Dear Mrs. Hall,
I saw your letter to teenage girls yesterday posted by several friends in my Facebook feed. Friends I admire. Friends with whom I have deep, true things in common. Friends who are strong women who care deeply about the character of their kids and my kids and all our kids. Friends who found richness and beauty and wisdom in what you shared about teenage girls and sexuality and online presence.
I was torn up by your letter. And not in a good way.
And I tried to let it go. To release it and let it be. But here I am, 24 hours later, still thinking about it. Still mulling it over. Still dwelling on it. Still imagining, if you were here in my house with a freshly brewed cup of coffee, sitting on my slightly sticky couch, what we might say to each other. How I might respond to you in person.
Because you are a person, which seems to have been forgotten by many of the folks who commented on your post. You are a lovely person who is obviously involved and invested in raising your sons to the very best of your ability because you love them and you want what’s best for them. And I want to give you mad props for that and to tell you I understand how hurtful it can be when people judge the public persona and not the heart. I, for example, was once called a “classic example of a woman who puts herself up on a pedestal” for writing about the ways we women are all becoming; as in, already lovely and still in process. And it sucks to be called names online.
But I did have a problem with your letter, and, as I have both a teenage daughter and a teenage son, I feel compelled to respond. To gently and, I hope, kindly open a dialogue that offers some alternative thoughts. Whether I actually push “publish” on this is another decision entirely. We’ll see. We’ll see.
Mrs. Hall, I know that the most vocal criticism about your letter to teenage girls and, specifically, your reminder that they reconsider their provocative poses and their public state of dress is the fact that you published pictures of your boys wearing low-slung swim trunks without shirts and making muscle poses on the beach. I saw lots of suggestions that, if those pictures hadn’t been there as a “hypocrisy” or “double standard,” the rest of the your letter was wonderful.
But I actually had a tough time with your words, not the pictures. And that’s what unsettled me all day. The idea that your words were written to teenage girls, and, to personalize it, to my teenage girl.
So I’d like to go through your letter and talk about it a little and pray for the right words to express what bothered me.
I see that you and your family look at each other’s social media feeds together. At Facebook and Instagram and maybe others, and I just want to say, HOORAY! I love that you do this. I love this part of your message. I love that your boys know you’re part of their online community. And I love that you’re telling our teenager daughters that they’re part of a bigger, broader community, too. We can see you is a good thing for our girls to know. It’s a good thing for our boys to know, too, of course… but your letter implies that, even though it doesn’t say it out loud.
And so I read the start of your letter cheering you on.
But then you mentioned the part about the bra. And I started to feel a little unsettled. Because I didn’t see the picture you saw, so I don’t know how you knew, with your sons and your daughter around you, that the girl in question wasn’t wearing one. I think it’s clear, based on your letter, that you’re concerned about overt sexuality and come-hither eroticism and not trying to make a cultural statement about whether or not girls should have to wear bras. I don’t know how closely your family had to look to determine that one was absent. I assume the “the red carpet pose, the extra-arched back, and the sultry pout” were part of the clue, so I assume the bralessness was obvious, but I don’t know if you critiqued the photo that specifically with your family present, so I don’t know whether you quickly blocked that picture or detail-by-detail discussed the girl’s body with your boys.
Then you mentioned the towel. “I know your family would not be thrilled at the thought of my teenage boys seeing you only in your towel,” you wrote. “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? Neither do we.”
That’s when my stomach sunk. Please, please tell me if I’m reading too much into what you’re saying here, but it looks like you’re suggesting that once a male sees a female in only a towel, he can only think of her in a sexual way. If so, YIKES. Also, NO. I made a phone call on this one, just to double check with one of the most rule-following, law-abiding, deeply-rooted-in-Christian-culture men I know… my father, former Marine, former missionary. And he said two things that stood out like flashing neon signs: 1) Although men certainly retain memories of seeing exciting things – “like I’ll never forget seeing my first Ferarri!” he said – it’s demeaning to men of any age to presume they can only see a woman as a sexual object once they’ve seen her in a state of undress, and 2) This shifts an unreasonable burden of responsibility to young women for ensuring men don’t view them sexually.
Yes. What my dad said, exactly. I’m raising a young man, too — three of them, actually, though only one’s a teen so far — and I want him to learn that once he sees a young woman as a sexual object (which he undoubtedly will, what with being human and a sexual being, just like most* men and women), he can look with new eyes and see her also as a friend, as a member of his community, as someone worth championing, as someone with talents and gifts, as someone to learn from, and maybe even, eventually, as a romantic interest. Because the real goal, of course, for all of us, is how to stop objectification and to start seeing people.
The last issue I had with your letter was on the subject of second chances. “And so, in our house,” you wrote, “there are no second chances, ladies. If you want to stay friendly with the Hall men, you’ll have to keep your clothes on, and your posts decent. If you try to post a sexy selfie, or an inappropriate YouTube video – even once – you’ll be booted off our on-line island.” And I guess, to be completely honest here, the reason this made me so sad is because I’m someone who needed a second chance as a young woman. And a third chance. And a fourth chance. Infinity chances, really. The difference then, of course, was there was no social media to check. Or ways for my insecurity, my disrespect of myself, my questioning, my doubts, my wandering, my desperate search to find myself, to find value, to find meaning… to be part of the permanent record.
Now, is it your right to look as a family at pictures people have made public and to determine whether you need to block them? Absolutely! It’s your responsibility as a mother to decide what’s appropriate for you and yours, Mrs. Hall.
When you write a letter to my daughter, though, I need to weigh in on the message she’s hearing. Both from our overly-sexualized culture and from a well-intentioned mom on the internet who’s trying to combat that. That’s my responsibility. And the message I want her to internalize is this:
We see you, sweetheart. We do. We see what you’re writing. We see what you’re posting. We see more of you than you think we do. We see sometimes down to the very center of your soul. And what you need to know is this: You are beautiful. You are valuable. You are worthy. You are your physical body, and you are so very much more. And you, baby girl, have infinite chances for grace and redemption and relationship and community and wholeness and LOVE. Always. Always and forever. Amen.
Which I bet, Mrs. Hall, is very close to what you think, too, and that we’re really not so very different at all. Thank you for the food for thought and for love-loving your children like I love-love mine.
P.S. You’re welcome for coffee any time. But wear long pants; I wasn’t kidding about the sticky couch.
*The original post read “what with being human and a sexual being, just like all men and women.” I changed the word “all” to “most” to reflect a kind correction I received that encouraged me to look at the Asexual Visibility and Education Network.
519 responses to “Dear Mrs. Hall, Regarding Your “FYI (if you’re a teenage girl)”…”
[…] nice, YES. Definitely nice. I mean, unless you get her started on politics or unequal modesty rules for girls, in which case she will take you down. But still, nice. Which is why she’s never had my […]
[…] Beth Woolsey responded. […]
[…] https://bethwoolsey.com/2013/09/dear-mrs-hall-regarding-your-fyi-if-youre-a-teenage-girl/ […]
Why is it that it is assumed and judged that because a young lady is immodest if she dresses “sexy” or “hot”? Why is it assumed and judged that dressing sexy/hot/skimpy is because she doesn’t feel good about herself? Perspective! Perhaps she feels really good about herself. Perhaps it’s judgmental people motivated by fear who don’t feel good about themselves and so they judge so harshly and perversely. I live in Las Vegas. I see lots of immodestly dressed people and they are not sexy. I see modestly dressed people who are “hot” and sexy. Sexy and “hot” does not mean immodest! Stop blaming the young women. Let the young men take responsibility for their own thoughts. They like to walk around acting just as sexy and hot as are judged the young women. Teach responsibility.
[…] Definite food for thought: FYI (If you’re a teenage girl) And then a great response: Dear Mrs. Hall, Regarding Your FYI. I don’t read either of these bloggers regularly, so I’m hesitant to comment on the […]
Agree times 100. The thing that bothered me the most about the letter, aside from how judgmental and unforgiving it was, was the overall attitude that the opinions of “the Hall boys” were oh so important and these girls should strive to be accepted by them and their family, as if it’s an honor to be accepted and a huge dishonor to be rejected or blocked. Seriously? “The Halls” are not that important. They should get over themselves.
[…] Mrs Hall, I know you’re coming from a place of love for your boys, I love your fierce love. Beth, thank you for being a voice of kindness, love and grace, putting so eloquently how graciously […]
[…] Dear Mrs. Hall, Regarding Your “FYI (if you’re a teenage girl)”… | Five Kids Is A Lot Of Kids […]
[…] Dear Mrs. Hall, Regarding Your “FYI (If You’re a Teenage Girl)”… | Five Kids Is A Lot Of Kids […]
[…] there have been quite a few very real, and very eloquent responses that deserve recognition… Five Kids is a Lot of Kids […]
We need to teach ALL of our children to understand that what is put on the Internet should be filtered. We need to as parents be monitoring what is posted. But we also, as parents, need to pressure Facebook into creating parental controls. The type of parental control where when you want to post a picture it gets sent to a parent’s email first, then they approve and it’s published or disprove and it’s not. We don’t expect children to make adult choices. We don’t let them purchase alocohol. We don’t let them buy guns. We don’t let them buy ciggeretts. Why do we give them access to something potentially as damaging with no oversite. The truth is that if you think you can keep your child off Facebook your fooling yourself, and the discussion is always about teaching kids to do better. I think we should teach them to do better. But I also think we should lobby for ways to protect them as well. Most 15 year old girls would think a 23 year old finding them attractive was “cool” as adults we can realize- no it’s not. It’s a problem. And those pictures of you- once a friend liles it, all of their friends see it as something they liked in their news feed. So what was thoght to be to an audiance of high school kids is now all over the place. I just wish there was a way to protect these girls from themselves. Not because men are pigs, but because your mistakes shouldn’t be broadcasted to the world. Girls should have a chance to grow and develop a sense of self, then make choices about the way they handle their sexuality, with out a golbal audiance. If you want to post half naked pictures of yourself at 25 I say go for it. Your body, your choice. Men need to learn to deal with it; but at 15 you just aren’t capable of that type of decision.
The same is true for boys and the Internet, but since the letter was to girls I addressed it that way.
A guys perspective:
Most of the responses are from women…interesting the POV you all have. A tragic thread in many of the responses is “no matter what I do, the world should respond with my best interest in mind”. So, if you poke a stick in the hornet’s nest, the hornets should just say, “that’s a nice stick” and NOT sting you OR if you are immodest, anything that results from that is not your fault or concern – no matter if it impacts me, you, him, her, children, old people, etc. Grow up and take some responsibility for your presence in the world!
To the author: You are so very wrong about what men see and remember. The porn industry is built on this. You seem to indicate that men should be able to overcome any thoughts they have of women they saw in sexually provocative poses (i.e. naked or barely so) and not treat them as sex objects. True to a point…I certainly don’t see my wife (whom I see many times in sexy poses…with and without clothes on ) as a sexual object….huge difference is that I made a life-long commitment to her in marriage. We are one (to use a Biblical perspective on that…). She is not an anonymous (or nearly so) “picture”. To the boys they are sending this stuff to, these girls the first letter writer was talking about are just that…pictures/images to solicit sexual arousal.
I am not sure what your Dad is thinking. Perhaps he doesn’t feel at liberty to tell the truth to you. I am an anonymous male so I don’t have to be embarrassed to say nor try to hide the truth: Yes, in fact, once a boy sees porn (and this is porn), he doesn’t forget it….ever… and it does become part of the foundation of his sexual expression. Seen enough times, he WILL think it is normal sexual expression and try to impose that on the girls/woman in his life. I can still remember the first porn image I saw in a drugstore checkout line. I can’t remember how old I was (less than 10yo), but I certainly remember the image and it was “softcore” Playboy. The skin mags were readily available in the racks….just like a bag of M&Ms (this was a long time ago). It is naive to think that boys seeing these pictures are not using them for the purpose of sexual arousal. That might make you mad, but it is what it is.
Another point. Our daughters are sending these pictures out to “Timmy” not realizing that everyone is seeing them and not just Timmy (who may be her true love and not use them for self gratification). It is also seen by the skeezy dudes out there that find this picture after it has floated around the school (maybe after Timmy broke up with her and sent it to all of his friends, who then sent it to others ,etc). Girls need to think about that – many skeezy dudes are going to town on themselves looking at your picture….which brings up the question: is this why the girls are sending it? What are they hoping to gain? Are they looking for validation….it seems that in this society and this media world we are in, being the most sexy is the only way to validate a girl/woman’s existence. And a measure of that is how many dudes pleasure themselves to their picture? The next step for them is to have sex with the most popular guys and know that they are “wanted” … at least for 1 weekend.
Double standard…what about the boys? Why can boys pose showing muscles and bare chests? Really, you don’t get it that much? Women are different. Women have the most to lose is this scenario. You may wish and hope and find studies to show that woman can think about and treat sex just as men and have no consequences…but the simple fact is that they can’t. They are not made that way (emotionally or physically) —-which is a very good thing.
The original author had the brilliant point that if girls respect themselves, they will be better off all around. Using their sexuality to get what they want (whatever that is), is not going to up-lift them or the people in their life. They’ll end up used, discarded, and wallowing in self doubt and hatred.
I also think that the original author was making it clear she was not “judging” the girls, but was judging their actions. Actions have consequences and in this mom’s case, the consequence is not being part of her sons’ circle. She also made it clear that the girls could overcome these consequences by straightening up (remove the pictures, and stop doing that stuff). Great for her! Maybe if the moms (and dads…) of girls demanded the same level of respect from the boys their daughters are dating, we would all be better off.
Last thought: for the girls, we could do 2 things…1) lift girls up and demand the boys follow or 2) drag girls down and have a race to the bottom of the respect barrel for both boys and girls. For the boys, that’s another soapbox for another time…
I agree. I know that some of these teens are innocently posting pictures that mimic what is seen on tv or what other friends (who might not be so innocent) post on their facebook and Instagram accounts. That is why we, as parents, need to be involved and even nosy, if you will.
We are parents to three boys and my husband always says: We are raising men. We are striving to instill character and godly values. It’s not easy, but it’s possible. And I am totally for setting high standards and rules for boys as well. Although I totally agree with your post, I believe that “what’s good for the goose is good for the gander”. We would never allow sexy, half-naked posts of our sons.
About second chances… I have kindly and privately pointed out inappropriate posts to the child/teen or parent before and after being made aware of an outsider’s/onlooker’s perspective, they’ve removed it.
Chris, I completely disagree with your statements. You paint all men with the brush of your experience. I can see a half-dressed woman, or even a pornographic image of a women, and not think of that person as a sexual object. I would like to keep my boys away from the main influences that you had in your life that leaves you unable to view women as a women, even if a sexual women(!), after you have seen them with some skin showing.
You remind me of the real meaning of the “bikini study” that was passed around on facebook recently. You should seriously read it and figure out if the problem is with the women’s attire or with you. http://www.feministmormonhousewives.org/2013/06/sorry-jessica-rey-that-bikini-neural-imaging-study-says-almost-exactly-the-opposite-of-what-you-thought-it-meant/
I’m with Matthew. Chris is assuming all men are exactly like him… to the point of calling one a liar for expressing a different experience. Wow. It doesn’t matter if guys remember sexual imagery, they can still choose to ALSO remember that all women are people. I’m having a hard time understanding how controversial this is.
I’ll entitle my response “ANOTHER guy’s perspective”, speaking of which–let’s start there.
Chris, first of all, why do you consider yourself an expert just because you’re a guy. Your first few words right off the bat imply that you are somehow more qualified to speak on this issue. That alone is fraught with problematic attitudes. This line: “I am not sure what your Dad is thinking. Perhaps he doesn’t feel at liberty to tell the truth to you. ” is so incredibly close-minded and arrogant. You are truly convinced that your perspective is the ONLY valid one out there, or even the only one that exists amongst your male comrades. I am here to prove this theory alone wrong, as I too am offering “a guy’s perspective.”
You then laughably go on to advocate the blatant double standard that boys may mug for the camera, show off their bodies and be every bit as frivolous with their self image as girls can and it’s fine! Because girls have more to lose! Really? That’s all you’ve got! Pretty sad, “Chris.” I’m not even sure where to begin arguing these points, because I’m not exactly sure what the objection is of girls posting photos online… are you concerned about future employers? Because as a man who has been in the corporate world for several decades, I can assure you that I think no more highly of a young man posting silly self-serving photos online than I do of a young woman. I can also tell you that sexual harassment works both ways, now that females are in positions of power in companies. Or are we concerned that young girls will not be able to find a suitable husband (at the age of 16) if the boys see them in a sexual way? I can also tell you that certian girls (and their families!) think that boys who post certain types of photos online are narcissistic douche bags… so again, boys do have plenty to lose for posting certain types of photos.
“Actions have consequences and in this mom’s case, the consequence is not being part of her sons’ circle. ”
The biggest problem with Hall’s letter was this attitude right here. It’s not the be all and end all to not be a part of the Hall’s social circle. Chris, you CLEARLY think that males have a more important perspective on life and that girls should strive to live up to that. This will make your life very difficult, sir. As once you learn how insignificant you and your opinion are, you will be extremely disappointed. You have further to fall, in your own mind, as you have placed yourself on quite the lofty pedestal.
One Thing I was wondering is Where are these girls parents ? I am the Mother of 2 teenage Girls I also have 2 Little Boys as well. I Know what my girls are putting on their Facebook Pages I know what they are doing at Most all the time that I can supervise and when I cant be there I ask lots and lots of questions 🙂 Who will be there? When Will you be home? Where will you be going? I even talk to the other parents, and don’t let them go to homes where the parents don’t care if their kids are alone with the opposite sex, and Yes I have experienced this. Some parents think nothing can happen in large groups . Really ??
I have also Set Good Examples to my daughters as far as Modest Dress and not using your body to get what you want. They have two Doe Eyed little brothers who look up to them and love them dearly and I want them to set a Good Example for them. Women should indeed be loved and respected for who they are inside and out. You Don’t have to sell your self to gain love and respect!
As a Women I also know that Men are Men it is there natural desire to want a woman to reproduce, God made women curvy and Beautiful to keep you coming back ! I also agree with this Anonymous Male. I as a young girl of 11 saw my step mothers playgirl, I was curious and peeked inside. It featured Burt Renyolds, and to this Day I remember it ! Now I remembered it because it freaked me out ! but that didn’t stop me from taking a second peek ! It is in our human nature to be attracted to the opposite sex to be allured and want to come back for more, if not we would never reproduce ! Once a man Sees you naked of course he wants to see you naked as many more times he possibly can. That being said weather or not YOU raise your young men to be respectful, loving, gentle young fellows who Cherish the women in their lives and see them as more than a Sex object is up to you! It is our responsibility as parents to guide our children in the right direction. So “Ok Little Timmy, even though Janie posted this picture on Facebook there is more to her than this …look she is also loves to sing she works in her families business to help them out…she also visits her grandmother in the Nursing home as many times a week as she can! She is much, much more than the body you see before you. That being said I don’t approve of these types of pictures , wouldn’t it be a nice thing if you told this young woman how beautiful you think she is with her clothes on ? Encourage her to stop posting these types of pictures she’s lovely just the way she is fully dressed? And Little Timmy if Janie continues these types of “selfies” we will have to un-friend her on face book because it is not a practice I approve of.”
The Best thing in the world a parent can do for them on a Daily basis is Talk to your Children !! Guide them, nourish their minds, body and soul.
“Sorry, this comment could not be posted.”
That statement came on-screen after I had tried twice to comment at Mrs. Hall’s page.
Perhaps my comments are more apt here….
I first encountered a reply about Mrs. Hall’s posting (from Five Kids Is A Lot Of Kids), and only later have read Mrs. Hall’s (amended) post. It would appear that due critical reactions to the original ‘manly-man’* photographs of her boys, she has replaced those photos with more family-centric images. While that is civil and wise, I think the originals may better serve Mrs. Hall’s publicized viewpoint of zero tolerance for girls who show aspects of their bodies online, while providing ample encouragement for boys to show their own.
Still, changing the photos of her sons shows she does adjust a perspective when she finds good reason to do so. I also admire the quality which led Mrs. Hall not to remove those comments placed before she had changed the photos of her sons. That quality is integrity and it is ever attractive–and sometimes, not at all flirtatious or show-offy– even in a towel+.
*=a footnote re” “manly-man.” There is no subtext, snark, or offense intended–just a play on the anti-‘girly-man’ muscle boys of SNL
+=a footnote re `integrity in a towel’–that’s a ‘Gandhi in Great Britain’ reference
“I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.”
I read the first article and really liked it. I also liked your response. The whole, thing about always seeing a girl in undress, was a little annoying to me as well. However as for the rest of the article, I am right there with her. As a woman I have always been irritated by other women who complain about men seeing them as sexual objects, when they dress in a manner where that is all they show. If you leave your boobs hanging out, people WILL notice that first, what do you expect, why did you dress in that manner in the first place, if you didn’t want people to see them? There tends to be an attitude, let me dress however I want and never have any unclean thoughts about me. There are consequences for every choice you make, and it is important for girls to know that if they dress in such a manner, the consequence is that people WILL think that way. It can’t be helped, our brains react to what we see. Just because a man notices a girl in a sexual fashion who dresses in such a way, does not make him a pig, it makes him normal, because women see the same thing. The problem is that many of us are on the same page and trying to combat the same thing but in different ways. Society and the media in general tend to depict women in slutty ways, they tend to say, it is ok to be this way. They either tend to be skanky or angry or both, nothing in between. They like to portray men as stupid piggish slobs who spend their free time in their “man caves” with their guy friends, playing poker, watching football and porn, when they venture out, it is only to get some highly unhealthy and fattening food and to irritate the women in their lives, either intentionally or not or to pick a fight with someone. When these men do take a stand and tell their teenage daughters to dress modestly, their wives call them backwards old fashioned juvenile pigs and tell them to grow up and come into the modern times. So as women we are combating an over sexualized image, pushed on us by Hollywood and men are combating the image I just described. Both are wrong. But the responsibility to change these images falls on both men and women. For women, let’s just not feed that image by not becoming that and let’s help the men in the world at the same time. Men do need to make sure they are being respectful of women, not viewing porn, not dwelling too long on the women who are not modest, by not partaking of media which does not respect women. The truth of the matter is, Sports Illustrated can only have their swim suit issue, because there are women willing to pose and become objects to piggish men everywhere. But if men didn’t buy it, there would not be a “need”. It is a double edged sword and I believe you are both right.
I guess my main point is that we need to be mindful as women as to what we advertise to everyone else in the world. When we leave nothing to the imagination, then the imagination has to imagine a woman with clothes. Pizza Hut doesn’t advertise hamburgers expecting to sell pizza, they advertise pizza expecting to sell pizza. What are we advertising as women and expecting to sell? If we want to be taken seriously and seen as beautiful intelligent women, then maybe we need to advertise such in our appearance. by the same token we need to teach our boys to respect women (respecting ourselves is the first step). We need to teach them to see all women as intelligent people until their actions prove otherwise and treat all women kindly and respectfully, but really treat all people with kindness and respect. As women we should treat each other the same. The burden is on us all.
I agree. What these girls need is not another wagging finger telling them to put on more clothing, but rather a loving embrace that covers their shame and tells them who they really are.
[…] another mother, Mrs. Woolsey chimes in with a rebuttal, chastising the harsh penalty and making mention of the hypocritical […]
I have a picture of my mom, at 16, dressed only in a towel, her head flung back as she laughs.
The picture was taken in the 40s. I found it while my sibs and I were sorting her things after she passed away a couple of years ago.
I’m sure she felt like a total vamp…but having been 16 once myself, I know how I sometimes felt that way too, and how *innocent* it feels looking back 30 years to my own 16, and my own pictures in those 70s styles (which were not any less revealing than the things kids wear these days).
It’s a sweet picture of her, and I intend to keep it, perhaps even frame it. Someday these girls (and boys) will all be old, if they are lucky; it’s not a bad thing to have pictures to remind you of what it was like to be young.
This is truly a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing.
It is indeed a beautiful story. However, I believe everything has to be placed into a circumstance. Your mother did not have that beautiful photo taken in order to be posted on a social media. I have two boys and two girls whom I try to teach/model the importance of keeping Godly image of each gender in their mind. I never read the unedited first version of Mrs Hall’s writing. Although she sounds a bit sarcadtic, I still agree with her.
Get with it, Junghwa. If there had been a social media in the 40’s, it would’ve been posted on there. People don’t change.. the circumstances changed. Technology changed. Teenagers have been the same since Day 1. Mrs. Hall and a few others are idealizing things a little too much and giving girls who were teens in the 40’s a little too much credit for not posting something on a forum that didn’t even exist.
I must agree with your comments about the wording. I think when writing the cited post, Mrs. Hall must’ve been agitated and might have let that affect the way the post was written. Having said that, I feel those were were there to shake up those girls’ minds. You can’t say “every man” or generalize in the way Mrs. Hall did. I understand that. But it’s the thought that counts.
I’m a man. A Christian man. I have been exposed to a lot of trash in my life. I understand what Mrs. Hall is trying to say here. Our minds are like a clean slate, and everything we experience leaves a mark on it–good or bad. Us guys, we’re more sensitive to sexual stimuli. It’s our nature, and that’s ok! This is what she’s trying to say.
I think the point of the original post is not to be 100% accurate, or use the right words. The point of the original post is to provoke thought in a changing generation. Leave the composition and grammatical criticism aside and listen with your feelings.
I think this post is not only unnecessary, but it only serves one purpose: to show the author’s obsession with perfectly written articles, and as a blogger, I understand. This is what we do, we write and write and write and we get soooo good at it that when we see someone else using the wrong wording, we snap!!
As mentioned in your article, Beth, You agree with the essence of Mrs. Hall article, but you just don’t agree with her choice of words. My advice: take a nap. Listen to some classical music. Have a cup of coffee. And get on with your day 🙂
I think you are missing the whole part of men respecting women no matter what, sexually provocative or not. If there are un-pure thoughts in a guy when he sees a woman exposing more skin than you might think appropriate, there is repentance. Not a “get out of jail” free card because they can’t “un-see” it and it’s just a guy being a guy. She doesn’t rip Mrs Hall apart due to her phrasing, but some of her ideas which are off base. People need to stop judging women by their dress. They should look at them as a fellow human being and respect them as such.
Yeah Beth. Quit making the rest of us feel bad with your obsession with perfection. Not cool. 😉
“Us guys, we’re more sensitive to sexual stimuli. It’s our nature, and that’s ok!”
That doesn’t mean you neglect to respect the person attached to that sexual stimuli. That’s not ok [!] .
As for your advise to Beth that she should perhaps take a nap and listen to some classical music… well that’s appallingly condescending. Perhaps Mrs. Hall should’ve done that instead of getting so agitated by a certain circumstance that she took to her blog to spout off about it! See, that thought works both ways.
I applaud Beth for taking the time to express her disapproval of the article. As you can see, many MANY people found Mrs. Hall’s article unsettling to say the least. Most people disagree with the sexist double standards it advocates, where we villainize the females for corrupting the poor males who “can’t help it.” Give me a break.
Having read the article in question, I feel that you’re being just a little harsh. Regarding the bralessness, it does not take much scrutinizing at all for me to distinguish between those wearing bras and not wearing bras. It often only takes a glance. I have also, while working in the secular world, heard men discussing the braless state of customers. It often does not take scrutiny to notice, and it IS very much noticed.
While I do agree with you on your second point, I also can see what (I think) she was trying to say: I think there will always be some bit of embarrassment, awkwardness, or lack of innocence when dealing with the woman/young lady who has been seen in a state of undress.
Finally, regarding the second chances, I’ve thought about this quite a bit even before reading your response. This is another area where I can see both sides of the issue. I understand the need for forgiveness and the ability to regain trust. However, I can also understand not wanting to take the chance that the next picture will be even more provocative, even less clothed. I think the thing here (for me, anyway) is, if the only contact I have with someone is on a social media site, chances are I don’t really have a very strong relationship with them, and it may even go unnoticed if I unfriend them. If I do have contact with them outside of the internet/social media, I can talk with them, help them to understand what caused the unfriending, and, if and when such a time comes that I see they’ve made the appropriate changes, I can then take the steps of “social media reconciliation” if you would. I, for one, am not willing to expose my son or husband to the possibility of seeing naked or almost naked women just so I can give a woman second chances on the internet.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts on the issue, and for offering a different perspective.
Everyone is being a bit naive. This is Instagram and Facebook. These pictures HAVE to be PG-13 or tamer. No nudity is allowed. Basically it’s what you’d see at a beach or the pool. Should our focus really be on trying to control what others are comfortable revealing about their bodies? Or should our focus be on teaching our sons how to respond to it?
We can control ourselves and, to some extent, our sons…and certainly what we tell our sons. We cannot control someone else’s daughter, nor should we attempt to.
Mrs. Hall, you cannot control the world. You cannot cover your son’s eyes. You cannot follow him to college and pre-approve the bars he is about to enter or the streets he’s about to walk down for the rest of his life. You cannot control what everyone who comes in contact with your son will be wearing or saying or doing, and your ever persistent quest for control is only going to become more and more futile.
Teach your son whatever you want about these women. Tell him that they’re evil and deserve no respect. That’s your perogative. I think you’re wrong, but that’s irrelevant. I have no control over what you teach your son in your house. And you have no control over what I teach my daughter in mine .
Thank you for this very thoughtful response. I completely agree.
Much like others, I found Mrs. Hall’s article thought provoking, but as you said, it didn’t sit well with me either. I don’t like that we teach our girls that they are someone how MORE responsible than their male counterparts. They are responsible for the way boys behave, while the boys themselves are diminished to an out-of-control bunch of hormones that they cannot possibly be expected to contain. It’s really not fair to either gender.
And yes, to the poster above, with the lashing out.
In this society girls are kind darned if you do, darned if you don’t. You are expected to be sexy, but then shamed if you are too sexy. My goodness folks, they are just kids. Striking the perfect balance shouldn’t be expected until well into adulthood.
I have two small girls. And, I’m truly truly grateful for Mrs. Hall’s article, because it got me thinking about how to handle dress and the myriad of other things that are related, without the double standard, “slut shaming,” or giving them body issues. I think my approach will be “It’s your body, and only yours. You have the right to it, but with those rights come responsibility. Does <> send the message you were hoping for? Does it say, ‘I’m a smart beautiful women, mind, body, and soul, and I demand autonomy’? Maybe you should give it some more thought.” Recognizing, of course, that I will then have to let them make their own choices, otherwise the message is contradicted. “Your body is yours, except when it’s mine.”
Anyway, thanks for the response. I appreciate the affirmation that I was not alone in being uncomfortable with the original message.
Kara– I very much agree with the first paragraph of your response. Society expects girls to be far more responsibel than boys. This is wrong and offensive to both genders. Boys are reduced to a pile of raging hormones. This all starts with the phrase, “boys will be boys.” We are supposed to accept out of control behavior from boys as if they can’t help it or don’t know any better, or shouldn’t have to be responsible for their actions.
I really have to disagree with your assessment of this article.
Graciously describing the picture, trying not to be overly explicit while still making it clear that she’s not getting riled up over an exposed ankle or something, deserves a lengthy paragraph of skepticism ending in the suggestion that she might have “detail-by-detail discussed the girl’s body with the boys”?
You don’t seem to give her the benefit of the doubt at all.
Mrs. Hall’s rant was ill conceived and deserved all of the scrutiny it received.
I agree with Steve Joseph 100% on that! Ms. Hall is getting what she deserves for her horrendous letter,and nothing more 🙂
[…] of worms and others opened up a can of Whoop Ass on her as a result. Check out here and here and here and here. Yup, I told […]
[…] pictures, especially when it comes to teenage girls. Two moms of sons wrote contrasting blog posts about girls posting inappropriate pictures that they took of themselves in suggestive positions or […]
I appreciated your post, because I had read the original post and it didn’t sit well with me.
I completely support Mrs. Hall for protecting the minds of her sons and helping them learn to draw boundaries between what is appropriate and what is not…but, as you pointed out, some of the wording didn’t sit well with me.
I have two daughters and a son. Our girls are living in a culture where they are subconsciously being taught to exploit their sexuality before some of them even understand what damage they are doing to themselves and how males could be affected by it. We teach our girls to guard their digital image. We teach them that how they present themselves will be out there for eternity. We teach them to present themselves with respect–for themselves and others. To my knowledge, they have obeyed–but what if they slip up? I’m okay with them suffering the natural consequences of being voted off the island. But then again, my girls are in a stable household with a healthy balance of discipline and love.
I think what has struck me wrong about the post is that it is fear based and lashes out at these girls that have not grown up in an environment of supervision and taught respect for themselves. I get that those girls are not her priority, but our battle is not against flesh and blood. Something about the language of the post screams–you sluts, how dare you tempt my sons? Listen, males don’t necessarily need a chick in a towel or a sultry, braless pose to become excited. Bottom line is that we are surrounded at the grocery isle, billboards, and water parks with individuals dressed in a way that does not leave enough to the imagination. It seems to me that we need to be teaching our boys more about focusing on how to guard their hearts and minds, and yet live in this culture than demeaning the lost, damaged souls of these girls that she proudly votes off the island…because just because they are banished doesn’t mean all those opportunities for inappropriate images will go poof…and, it doesn’t mean that her sons are learning to guard their hearts and minds…or have grace and mercy.
This generation of believers is responsible for this generation of souls…