• Wed, Sep 4 - 4:20 pm ET

ATTENTION TEENS: “Your Selfies Are Too Sexy For My Sons”

selfies too sexy

Kimberly Hall, Director of Women’s Ministry at a Presbyterian Church in Texas, wrote an open letter to her tween/teen sons’ female friends, which is blowing up all over the internet. In the post, Hall admonishes the young women in her sons’ lives for their slutty, trollopish, promiscuous selfies (frequently taken in sexy, provocative pajamas, which if I remember my tween years, included a lot of oversized boxers and T-shirts) and makes sure they know that every social media post gets checked over by Hall and her husband. Ugh Mom. That’s really embarrassing.

Incidentally, Hall illustrated the post with photos of her sons half naked at the beach, but apparently that’s all in good fun and their flesh is pure and not- tempting.

It’s a clusterfuck of gendered double-standards and body shaming. I would say it’s slut shaming, but it’s not even close. This lady wants to shame girls just for being girls, because being a girl is shameful, and not to be photographed.

Here is the letter in its entirety, with our commentary.

Dear girls,

I have some information that might interest you.

Does it concern Pretty Little Liars, Harry Styles, or Snapchat?

Last night, as we sometimes do, our family sat around the dining-room table and looked through your social media photos.

Oh, was ‘The Voice’ not on?

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 pajamas 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.

Does it appear that way? Does it appear odd to you that you and your adult husband are scrutinizing a phone screen to see if a 14-year-old is wearing a bra?

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.

Maybe you’re doing it wrong.

So, here’s the bit that I think is important for you to realize.  If you are friends with a Hall boy on Facebook or Instagram or Twitter, then you are friends with the whole Hall family.

It’s super cool and normal to invade your kid’s privacy like that.

Please understand this, also: we genuinely like keeping up with you. We enjoy seeing life through your unique and colorful lens – which is what makes your latest self-portrait so extremely unfortunate.

Those posts don’t reflect who you are! 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?

Is it possible, when girls post pouty shots, that perhaps they do reflect who these girls are? That is to say, they’re girls who are making pouty faces? They’re young and experimenting with sexuality. This is normal. It’s a shame that you’re making it into something evil. Are they posting up skirt photos or explicit porn? Oh no, they’re just pouting? You’re right, this is sin.

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.

Cool use of “bummer.” I’m sure all of the teen girls reading this found that to be really accessible and it softened the blow that their friends’ creepy parents will no longer be looking at their Instagram accounts.

I know your family would not be thrilled at the thought of my teenage boys seeing you only in your towel. 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.

It looks like maybe these girls would be okay with your Hall angels thinking they’re attractive, because they’re teenagers who are experimenting with dating and what not. Also, I’m concerned that you got confused while writing this. While you admonished teen sluts and sinners to cover themselves up, you posted photos of your teen sons shirtless, flexing their adorable muscles. I can’t help but notice that your sons don’t have bras on, either. Since I don’t really find this to be sexual because I am over 18 and your sons are teens, I’m not getting anything out of this. But if I were ten years younger. Oh, the sin you would have drawn me into! This is because it’s not only young girls who have evil, sexy bodies made for sex. Your sons are little sex machines, too! I’m confused as to why you think their bodies don’t need to be covered and shielded from young girls’ eyes. I’m sure this was an oversight that you’ll correct immediately. No shorts, either, because I don’t want to see their sexy little kneecaps.

And so, in our house, there are no second chances, ladies.

This sucks, because teenagers need more second chances than anyone. I mean, I used to wear low rise, flared jeans for Christ’s sake. Talk about needing second chances.

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.

Fuck your island. Nobody even wants to be there. Come to my island where everyone is having consensual sex and bodies are okay.

I know that sounds harsh and old-school, but that’s just the way it is under this roof for a while. We hope to raise men with a strong moral compass, and men of integrity don’t linger over pictures of scantily clad high-school girls.

You are absolutely right. Men of integrity don’t look at photos of high-school girls. But your sons aren’t men. They’re teenage boys, for whom it’s perfectly appropriate to look at pictures of teenage girls.

Every day I pray for the women my boys will love.

Hope they don’t choose some slut with a female body.

I hope they will be drawn to real beauties, the kind of women who will leave them better people in the end. 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.

Wait, this means no sex, right?

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), RUN to your accounts and take down  anything that makes it easy for your male friends to imagine you naked in your bedroom.

Literally, RUN. This woman’s all supreme judgement is swift. Wait…that’s not right…

Will you trust me? There are boys out there waiting and hoping for women of character. Some young men are fighting the daily uphill battle to keep their minds pure, and their thoughts praiseworthy.

Then you shouldn’t have gotten us all riled up with those sexy swim suit pics.

You are growing into a real beauty, inside and out.

Act like her, speak like her, post like her.

I’m glad we’re friends.

No.

Mrs. Hall

Photo: Shutterstock // via Jezebel

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  • Amber Dawn

    … not to mention the fact that a female just existing makes it easy for a teenage boy to imagine them naked. They could be wearing like, 6 burqas. On top of each other.

    • LynnKell

      …inside a windowless bunker and they still think about boobs.

    • Mark

      As a male I can confirm this.

    • Lex_Discipulus

      All those boys need is ONE girl to not wear a burqa. Therefore I propose this, in order to protect the precious and sinless Hall boys (and all other boys) women should wear burqas from the moment they are conceived. We dont want those boys gettin any ideas when they see that ultrasound!

  • http://www.geekosystem.com/ Victoria McNally

    God, thank you so much. I didn’t want to wade into the comments section of that actual blog because it looked like a whole lot of holy rollers who didn’t understand how damaging this kind of rhetoric can be, but it’s really good to hear that other people hold similar opinions on how awful this is.

  • Haffy

    Uh, is it just me, or is mom kinda gay for these girls? The arched backs, pouty lips, unfettered breasts – clearly someone’s getting hot n’ bothered in the Hall house, but I don’t know if it’s the boys.

  • http://about.me/meganhunt Megan Hunt

    yeah don’t pout in a selfie, because that’s putting ideas in your sons’ heads that all the heterosexual porn they’re watching isn’t.

  • Nora

    UGH, this lady. Clearly, if you take selfies and post them online it must mean you’re an unwholesome trollop who will never go anywhere in life and will never meet a good guy!

  • Angell

    Did anyone else notice how she states that “men of integrity don’t linger over pictures of scantily clad high school girls” and YET that’s exactly what her husband is doing, under the guise of “protecting” their sons?

  • LynnKell

    “Fuck your island. Nobody even wants to be here. Come to my island where everyone is having consensual sex and bodies are okay.”

    Who wants to be in an island were you get judged and shamed for being a teenager, a girl and having a body while the Queen’s little angels of purity and boners enjoy the sun and half nakedness you don’t deserve, because, you know, your body is impure

  • CMJ
    • http://thegloss.com/ Ashley Cardiff

      NAILED IT.

    • CMJ

      I don’t know what I did before gifs.

  • http://poorgoop.com/ Samantha

    Oh this makes me so mad. I can’t even…

    To paraphrase this asshole: I refuse to teach my sons personal responsibility and instead passively judge you and your parents.

    Purity and modesty make me ragey anyway, but this blatant, gross double standard is just too much. I hope that this woman’s daughter is never subjected to any sort of sexual harassment or assault, because I hate to think of how this mom would react. And I hope her sons learn to treat human beings with respect regardless of their attire despite her best efforts.

  • LizzyBeth80

    both sides of this issue are idiots. The person (Julia) writing her commentary just sounds like a bitter old hag. Also, really angry. She could have done it a lot better, and not making herself seem like a bitch. I won’t even get into Mrs. Hall….

  • Nichole Smith

    I wrote about this today. I’m tired of the burden to be on the girls. It’s tired and it’s lame and it’s degrading to girls even more so. Why not teach boys before they become men to be look past a girl’s clothes or lack thereof and try to see a person and not an object. As someone who has both a daughter and sons it’s more about teaching them not only respect for themselves and their own bodies but for one another. If we did that more instead of judge and shame less, we’d have a much less dysfunctional view of women and their bodies.

  • Tusconian

    A lot of people say they feel sorry for these boys. I don’t know. I recall being in high school/college with these types of boys, who are the masters of overshare, are way to attached to their mommies, and have no filter. Their parents trained them that way for sure, but if they’re willingly sharing their female classmates’ sexy selfies with their families over dinner as casual conversation, they’re probably also the ones screaming “HEY LOOK, MYKYNZEE ISN’T WEARING A BRA IN THAT ONE OMG LOL.”

    Either that, or the parents are forcing them to look at their friends’ pictures as a family, and in a couple of years when the daughter is old enough to share naughty pictures of herself wearing a tank top and sweatpants, we’re going to have another “shooting the computer” debacle.

    But in all seriousness, what parents want to see their kids’ friends’ facebooks at all for any reason? I’ve had facebook for almost as long as there’s been a facebook, and unless someone had a baby or got married, my parent couldn’t care less about my friends’ pictures, and they certainly wouldn’t have cared when my friends were 15

  • Joshua Darbee

    Wow. I’m so disappointed that EVERYONE here seems to think that sexualizing children without any boundaries or supervision is OKAY. This woman isn’t talking about pictures of girls going to Applebee’s or hanging out at the mall. She’s talking about exceptionally young girls making sexual poses in various states of undress who are publicly posting this lewdness in online forums. This isn’t two seventeen year olds rolling around in the back of a car hoping not to get caught knowing that they shouldn’t be screwing around. These are children who think it’s OKAY for them to go online and strip for their friends at 14 who are more than just experimenting. This generation is becoming self obsessed and only see themselves in terms of their sexuality. It’s a self destructive combination of narcissism and self loathing and you all want to take the leash off. Kids and teens need boundaries. You think those parents are “invading” their 14 year old son’s privacy? Why does a 14 year old need unfettered access to pictures of half naked classmates? Yes, teens are going through puberty and think about sex. But as adults we’re supposed to teach restraint and responsibility and dignity. Not take them at 12 years old to Victoria’s Secret to buy sexy bras and thongs. Why do young girls need flashy underwear? Who is supposed to be seeing it? Nobody teaches modesty anymore. Parents all want to be their kids “friends” instead of their protectors. Nobody wants to let go of their “coolness” and youth and admit that they need to be the bad guy. Not when it’s convenient but ALL THE TIME. Kids have no sense of danger or right and wrong unless we SHOW them as their examples.

    • Brent B

      No. First of all, there is a big difference between “sexualizing children” and teenagers exploring their own sexuality. And this woman isn’t talking about restraint or modesty or safety or any other legitimate concern. She is talking about an antiquated double standard where her boys can post half naked picture of themselves but girls have to be “modest,” and where her boys are incapable of looking at even slightly suggestive photos without objectifying the girls in them–and that is the girls fault.

    • Joshua Darbee

      Saying it’s okay for fourteen year olds to “explore their sexuality” is bad parenting. How many fourteen year olds do think can approach sex with safe, mature, rational thinking? There are consequences to children having sex and telling them it’s okay is to say that these potential consequences are less important than their own personal gratification. It’s unhealthy. Parents are supposed to protect their children not expose them to things that could potentially scar them for life or subvert their chances for success.

      This woman is talking EXACTLY about restraint (hence the entire passage about restraint and decency). And newsflash, men and women are different. Breasts are sexual organs. EVERYTHING about humans makes them sexual. We’re hard wired in our DNA to perceive them that way and have in all of recorded society. A man’s chest is not a sexual organ. A man without a shirt is just simply not equivalent to a woman without a shirt. It’s not a double standard, it’s just life. You just have to deal with it. And a girl coming out of the shower in a towel, isn’t “slightly” suggestive, it’s exceptionally suggestive. Girls with tank tops that are cut lower than their low cut bras in public is exceptionally suggestive. The male equivalent of that isn’t a muscle shirt, it’s a guy wearing low cut tights, with a sleeve for his penis to dangle in.

      Girls should be raised to understand that if they PRESENT themselves in a sexual manner, it’s not a question of how somebody else CHOOSES to perceive them, it’s that there’s no other OPTION on how to be perceived. If I’m wearing a heavy metal band’s t-shirt and a spiked jacket and leather boots and have long dreads and go to a metal concert, I can’t turn around and fault people for perceiving me as a heavy metal fan. Just as if young girls present themselves sexually and dress in an overtly sexual way and post photos of myself that only exhibit their sexuality, they will be perceived as objects of sex. I don’t care who perceives it, man, woman, animal or mineral.

      Is this woman obviously a bible thumper? Yeah, probably. Is she invasive? Definitely. But so is Hollywood and Media and the Internet. It’s in EVERYTHING. Parents need to be equally invasive or they run the risk of allowing strangers, who only seek to exploit their viewers/readers/followers for advertising dollars, to raise their children for them.

      Trust me, I’m a pretty left leaning liberal. And I have NO hang ups about sex between consenting adults. But I DO have a huge issue with the way the past 20 years has seen a HUGE growth in the dominating presence of sexuality in teens and preteens. It’s dangerous and unhealthy.

    • Brent B

      I mean “explore their sexuality” in the broad and literal sense of the term, I did not say having sex. This is just a digital extension of the type of flirting and learning to handle/express these things that has always gone on with teenagers. Your first paragraph is a straw-man fallacy. There really isn’t anything in the first paragraph to respond to because you were not addressing what I actually said. I will say though, that ultimately it doesn’t matter whether the selfies are appropriate or not. That
      is not why people are upset with the post. People were upset at the way she said it, the sexist language she used, the way she suggested her boys had no responsibility if they chose to view these girls as only sexual objects.

      That gets to another point you were making with the analogy
      to the metal gear. She didn’t warn that the girls would be perceived sexually, she said that her boys would only be able to look at them that way once they saw one sexually suggestive picture of them. That is unhealthy and the suggestion that wholesome girls are modest and not overtly sexual while men can’t help but think only sexual thoughts–to reduce someone to a sexual object–at the slightest provocation is as harmful as it is absurd. And of course in her view it is girls jobs to make sure that doesn’t happen by making sure to cover up appropriately at all times.

      If she had merely warned that the girls would be perceived sexually (as opposed to being seen exclusively as sexual objects), she would have avoided the troublesome double standard and sexist worldview, but she would have been missing the obvious fact (which I suspect is at the heart of your
      discomfort) that 14 year old girls are already unavoidably perceived sexually by 14 year old boys. And probably tapping into that was not accidental on the part of the 14 year old girls in question.

      It is not some modern societal flaw that caused the “HUGE
      growth in the dominating presence of sexuality in teens and preteens.” Nature did that. It has always been the case and always will be. Not that there aren’t some negative cultural influences (like this woman’s sexist shaming), but puberty is the main thing that sexualizes teens, and that isn’t going to change
      anytime soon. Also, breasts do not hold the same significance in all societies, not today and not historically. There are plenty of societies where exposed breasts are not suggestive at all. Likewise, there was a time in western society when a man going topless was just as sexually titillating as a woman.

    • Joshua Darbee

      I typed a huge reply but it didn’t show up. Basically stop comparing men and women.

      First you’re bad at it, suits are worn on the outside and covers the body to provide a clean, professional appearance. Sexy underwear are worn under the clothes and when displayed are sexually provocative. No comparison.

      Second, ABSOLUTELY men are told not to be overtly sexual. We can’t put a bow on our penises and wear cut offs or mesh shorts to work or school. But I see plenty of young girls with their bras hanging out, super high mini skirts, sheer clothing or side cut shirts. So there is no double standard in regards to dress. Unless a girl wants to appear as someone who values sexuality over dignity, girls have a responsibility to THEMSELVES to dress appropriately. I have probably 50-60 female friends on Facebook. Only two post pictures like those we’re talking about. Pretty much all of the women who don’t would describe themselves as powerful successful women who have self respect. The ones who do would most likely describe themselves as hot.

      And men taking off their shirt has NEVER had the same social or sexual impact as a woman’s breasts. Even in nude tribal communities breasts are still desired, even worshipped. You’re just wrong.

      This is a sexual behavior that there is simply no need for and as adults we shouldn’t be okay with it, just like we shouldn’t be okay with teens smoking or drinking. This woman said nothing derogatory or inflammatory. She said once its out there it’s out there so consider covering up otherwise guys will like you for the wrong reason.

      Anybody who trashes a mother for trying to limit the sexuality her CHILD is exposed to while he’s still too young to understand or process it while supporting tween girls posting semi nude photos on the Internet simply for their own narcissistic urges really has to take a hard look at the type of people they want in tomorrow’s world.

      Plain and simple read it again. There is NO “slut shaming” going on. It’s a woman speaking to girls who don’t realize there are potential consequences for the lifestyle choices they make.

      http://www.mommyish.com/2013/08/23/selfies-damaging-to-teens/
      http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/teen-angst/201207/the-dangers-teen-sexting

    • Brent B

      I didn’t compare suits and underwear. I compared the reason some people enjoy wearing them. Your comment wasn’t about her underwear being sad, it was about how they make her feel being sad. Are you actually saying it is ok if wearing a suit makes you feel sexy but sad if wearing nice underwear does because suits are on the outside and underwear aren’t? Otherwise the difference between the two is irrelevant.

      It sounds like you are saying not only that this isn’t an example of the double standard, but that one doesn’t exist at all? I mean you have already mentioned slut shaming, that is an example of the double standard.

      Unless a girl wants to appear as someone who values sexuality over dignity, girls have a responsibility to THEMSELVES to dress appropriately.

      This is another.

      Pretty much all of the women who don’t would describe themselves as powerful successful women who have self respect. The ones who do would most likely describe themselves as hot.

      This is another.

      Women are entitled to dignity no matter how they dress. The man who says a women who expresses sexuality has no dignity is the one with the problem. And who gets to be the ultimate arbiter on what women’s clothing is appropriate to make sure dignity is preserved? What does that even mean? There were times and places were an exposed ankle was literally percieved as more overtly sexual than a breast. There are some places today where hair, wrists, and ankles are considered too sexually suggestive. It is all arbitrary. Are you suggesting that women are bound by the norms of whatever society they find themselves in (i.e., wear a burka in countries that expect it or you have no dignity, make sure your bra is concealed in your neighborhood or else lose your dignity) or are you just suggesting that you have the correct standard for dignity and all the other various ones are wrong? Are you saying that you have some kind of divine answers or are you saying that women have no agency? Do you see how it is absurd for you to say that a woman doesn’t have any dignity because she didn’t dress appropriately to preserve it–according to your standards.

      A seminal publication called Patterns of Sexual Behavior (Ford & Beach 1951) surveyed 190 societies and found that very few associated exposed breasts with sexuality. Likewise it is true that it is equally or nearly equally sexual and potentially offensive for a man to go barechested. Likewise men even swam fully clothed in the victorian era, it would have been overly suggestive to go barechested. You can google these things.

      And once again her ultimate point about whether the selfies are “appropriate” is not the point.

    • Brent B

      You don’t see the huge difference between this statement:

      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?

      and this statement:

      once its out there it’s out there so consider covering up otherwise guys will like you for the wrong reason.

    • Lex_Discipulus

      Apparently pouty photos lead to stripping.

      Holy slippery slope Batman!

      As a side note, sometimes I like to wear sexy underwear because it makes me feel good. If that is a problem stop staring at my ass.

      Idiot.

    • Joshua Darbee

      Try reading the whole article. This wasn’t ONE PHOTO of a mature girl making a pouty face that prompted this woman to write this. She saw a pattern. A pattern any concerned parent should see. She mentioned ” extra-arched back” which means ass out, chest out. She mentioned a girl “only in your towel”, suggested that girls take down photos that make it easy for others to picture them naked, photos of girls in various states of undress. And remember, her son is FOURTEEN, meaning these are girls of the same age. So if you think it’s okay for fourteen year old kids to be posting semi nude photos online you’re just irresponsible.

      And the whole “it makes me feel good” excuse is bull. It doesn’t make you feel good. It makes you feel SEXY. Which means your self respect is directly tied in to your sexuality, which is sad. Women want men to treat them as equals and ignore their sexuality and then get mad when society says they shouldn’t be overtly sexual. THAT is the true double standard.

    • Brent B

      And the whole “it makes me feel good” excuse is bull. It doesn’t make you feel good. It makes you feel SEXY. Which means your self respect is directly tied in to your sexuality, which is sad. Women want men to treat them as equals and ignore their sexuality and then get mad when society says they shouldn’t be overtly sexual. THAT is the true double standard.

      Whoa. No, you have it all wrong. Women deserve to be treated as equal, as in they can be sexual and still be taken seriously. Like men. It isn’t that men are supposed to ignore women’s sexuality, it is that they shouldn’t define them by it or use it as an excuse to objectify them. The double standard is that society tells women they can’t be too overtly sexual if they want to be taken seriously, but does not make any such demand of men.

    • Brent B

      As an example. Lets say that a hypothetical guy talking to a hypothetical woman and the woman says she sometimes wears sexy stuff becasue it makes her feel good. Lets say hypothetical guy responded by saying that her getting even the slightest amount of happiness from being sexy means that her self esteem is tied directly to her sexuality and that was sad. That would be reducing that complicated woman who probably gets happiness from a multitude of things (some that help her self esteem and some that do not) and derives her self esteem from her varied attributes to a caricature whose only sense of self worth comes from her sexuality. That would be a great example of the double standard, where a woman who admits to any sexuality tends to be consequently defined by it. That doesn’t happen to a guy who says that he like to wear a nice suit sometimes. Nobody would assume that guys self esteem was tied to his sexuality in some sad way.

    • Lex_Discipulus

      *standing ovation*

    • anotherpov

      So you promote vanity, while I promote loving oneself, because we are unique one of a kind beautiful souls full of potential, esteem tied to physical anything is a weak position, we can change overtime or overnight, we all age and grow old wrinkled etc. Self esteem is better served by introspection of the unique gifts God has given each of us, by realizing the beauty that is you an individual. “You can’t judge a book by it’s cover.”

    • anotherpov

      Key word women not little girls, for common sense’s sake pull your head out of “the womens rights above all” mode, kids are kids not men and women, girls who disrespect themselves are shown in study after study to engage in risque behavior such as sexy selffies, trashy clothes, trashy language, smoking, drinking, etc., how to fix it? Teach girls how important beautiful and loved they are for who they are, not who or what immediate gratification they can get for poor decisions. And really! Boys the most evil little people on earth! Not really but, boys aren’t too discerning, I’ve seen them look past beautiful girls dressed appropriately, to ogle an overweight half dressed girl with green hair smoking a cigarette, or a 40 something caked on makeup woman with a dress 3 sizes too tight boobs squishing out. Why? Because boys are wired that way, they could care less about the person behind the body, if its revealing and breathing they’re interested. And again girls are not women, boobs and a period does not a woman make! I was a boy once, and although I did a lot of looking, my parents actually suceeded in teaching me to respect the opposite sex. And values matter, and I pray that people turn to values rather than popular culture to teach their children. The most beautiful people are those who love and respect themselves.

    • Lex_Discipulus

      You know who I think is responsible for raising their 14 year old teens? THEIR parents. Not someone else.

      You have zero understanding of women if you think my self respect is tied into my panties. For that I am sorry for you.

    • Brent B

      Right, this would have come off differently if it were a mom encouraging her own daughters to behave differently and warning that their behavior might–unfortunately and unfairly–attract the wrong kind of attention. Or even preaching modesty for modesty’s sake. That is different than saying they brought it on themselves or deserve the wrong type of attention.

    • Porst

      Hey why don’t you teach boys not to treat women like shit instead? Why don’t you teach young men that rape and sexual objectification are wrong instead? Why don’t you teach male students that women aren’t just there for them to ogle? Nah, that’s too difficult. Must be those teenage girls. It’s all their fault.

      By your logic, the #1 cause of pedophilia is “sexy children”.

  • Jayjay

    um…whut? How about you teach your sons that while pretty girls who pose for photos may be attractive it is wrong to think of them in a purely sexual way because they are people???

  • Brent B

    The commentary leaves the most troubling sentance unaddressed:

    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?

    • Brent B

      In other words, her boys can’t see a woman (or girl) as both a sexual being or an object of desire and a human being worthy of respect at the same time. It is one or the other–and it is the girls job to make sure that they remain human by not appearing overtly sexual. Aside from how troubling the underlying double standard is, how will this work out when they are in real relationships, how will the be able to see their partners as people worthy of love and respect once the have seen them naked?

    • Lex_Discipulus

      This times a million! Why is it that I feel like the Halls are raising fucked up boys if their boys cant see women are more than sex objects?

    • Julia Sonenshein

      You are 100% right. I think my brain exploded and my vital organs shut down and stopped me from addressing that line. But you said it better than I could have!

  • Karen

    Once again, Texas just made my brain hurt a little. Good thing stupid isn’t contagious.

  • Lucid

    Is it just me, or does anyone else feel overwhelming sympathy for the Hall children? I mean, seriously, if this letter has gone viral, I have to imagine that these poor kids are like the laughing stock of their school. Could you imagine if you had the reputation as the kid with the creepy mother who lurks on your friend’s social media sites, chastises their self-pictures and claims your room smelled like overripe cheese? I mean, at least the young women who were shamed have the overwhelming support of the internet to fall back on, and given the amount of criticism this super-invasive mother is likely to get, I have to imagine that at least a few of them knew better than to take her seriously. But if you’re “one of the Hall children,” this is a fucking social death sentence.

  • Joshua McTavis

    Mrs Hall clearly pegs the males in the household.

    • Brent B

      Right. Step 1: Identify bad behavior from sons (and husband). Step 2: Blame on women who are subjected, or might be subjected, to bad behavior.

  • Dustin

    So glad to see this lady’s letter get torn apart. She can’t swallow the fact that her boys are deviants! They’re growing up, suck it mom.

  • Anna

    This is disappointing. You’ve all fallen into a trap. This isn’t slut shaming. The mother isn’t shaming the girls, she’s telling them that they shouldn’t be looking for that sort of attention. When you’re 14, you want the entire world to see you, but you don’t need to do it by posting provocative pictures on the internet. There are people on facebook and the entire internet depending on the safety settings of their facebook that could target them, which is much worse than the Hall boys could do. The mother is simply pointing out that her boys are human, and she doesn’t want these pictures to tempt them to do something they’ll regret later. She said herself that she hopes these girls will grow up to be true women. How are they going to do that with every high school guy who wants to ‘get some’ can look at a picture and decide that she’s sexy enough to leave her with emotional scars they’ll have for the rest of their life all for the sake of fun? You can be beautiful wearing clothes, you can have fun without having sex. The boys’ mother never said that their bodies weren’t beautiful. In fact, she’s saying the opposite. She’s saying that their bodies are beautiful, and for that reason they should be protected from the boys who can defile it with a single look.

    As for the swim-suit picture, don’t worry. I understand that there is a gross double – standard that goes on in our society. If the mother had those standards, then the picture shouldn’t have been up. Women are prone to be tempted by those sorts of pictures, just as men are. I believe the mother was more concerned with the intent of the picture than of the actual quality. But that was the only picture the author of this article went back to. People make mistakes. People don’t think. Really, not all women look at shirtless men, even hot ones, and automatically think of having sex with him. A lot do, but not all of them. Men are different. Even the men that don’t want to think of a picture in that way can’t always help it.

    Our culture is so wound up by a woman standing up for what she believes in that they take everything that the author says as pure fact and won’t accept anything else. Do you think she would have been loving her sons or the girls if she weren’t trying to protect both parties from something that could hurt both? Do you think that the Mom was really only concerned with her own children? What do you stand for? If an article came out about you standing up for protecting the environment, and labeled you as a vicious shamer of the consumerist society, would you shake your head up and down, or say ‘That’s not the whole truth!’. Until you know what’s in the mind of the mother, until she comments and gives her reasoning, why would you ever assume that she’s exactly the woman that the author of this article portrayed and nothing more? Sometimes I think that people just don’t think anymore.

    • Porst

      How about you let kids make their own mistakes like we did? If the “problem” is girls looking sexy, then maybe the solution is to TEACH BOYS TO TREAT WOMEN WITH RESPECT REGARDLESS OF WHAT THEY’RE WEARING.

    • Anna

      Do you know how silly that sounds? Not the teaching boys to treat women with respect, because that should be done. I’m saying that you just contradicted yourself. If you want to let kids make their own mistakes, you’re saying it’s fine to let the boys just treat women whatever way they want and learn what they can and can’t get away with. If you want to teach boys to treat women with respect, then you should teach girls to treat men with respect by not doing things that could tempt them. I’m not saying you don’t let kids make mistakes, because it’s going to happen. I’m saying that if you care for the kids, you should already be teaching them to think about others with respect. Respect meaning to not think of women as objects (men), and meaning to not provoke them to think of you as an object by dressing in inappropriate clothing (women). If we women strive so hard not to be ‘just a pair of breasts’, then why are we not telling our girls it’s not okay to flaunt our bodies as if we are? I’m not proposing that all women look like nuns, I’m saying that confidence that comes from feeling sexy slips away as soon as you wake up the next morning thinking about whatever you just did. T-shirts aren’t the enemy. Being described as pretty in a knee-length skirt by a sweet guy is ten times better than a guy calling you sexy who is already undressing you in his head.

      The think about kids is that they’re going to make mistakes just like we do, regardless of what they’ve been taught. We can’t stop it, but teaching them to respect people can save them a lot of hurt in the long run. We have a duty to the next generation to help them become a generation of good people. We do this by loving them, and we love them by guiding them! Leaving them to make their own mistakes without at least telling them what they shouldn’t be doing is the same as not caring for them at all. Life isn’t about independence. It’s about learning to depend on all persons around you and what they’ve learned from life. Even if kids accomplish this, they’ll still make mistakes and learn from them. Then, others will learn from their mistakes.

      This problem is not a one-sided problem, as the woman in the article implies. The solution has to deal with work on every party involved. We’re human. We’re inherently flawed in ways that absolutely nobody on earth could understand. Having such a narrow solution would imply that we were all as complex as video game characters. But we’re so much more than that. I implore you to see that playing the blame game isn’t a way to solve anything, but that the solution comes from every party taking responsibility and remedying the selfish way we live.

    • Porst

      It’s not a contradiction to teach basic human values and equality, and also let kids figure things out on their own. Give them the tools to act properly, then give them the freedom to work with the tools they’ve been given. What IS a contradiction is admonishing girls while acting like “boys will be boys”.

      Maybe you should focus on the problems instead of the symptoms. Problems like lack of gender equality education. Rape culture. Slut-shaming. For example, your words:

      “If you want to teach boys to treat women with respect, then you should teach girls to treat men with respect by not doing things that could tempt them.”

      WOW. “Tempt” them!? Did you just teleport in from the 1950s? You’re one step away from “She shouldn’t have dressed that way, she was asking for it.” Attitudes like that are what perpetuate the rape culture in today’s world, making boys think they’re entitled to sex because of how women are portrayed. No amount of “tempting” means a girl deserves to be shamed for her body, or to be taken advantage of by a boy. A woman who walks around topless (like boys) STILL isn’t asking to be stared at. The problem is the boys who gawk because they weren’t taught to be any different.

      Like I said, give kids the tools to respect each other and to treat sex logically and respectfully, then let them use the tools instead of piloting them through their formative years. Guidance and education, not control and shame. If everyone did this, we’d have a much better society.

    • Anna

      You just twisted my words to say what you wanted to think I was saying. Let’s say it again. If you want to teach boys to teach women with respect, then you should teach girls to treat men with respect by not doing things that could tempt them. This doesn’t mean that a girl deserves to be shamed or raped for the way she dresses. It means that if you believe so highly in gender equality, then each group should be held equally responsible for the problem.

      Slut-Shaming is bad and shouldn’t be done, but dressing up like that isn’t okay. What if your son decided that he was going to wear a speedo everywhere? You can see everything. Well, guys can imagine that with girls with a lot more clothing on than a speedo. I’m just saying that if you want to hold men to that higher standard, you should be holding women to that same higher standard.

      The key word here is responsibility. You want guys to take the responsibility of having self-control when faced with scantily clad women and I get that, I wish they could instantaneously do that, but you have no intention of saying that the women should take equal responsibility and dress in a way that doesn’t attract every man’s eyes to uncovered parts he’s already naturally attracted to. I’m not saying that a man shouldn’t have self-control, because he should. That’s why we need to teach respect. I’m saying that men aren’t perfect, self-control isn’t instantaneous, and dressing like that will do something to him 10/10 times he looks.

      Okay, let’s say that a woman does walk around topless and isn’t asking to be stared at. Where is her self-control? What is her reasoning for walking around topless? “I’m doing this because I want to.” Yeah. Do you know what goes through men’s minds as they target a woman for rape? The same thing. A body is beautiful and should never be defiled. A body is beautiful, you can’t blame men for wanting to touch it. A body is beautiful, and you know men want to touch it, so why do you put it out there? Just because you want to. You say that women should dress their bodies how they want, but if everyone did what they wanted, our world would be much worse.

      As for the education, that’s exactly what I said in my previous post. But kids still need a co-pilot. They’re kids. If you can prevent the plane from crashing, you should. A parent or parental figure isn’t just someone who tells you something about life once and then kicks you out to be on your own. No, until they move away and start to be independent, and even afterwards, you should be giving them advice and being completely honest. Then there comes a point when you know that they’ve grown up. But you know what? They still ask for advice. Like I said, life is about depending on all, not just yourself. Because if you force your kid to live with no one to guide them, they’re in for a lonely life.

    • Porst

      So by your 2nd and 3rd paragraph, I’m getting the message that “women shouldn’t be shamed for how they dress, but if they dress in a way I don’t approve of, they should be ashamed.”

      The problem with shaming is the people who shame. The problem with rape is the people who rape. Cut it off at the roots and the world will change.

    • Brent B

      Your logic falls apart at:

      then you should teach girls to treat men with respect by not doing things that could tempt them.

      Two things: 1) Dressing “sexy” or whatever is not disrespectful to boys that might be tempted. Treating someone as an object is disrespectful, dressing as you please is not (at least not in the context we are discussing, dressing certain ways at certain times could probably be disrespectful). 2) You did the same thing the mother did–you are putting focus on the temptation, not on the action. You are shifting blame for boys bad behavior onto girls who “tempted” them. That is innapropriate when we are talking about things like violence and rape against women, but it is extra illogical here. In what way does dressing provocatively “tempt” a boy to treat a woman badly? Will it tempt some boys to think of a woman sexually? Of course (and that is fine, and nothing could prevent it anyways). But to treat them disrespectfully? That doesn’t even make sense–unless you are talking about boys with contempt for female sexuality.