Mrs Hall and Her Letter to Teenage Girls
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    Community Host Alissa_Sal's Avatar
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    Default Mrs Hall and Her Letter to Teenage Girls

    In case you've been living under a rock and haven't read her letter yet, here it is.

    FYI (if you’re a teenage girl) | Given Breath

    Dear girls,
    I have some information that might interest you. Last night, as we sometimes do, our family sat around the dining-room table and looked through the summer?s social media photos.

    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 pj?s 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.

    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.

    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.

    Please know that we genuinely like staying connected with you this way! We enjoy seeing things through your unique and colorful lens ? you are funny, insightful, and often very, wise. Which is what makes your latest self-portrait so extremely unfortunate.

    That post doesn?t reflect who you are at all! 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?

    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.

    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 quickly un-see it? You don?t want our boys to only think of you in this sexual way, do you?

    Neither do we. We?re all more than that.

    And so, in our house, there are no second chances with pics like that, ladies. We have a zero tolerance policy. I know, so lame. But, if you want to stay friendly with our sons online, you?ll have to keep your clothes on, and your posts decent. If any of you try to post a sexy selfie (we all know the kind), or an inappropriate YouTube video ? even once ? it?s curtains.

    I know that sounds so old-school, but we are hoping to raise men with a strong moral compass, and men of integrity don?t linger over pictures of scantily clad high-school girls.

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

    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 the closed-door bedroom selfies that makes it too easy for friends to see you in only one dimension.

    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 ? just like you.

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

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

    Mrs. Hall
    This has caused an internet tempest in a teapot, with some people loving what she said, and others basically saying that Mrs Hall should be teaching her boys to view women with respect regardless of whether or not they are wearing a bra, rather than just censoring the internet. Also, some found it ironic that in a post calling out girls for dressing too sexy or posing for the camera, she posted topless pictures of her boys popping muscles and whatnot.

    I thought this blog had some good discussion questions:

    The Questions We Should Be Asking After Reading What Mrs. Hall Had To Say

    You may agree or disagree with Mrs. Hall?s sentiments, but what I?d like you to think about while reading and then discuss are:
    1. Can ****-shaming be a two-way street? Can boys be on the receiving end?

    2. Is nudity/partial nudity the same as sexualized self-objectification? Is that the point Mrs. Hall is trying to make with the shirtless photos of her sons in a post that ****-shames girls? Or is she being simultaneously obtuse and preachy? Would it bother you if the Hall boys were posting shirtless pics that your daughter was exposed to?

    3. Does one (or 80) sexy selfies ruin a girl, so that no ?good man? will want her? Did you experiment with your sexuality in ways that you are grateful are not forever captured on social media?

    4. Is Mrs. Hall doing the right thing by openly discussing sex with her children, and their use of social media?

    5. How do you feel about the comment, ?If you are friends with a Hall boy, you are friends with the Hall family?? Should tweens/teens be allowed some privacy online, or is it all an open book?

    6. If you were the parent of one of these girls Mrs. Hall is talking about, how would you feel after reading this? Is there more to your daughter than one sexy facebook towel pose?

    7. How does the line about ?once a male sees you naked he can never unsee it? grab you? Are their bigger implications at play there on how we validate male sexuality/desire but invalidate female sexuality?

    8. And finally, is Mrs. Hall onto something? Why are so many young girls and women posting sexy, duck lipped photos of themselves? Are boys doing the same thing and we aren?t paying attention because our culture loves to be hyper-vigilant over the sexuality of young girls?
    Other thoughts? Love it? Hate it? Weirded out by the idea of a family sitting down together and combing through pictures on FB looking for things to object to?
    -Alissa, mom to Tristan (5) and Reid (the baby!)

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    Several people shared the blog post on my FB. I thought it was hypocritical to write the article about girls while at the same time posting topless pictures of her boys. I do agree that girls do not need to be posting pictures of themselves on FB not all the way dressed, however that is a two way street. Boys should be taught to be respectful of a girl no matter what and the pictures of her boys were not any better.
    mom2robbie likes this.

    ~Bonita~

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    Community Host Alissa_Sal's Avatar
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    Where to begin.

    Okay, so the one thing that I think the Halls would be doing right is this: if you don't like someone else's Facebook page, I think it's on you to stop looking instead of on them to change it. This is true whether you don't like their sexy pj pictures or their "NOBAMA!!!!" posts. So, I would agree with the fact that they go through and get rid of the people that they don't want to see, except that she ruined that by posting this letter. By posting the letter, she makes it clear that she wants the girls to change rather than them just not look, so it ruins that whole dynamic.

    Beyond that, yeah, I am disturbed by this idea that young women need to be responsible for keeping young men's thoughts pure. First of all, I'm not overly concerned with the purity of teenaged boys thoughts as long as they can keep themselves respectful (i.e. it's okay to think about sex sometimes as long as you can still be a good guy) but even if I did have the goal of making teenaged boys keep their thoughts clean, I would still expect that to be their own job.

    Also, I'm weirded out by the idea that all of the Halls routinely sit around and comb through young women's pages, deleting the ones that aren't up to snuff. I'm picturing this as a weekly occurance, like Wednesday is Jace's soccer night, and on Friday's they order pizza and play board games, and Monday is Thomas's youth group meetings, and Thursdays are "Judgey Facebook Night." It just strikes me as deeply odd and more than a bit controlling and a violation of those boy's privacy. I mean, if there is a serious reason to warrant violating a kid's privacy (like suspected drug use or something) then I get that sometimes you do what you have to do, but the idea that it's worth doing over a possible picture of a girl in her jammies strikes me as way beyond the pale.

    Finally, I worry that the pictures she is describing (girl dressed in jammies in her bedroom with no bra, girl wrapped in towel) are specific pictures of specific girls that the Hall boys and their friends will recognize and who will recognize themselves. I mean, how humiliating to have your friend's mom blog to the whole world about how she doesn't like that picture of you in your towel, and have your other friends know that she probably meant you. Gross, Mrs Hall.

    Oh yeah, and saying all of this next to pictures of your boys galavanting around topless is SUCH a crazy face double standard. It just speaks volumes about how different her expectations for boys and girls are.
    -Alissa, mom to Tristan (5) and Reid (the baby!)

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    Mega Poster mom3girls's Avatar
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    I read this yesterday and it has taken me a while to really process what I think about it. First and foremost, even if I agreed with everything she wrote, it was all diminished by the pictures of her boys in swim trunks (not that I thought the picture were in anyway bad, just hypocritical)

    While I agree with what she is trying to say to teenage girls, I dont think she is in any place to say it. I am going to assume that those kids have parents. She could make her boys unfriend girls that she feels do not meet her standards, I get that. But I dont think she needs to post about how girls should change.

    I do see a lot of girls post things that I am not sure they realize could be definitely seen as sexy. My niece posted a picture on instagram of her in the bathtub. All you saw was her knees and feet sticking out of the bubbles, but it still bothered me. I called her and asked what the motivation was behind the image, she said she was trying to show her bubble bath. I told her how some people might think she was trying to show a sexy picture. She took it down. I dont know what her reason was for taking it down, if she was not wanting to project that image, or if she was afraid she would get in trouble. But I do think girls need someone to tell them how pictures could be seen, and then they could make the choice what to post with more knowledge.
    Lisa
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    This has been everywhere and I hate what she blogged. I dislike that she is putting it all on the girls to keep her sons pure. I can't stand that she is this controlling of her children.

    I also pictured the whole family stalking girls from their schools to see who is the worst one while insisting her babies are pure and avoiding the devil girls.
    mommydearest likes this.
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    In some ways I agree with her...girls are posting pictures that they shouldn't be. I have told a few of my nieces to put some clothes on in their pictures (by PM I would not say anything publicly). My one niece is a model, she has posted some of her pictures from different sessions, she laughs at me when I tell her to put some clothes on (she is also 21 years old). I also don't think that girls (or even boys) realize once you put a picture online it stays online forever and could come back to haunt you when you want to go to a certain university or for a job or whatever.

    BUT

    She lost all credibility with me with posting pictures of her sons shirtless. Pot meet kettle... It also disturbs me how she is teaching her sons to be so judgmental of others. Robbie is not on facebook yet but when he is I will be monitoring things for bullying and such (on what he posts and what his friends post on his wall), I will not be going through all the pictures of his friends criticizing them. The other problem is blaming girls for guys having "uncontrollable lusts"...guess what that is called being human, our bodies are sexual. Not teaching your sons that they and they alone are responsible for their actions is what leads to victim blaming when rapes occur.

    Being the mother of a boy makes it my responsibility to teach him to respect himself as well as others, to take responsibility for his own actions instead of blaming someone else and not to judge people by how the dress/look/act.
    Danifo likes this.
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    Prolific Poster Danifo's Avatar
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    +1 for getting the hypocrite vibe.

    I just have to say that I am terrified of social media for my girls and what it will evolve into in the next 10 years when they are of age to post inappropriate photos. Kids don't seem to have any concept of consequences for what they post. I don't know how to police it either because anyway I can think of keeping a eye on them, I also know ways around it.

    I find girls do tend to post way more sexy shots than boys. The boys I've seen under 20 might post vulgar comments, jokes and stupid things only a 18 year old would think to do which also might make you judge them and not want them around your "pure" daughter but I would not say they are hyper sexualized like the girls.
    Last edited by Danifo; 09-06-2013 at 11:22 AM.
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    Posting Addict KimPossible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Danifo View Post
    I find girls do tend to post way more sexy shots than boys. The boys I've seen under 20 might post vulgar comments, jokes and stupid things only a 18 year old would think to do which also might make you judge them and not want them around your "pure" daughter but I would not say they are hyper sexualized like the girls.
    I think boys have to be pretty extreme for society to consider anything they do to be 'sexualizing' themselves or to be considered hyper sexualized...while girls, they just have to wear a low cut shirt or super short shorts and they are hyper sexualized. Or they could have a picture of themselves in a bath towel that covers more of them than a boy in swim trunks with no shirt and one is hyper sexualized and the other isn't.

    that in itself is a double standard. What would a boy have to do in order to be considered hypersexualized? Wear his pajamas? Doubt it. He'd probably have to be more naked than a girl has to be for someone to say "Wooooah, thats too much"

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    Prolific Poster Danifo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by KimPossible View Post
    I think boys have to be pretty extreme for society to consider anything they do to be 'sexualizing' themselves or to be considered hyper sexualized...while girls, they just have to wear a low cut shirt or super short shorts and they are hyper sexualized. Or they could have a picture of themselves in a bath towel that covers more of them than a boy in swim trunks with no shirt and one is hyper sexualized and the other isn't.

    that in itself is a double standard. What would a boy have to do in order to be considered hypersexualized? Wear his pajamas? Doubt it. He'd probably have to be more naked than a girl has to be for someone to say "Wooooah, thats too much"
    I see more pictures where girls are trying to look sexy. I have never seen a boy post such a picture. I'm not saying they aren't out there, jut that I've never seen them. I think girls also get into trouble because they do post things intended to be innocent (like the bubble bath) or in their PJs (which just happen to be sexy).

    I don't know what a boy would have to do. I have no problem with girls posting beach pictures where they are having fun and with their friends in bikinis. I do have a problem when she is 15 and the picture looks like it is an audition for Maxim.

    To me that is the point though. You should be aware of the message of what you are posting. It may not be your intention to have that message but you should be aware of your message. It might be you are dressed provocatively, associated with something illegal or just doing something dumb. None of these things mean you are a bad person but it might reflect on you and affect people's decisions about you. Do I want this person to baby sit, do I want this person working for me, am I comfortable with my 13 year old hanging out with this other person.... This doesn't just apply to teenagers.
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    Posting Addict KimPossible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Danifo View Post
    I see more pictures where girls are trying to look sexy. I have never seen a boy post such a picture. I'm not saying they aren't out there, jut that I've never seen them. I think girls also get into trouble because they do post things intended to be innocent (like the bubble bath) or in their PJs (which just happen to be sexy).
    My point is...what would a boy have to do in order to be 'trying to look sexy'?? I think its pretty extreme. Where as a girl doesn't have to be as extreme in order for someone to say she's 'trying to look sexy'.

    I don't know what a boy would have to do. I have no problem with girls posting beach pictures where they are having fun and with their friends in bikinis. I do have a problem when she is 15 and the picture looks like it is an audition for Maxim.
    What would an similar audition look like for a boy?

    I'm merely trying to point out that we give girls 'opportunities' to look sexy that simply don't exist for boys.

    Dressing provacatively is almost exclusively reserved for females with very few male equivalents.

    I guess i just don't think its fair to say "I see way more pictures of girls acting this way than boys" because society over sexualizes women way more than men...i don't really think its just that boys 'dont do it'...they just don't have the same sorts of opportunities too.

    FTR, I"m using the word opportunity because i can't think of a better word to describe what i'm trying to say.

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