pm

I am pretty sure I read a story once about a time before internet. As I recall the woman in the story did something that everyone thought was just WRONG. I guess they did slut shaming because they forced her to wear a giant red A on her clothes so everyone would know!

I sure am glad they did because it made sure that behavior stopped.

Jessica

January 15th, 2013
2:26 pm

A meme seems like an impersonal, relatively harmless way to help some women realize that it’s really NOT okay to go out in public with nearly everything exposed. Apparently, some mothers have not bothered to teach their daughters that indecent clothing isn’t glamorous, sophisticated, or sexy. Dressing that way might attract interest from a few scumbags looking for an easy lay, but it won’t help girls gain real admiration or respect. If an e-card makes them feel ashamed enough to put on more clothes, GOOD.

FCM

January 15th, 2013
3:13 pm

@ Jessica…but that is the thing it is up to the parent to set the guidelines. My older daughter (was with me) wore a sweater dress to church with a cami under it. She went to her dad’s and attempted to wear the same dress without one and he would have let her…THANK GOD her Aunts and Stepmom stopped that.

Now sweater dresses do outline um attributes (in this case a butt) and so do others things including jeans. So is that acceptable?

My daughter has more of a bust then I did at her age and I am not hesitant to tell her that declotage needs something! Right now I have a war on spagetti strapped tanks as acceptable to wear as a top without a cover.

MANGLER

January 15th, 2013
3:41 pm

That meme is harmless. It is neither rude or offensive. It’s not like it’s a picture of a Dr in his 60’s speaking from his position of elected authority telling women that their bodies have natural ways to shut down the effects of rape, or anything like THAT.

Wayne

January 15th, 2013
3:48 pm

All I recall when I was a kid was girls changing their clothes soon as they left the house. Either they wore them under their ‘go to school’ clothes, or had them in a backpack.

MatthewH

January 15th, 2013
4:09 pm

Maybe, I don’t get it, but how is it offensive (as mentioned in the Headline News article) to say, “Open books, not legs”? I have a daughter, and I certainly plan on saying something very similar to her when she is older. Luckily, she ’s 3 now, so I have a little bit of time.

missnadine

January 15th, 2013
8:03 pm

If my daughter had a declotage, I would be worried too, since that word makes no sense :). Please don’t use foreign words if you don’t know how to spell them! There is my rant for the day.

Shark Punch!

January 16th, 2013
12:03 am

Hey girls…did you know…that there are many people in this world with anger, depression, and self-esteem issues, and it gives them an artificial sense of importance when they vent their frustrations on the internet? Don’t let a complete stranger, not even a NetFamous one, preach to you about how to live your life.

NatsGirl

January 16th, 2013
9:00 am

It’s all in the delivery. This meme is meant to mock girls, not help them, hence it is slut shaming. An open and honest dialogue about the benefits of modesty is a totally different thing. This is not that.

jarvis

January 16th, 2013
3:02 pm

Wouldn’t cyber bullying be delivered at an individual rather than a meme stating a point of view?

jarvis

January 16th, 2013
3:03 pm

That said, I like boobs.

Markmiller

January 17th, 2013
2:59 am

Of course, it is bullying. Racist/sexist comments, comments about skin, color, weight as well as nationality amounts to bullying and these bullies are nothing but psychos who need medical help. At home, I use a free app called Qustodio to monitor who my girl talks to on facebook as the app allows me to watch the profile pictures of accounts she interacts with. My way of ensuring that she stays safe. Just Google for it.

Not A Mom

January 17th, 2013
11:09 am

@FCM It’s decolletage.