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.


Mrs. Hall

Photo: Shutterstock // via Jezebel