Ask Aunty Pam: Should I apologize for telling the truth?
Published 12:14 pm Monday, January 16, 2023
Dear Aunty Pam,
I’m in the doghouse and I’m hoping you can help me. My wife and daughter are furious with me but I think my point is valid and makes sense. I’m hoping you can help. I like your column and usually agree with your advice, so here goes.
My wife, daughter and granddaughter are all on social media a lot. I have a Facebook page with just a few friends and that’s it, but my wife is on Instagram and Tik Tok, and my granddaughter’s on even more. The problem is I looked at my granddaughter’s Instagram page and was shocked. This girl is 14, she is quite well ‘endowed,’ and in every photo she puts up there for the world to see she is wearing very revealing clothing. She also is wearing lots of makeup and striking sultry poses.
Well, she and my daughter came over for dinner over the holidays, along with my two sons and I casually brought up what I’d seen and said I was worried she was going to attract the wrong kind of attention. Her mother, my daughter (who also, in my opinion, shows off way too much flesh in her photos) said my granddaughter is trying to become “an influencer” and that “all the kids are doing it” and they can make good money, etc. I was horrified and things escalated from there. In my anger, I said that what she’s doing is no different than prostitution, making money off her body and looks and no 14-year-old should be doing that. My daughter became furious and began yelling, ‘Who do you think you are, saying that to your own granddaughter?” So I said, “I guess I think I’m honest because that’s the truth. And I’m ashamed that, as your mother, you also are putting your body out there in sexy photos, too.”
When I said that, she jumped up and said she wasn’t going to sit there and be insulted and allow “an old man with a dirty mind” to talk to her like that, then she and my granddaughter stormed out. My wife hasn’t spoken to me in a week and blames me for bringing it up and starting WW3 at the table.
What should I do, Aunty Pam? I can’t bring myself to apologize because the truth is the truth, but it sure is cold in my house.
Oh, my, don’t you just love holiday gatherings? But listen, Fido, while the truth is indeed the truth, it needn’t always be tucked inside a gym sock full of quarters and slung up against someone’s head. For what it’s worth—I agree with you—I’m horrified by really young girls pouting and preening with revealing clothes all over social media. It really reduces them to sexual objectification of their own making and puts them at risk of the downright danger from sex trafficking. But there is a way of getting your point of concern across in a more diplomatic way than saying your granddaughter is behaving like a hooker.
I find asking questions can be helpful: “So, Amber, you want to be an ‘Influencer’— what does that mean? Oh, I see, so to attract lots of ‘followers,’ you have to dress a certain way and pose a certain way?” You get my drift. Not accusingly, or with malice, just genuine interest. Because sometimes, when people have to explain their actions—actions they very well may want, they realize that they’ve not really thought about those actions as much as they should.
As far as your wife is concerned, for the sake of peace in your household, perhaps you can compromise and say that you agree that the way you went about your concerns—at the holiday dinner table—was definitely not the way to go, and you apologize, but you do still have grave concerns for your granddaughter’s safety. And here’s hoping she agrees.