We Can Do Better

There is a sappy post making the rounds and I've been trying so hard NOT to comment. I've been holding in my eye rolls and my loud sighs. I've been clutching my own pearls and saying, "Do not engage, Jen."

But tonight, I'm engaging. I just can't stay silent. It's just too much.

I'm sure you've seen the post. It's called FYI (if you're a teenage girl). It's written by a mother of three boys and a daughter. She's writing to the young ladies in her teenage boys' lives. I'll let you read it if you're one of the few who hasn't seen it yet and then come back.

You're back? So what did you think? 

The first time I read it, I thought, Blech. Another touchy feely dear son(s) post. 

But this one was different. I read it again. It kept nagging at me. 

Let's just get past the whole heavy handed I'm the world's greatest mom because we read Facebook together and the weirdness that she shamed girls for posting inappropriate pictures and yet she included topless photos of her young sons frolicking on the beach and flexing their muscles (AKA the boy "duck face"). She's since apologized and changed the pictures and reposted the whole thing. I'm not sure why she didn't just change the pics on the original post, but it doesn't matter now. I'm sure all of the hos at school are happy she left the original ab shots.

The pictures didn't bug me that much. What bugged me was that this post isn't really about her sons. It's really about the trashy little whores who keep throwing themselves at her precious snowflakes and insisting on sending half naked pictures to them. I can just imagine the whole Hall clan sitting around the dining room table scrolling through the computer together while the boys yell, My eyes, Mama, my eyes! Make her stop!

Now, let me just say right here, there are some things that she does that I like.

I like that she goes through her kids' social media with them. I've been very vocal about that. I will do that with Gomer and Adolpha. (I'm not sure we'll do it family- meetin' style around the dining room table, but it will get done.) I know there will be some things I'll never see, but I hope to find most of the dirt they're hiding. I also don't like the idea of little girls emailing provocative pictures to my sweet Gomer. I also think that young girls are way too sexualized and should knock that shit off and I'm already dreading the day I find a picture of Adolpha duck facing (and please let that be the worst picture I find). I've been accused of slut shaming before. I just do it better than Mrs. Hall. 

The difference is, I intend to teach my daughter to not send ridiculous selfies with accidental nip slips while at the SAME TIME, I intend to teach my son not to be a fucking creeper

"Boys, don't be jackholes. I don't care what a girl looks like or what she's wearing. I raised you better than that. Find something else to do rather than ogle her." That's all Mrs. Hall had to say and I would have let it go. 

I think this post is highly offensive to young girls and especially any young girl who found herself blocked today by "The Hall Boys" (who when you say it like that sounds like a new ABC Family hit show) because of their smuttiness. What Mrs. Hall wrote was a slut-shaming post wrapped up in a sweet "Bless your heart, you little tramp" bow. 

However, I think this post is even more offensive to the young men of the world, and especially The Hall Boys.



Because when I read this post, encouraging young women to cover up and stop tempting the boys all I could think was Can't your boys keep it zipped up, Mrs. Hall? 

Seriously, when did teenage boys become so victimized? I had no idea. Is there a telethon I can donate to? Because apparently teenage boys are nothing but brainless blobs with erections who can't control themselves so they explode in their pants every time they see a girls' tight ass in a nighty. I didn't realize that teenage boys are like zombies, stumbling around looking for the next hot beef injection instead of braaaaiiiiins

No, no, no! Boys cannot get off this easy. Moms of boys cannot get off this easy. We can't just put the blame on the girls and say, "Stop skanking around my precious innocent boy!" When we tell girls to cover up because boys can't handle themselves, there is something wrong.

Instead of always teaching our girls to cover up, why can't we teach our boys to treat girls with respect and to see them as human beings and not just as sexual objects? I know that's what I intend to do.

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Comments

Lisa M. said…
My daughter is only 2 and I really had the same feelings as you. This post someone else posted summed up my feelings pretty nicely. http://putdowntheurinalcake.com/2013/09/dear-mrs-hall-regarding-your-fyi-if-youre-a-teenage-girl/
Kerry D said…
FINALLY!!! Thank you! This has been bugging me for days.
mnn said…
oh thank you thank you. I was thinking THE EXACT SAME THING when I saw people posting this yesterday. Hello? a teenage boy would think of a girl sexually if she were wearing a parka, who are we kidding? I think she needs to get off her high horse and face reality. There is parental responsibility on BOTH sides.
Mistress said…
I LOVE this! Self-respect and respect of others is a two-way street. I grew up in a strict religious background and if a man was tempted in any way, it was always the woman's fault. Is it my fault that my ANKLE makes you lust? Stop being an animal and control yourself! It takes women respecting themselves enough to not dress like a prostitute, AND it takes men having enough self-control to not view every female as just a place to put his penis.
I will also say that I have a daughter, and those "Hall boys" would be the ones I would tell her to RUN from because they are apparently full-blown Mama's boys who will always be under the thumb of their controlling mother. Find a man who respects women, not one whose Mama is their only moral compass.
StefK said…
Exactly! You rock, Jen.
While I usually agree wholeheartedly with everything you say, I'm feeling a little differently with this post. I have a 19 year old boy/man and a 5 year old boy. I also have a 4 year old girl. The things I see teenage girls do daily scare the crap out of me. I would like to think that I'm raising my daughter up to NOT be a skank. I'm trying. But, they get around these other skanky girls, and a lot of the home training can go out the window. I can also remember looking through my oldest's account and being appalled at the pics that the boys AND girls posted. And, their posts in general. The things they make public are insane. I can't even imagine. I know it sounds cliche, but I thank the internet Gods every day that this shit was NOT around when I was growing up. If I wanted to send a provocative picture to a boy, I would have to find my Kodak 110, go to the store and buy film and flashes and batteries, load up the camera, have someone take it, go back to the store, put the film in to have it developed, wait a week and then give him the picture. The reason I didn't totally skank it up with pictures was due to pure laziness. I do think girls are more public with their skankiness. My friends and I always kept ours on the DL. But, people in general, are more public with their EVERYTHING. I have no idea where I was even going with this. But I guess what I'm trying to say is that you will TRY to teach your kids the right thing and they will HOPEFULLY listen. But, there are so many outside influences, it's really really really hard. And, one slip-up can cause a wave of horrible events. These kids have absolutely no room for error today. So, before you go judging Mrs. Hall, remember, she's only raising boys and this is how she's handling it.
Shasta Wood said…
I have a teenage son and I didn't care for this article either. I stress to my son and all his friends, if they are around, that women should be respected. When he was in middle school two eighth graders were caught in the boys bathroom with the girl giving oral sex to the boy. I made it very clear that a gentleman would not allow a girl to do this and they should show more respect to women. Even if a girl offers, they should have more respect for her and themselves to accept it. Maybe if I keep repeating it, it will have some effect eventually.
lizzybellsmith said…
I think, that maybe it should be a combination of teaching our daughters to have self respect, and our sons not to be pervy creepers.
MJ said…
You said it!!!
TX Mommy 2 said…
Awesome! I have girls and I'm very much into teaching them NOT to be the extremes of what this lady is preaching. My oldest is now delving into social media and she knows I'm watching. She's been warned. But come on boys, does mommy really have to put this warning out!?!
Tracy said…
thank you, thank you, thank you! That's what I love about your writing - you are matter of fact, honest, and NOT holier-than-thou!! thank you for that!! I felt Mrs. Hall had the right intentions but completely missed the mark!!
Pamela said…
THANK YOU.
JAG74 said…
YES. As a mother of a boy I feel the same way . . . the burden is on US to teach THEM how to respect women . . . respect PEOPLE . . . all people. Always.
lizzybellsmith said…
I totally agree with you. Although she does have one girl, and I would like to see how she handles her teenaged daughters first skanky picture. It is shocking to me how much teens share now on fb. its gross. And scary.
Anonymous said…
Or...why don't we do both? Let's teach our daughters to have self-respect. Let's teach our boys self-control.
aunt rebecca said…
Isn't mama's attitude basically the same one that motivates burqas in the Middle East? Men can't control themselves so women have to cover up. We have such a bipolar attitude about sex in this country. Let's have blatant sexuality in magazines, on television, and in movies, but let's not include it in real life. Let's criticize when young people emulate what they see EVERYWHERE!!! Perhaps mama should use her time to educate her sons to respect women regardless of their attire, because their attire isn't their character.
OMG! I love you! I Love You! *This* is what I have been trying to get my friends to see. I say it over and over until I think they must be brick walls. I have two boys, and I am doing *everything* I can to teach them that even if a girl dresses and acts like that, they are perfectly capable of walking away! Indeed, they *need* to walk away. Or get her a jacket. Our men need to remember that they are in control of themselves and women are not objects, so that our girls can remember that they aren't objects and shouldn't act like one. Bless you!
Raising teenagers is terrifying, both for parents of girls and boys. Romantic feelings, body changes, and terrible impulse control make for a perfect storm of poor choices, and social media is making those decisions even more dangerous. Mrs. Hall isn't wrong about some of her sentiment. Where she falls short, and why I can't stand behind her, is in her tone. She is condescending, unforgiving, and one-sided. Also, how does her family manage the beach? So many states of undress! Does Mrs. Hall wear a swimsuit?
Oh crap, really? I didn't even notice that! Yes, I definitely want to see how that's handled. I know I'm dreading it...lol!
I'm still not getting the hate over her post! The photos were a ridonkulous choice but the message was sweet and something I'm sure we've all thought at one point or another. As one mom said on another blog yesterday, if she reached one girl who thought to pull a pic of herself in her see-through jammies, she's done her job. Just my two cents!
Deann Salazar said…
So many many things bothered me on that Both as a woman myself and a mother of a boy. I picture Mrs. hall standing on her porch and turning the hose on any girl who shows up with too short shorts or a skimpy tank top.

I was also unaware that after the male brain sees a woman undressed he can only think of her as a sexual being. That explains why my husband seems so confused when I go about my day to day life and why he asks for sex when discussing world events.
Unknown said…
You keep your hands to yourself, guys. But seriously ladies, cover up at school and work, it IS a distraction whether you want it or not you will derail men's eyes instinctively. If you've never had the experience as a man of scanning a room and noticing that your eyes automatically locked onto cleavage, then I understand your error in thinking it's simply a matter of self control. You dress skimpy, prepare to be oogled, you knew what you were doing.
My boys will be able to pull their minds back from the horrific sight of OMGNEKKIDGURLZ becasue they KNOW better than to reduce any female to her body parts. I raised them to respect any human being, male or female, wearing a burka or buck naked. I CERTAINLY don't tell them the nasssty girlies wearing the daisy dukes are tempting them to do bad things. I simply teach them not to do bad things. And Ms hall needs to make her sons wear blindfolds in public and never let them watch anything over a G-rated movie if their wittle bitsy eyeballz anr so connected to their blue ballz that they cannot function like human beings but will unerringly descend to pervery at the sight of a girl on the beach.
World of Olive said…
I think my only thought on this is that if boys weren't so interested in all this trashiness, girls wouldn't do it. Fact. They do it for the attention they get. The comments on pictures "You're so hot!" And I know because, although I never posted pictures with out a bra, I was in high school just 5 years ago and had pictures similar. You do it for the guys to notice you. If the boys were taught that it's trashy and beneath them, the girls wouldn't do it anymore. It goes both ways, if girls were taught it was trashy, maybe they'd see more. But you're right, some parents just don't pay enough attention and theres one trashy girl looking for attention, guys give it to her, other little girls see that shes getting attention and they jump onboard the skank ship. I think in this day and age, all parents just need to pay more attention to dealing with this stuff, and at a younger age.
Unknown said…
If you continue the line of thinking of this mom, it doesn't take too far to get to the Montana judge who said the victim who committed suicide after being raped by her teacher was "chronologically older than her age". Again it continues to ONLY place blame on women. Wrong. Just wrong.
World of Olive said…
If one guy commented on one of the pictures and said "What the hell are you doing to yourself? You're better than this." I probably would have said "Ooh. Guys don't like this?" and taken the pictures down. Truth.
Ricci M Fuentes said…
The letter should have been addressed to the parents not the girls. I've seen way too many moms posting pictures of themselves looking like fools on their Facebook pages. How is that setting a positive example for their kids? How empty is your head if the only things you have going for you are your pointy nipples and butt cleavage?
Anonymous said…
I edit sweet 16 photos on a daily basis...Mrs. Hall has a MAJOR point. I can't comment on her boys because I do not know them, but girls out there today should be seriously ashamed of their actions and ways of dressing. Not to say boys don't need to be taught respect for everyone....she's just writing at this moment from the POV of a mom of boys.
Wouldn't it be great if ALL the guys said that? But, I don't think they do it JUST for guys either. Girls bully through exclusion and relational aggression. If one of the girls posts a skanky pic, the other girls do it too to fit in. They get just as much attention from their female friends.
Exactly!!!
Becca Cannon said…
I've had the FYI post hit my newsfeed a few times in the last two days and so I read it. I knew it bothered me, but I couldn't figure out why when I agreed with quite a bit of it. I think you hit the nail on the head. I sure as hell don't want my daughter (only 5, but going on 15, I swear) posting that shit when she gets older. But I don't want my sons (4 and 1) thinking that women get treated with anything but respect, regardless of their previous choices. I'm not raising baser animals, I'm raising men that, hopefully, will be amazing people.
Carrie said…
Yes! This, exactly. Perfectly written.
Nicole Shaw said…
Love you when you're all fired up! You have my whole-hearted agreement.
Ashley Granger said…
OMG - eighth grade?? That's terrible!
Ashley Granger said…
No one was in "see-through jammies." The picture was described by the author, so no one really knows exactly how the picture was. The author said the girl "appeared to not be wearing a bra" and had a "sultry pout" (not even sure how you do that). If this is the worst that her sons have seen on facebook, I'm amazed she hasn't blocked everyone. I can't even imagine if the girl had posted a picture of herself in a bikini *gasp* or would that have been ok because taking a picture in the bedroom is so offensive, but the beach is OK?
Ashley Granger said…
The problem isn't the men noticing cleavage. People (both men AND women) notice people's appearances. That's perfectly natural. But in this article, the author is saying that this is all the girl's fault. I've seen this kind of thing on religious sites - it's all about how the women need to keep men's sexual desires in check. I don't care if a guy looks at my cleavage, but if I want to wear something other than a high collar blouse when I go out with my husband, it's not MY responsibility to make sure that man isn't thinking lustful thoughts. I'm not going to go around in a burka because allegedly men will only see me as a sexual being I'm wearing a tank top.
Ashley Granger said…
I think this mother may have a hard time when her sons are in the "real world" because I was in the grocery store the other day and there was a young woman there with no bra. It was over 100 degrees out, so I thought she made a smart decision lol. I can only imagine what Mrs. Hall would have to say to this woman.
Unknown said…
It's not your responsibility, but it's also not really shame on the man for having lustful thoughts so long as he doesn't act on them. Even wrinkled cleavage works like a scan magnet from 12-years of age onward. I'm just saying, going out with your husband is one thing. Showing up to work or school with cleavage and legs is a problem. It's like entrapment to bring neon colors into a drab room and scold anyone for wanting some color in their life.
Marnie said…
I was just using that as an example, as we all watch the news and know that many girls just don't use their heads when posting stuff online these days and it comes back to bite them in the ass big time. There have been bullying incidents and far too many suicides to count.

The thing is I did lots of dumb stuff in my day but no one had smart phones to catch every single thing, and these girls don't have the maturity yet to realize that what they post now could affect them in the future. I think that's all Mrs. Hall was saying. That and that she'd like her boys to get know the beauty within.

And she even replied to all the comments admitting the beach photos was a bad idea on her part, but it's all about context. They're at the beach and wearing bathing suits. Of course! But no one wants to find out our daughters are posting pix of themselves in skimpy nighties in their bedrooms. It's super creepy, especially considering the privacy laws on FB are practically null and void.
Kristen Mae said…
And how about if we ALL do our best to teach our kids, be they female or male, not to be whore-mongers? I have a girl and a boy. They're BOTH getting the smack-down when the time comes.

That being said, I empathize with the mom who wrote the original post; she would've come across a lot better without all the pearl-clutching, though...
Lauren said…
Hahaha! I was at a hot springs this weekend and had such amazing discussions with everyone I met. Completely naked.
Tina said…
This was my exact response - why is the focus just on blocking the girls who are inappropriate; why no mention of blocking male friends who say/do/post inappropriate comments or pics. And it makes me crazy that this article reinforces the idea that it's all the girls' fault for "making" the boys think/act towards them sexually.
Kathleen Fisher said…
Everything about Mrs. Hall's post bugged me including all the reposts and I've raised three teenagers. Thank you for writing this and not holding in your sighs.
Amy Nicholson said…
You are right on.
Unknown said…
To World of Olive: That was beautifully put.
RachRiot said…
Totally spot on. This woman is living under a rock if she thinks this is the way to deal with sexuality. It goes both ways. Sexuality is a human condition we ALL deal with as mature, thinking, feeling human beings. It's about respect and consent, not shame and control.
Jesly said…
Having no sons or daughters, but working a lot with young women in my community, I have been kept very up to date with the downsides of technology and its effect on youth. One of the points that jumped out at me in the blog that Ms. Hall wrote was the fact that she was looking through pictures that had been sent to her sons on their phones, social media, etc. - I'm going to guess that these boys didn't request the pictures to come to them, and I suspect that this mother is frustrated that her sons receive unsolicited sensual photographs from anyone, let alone their friends. Good grief, I know how I felt when "smut spam" used to appear in my e-mail with an innocuous subject line...we look dimly on men (and women!) who indulge in pornographic websites, we file charges against Brett Favre when he sends his selfies to women, and rightly so. If I've learned anything about the Internet, it's a slippery slope, and I get why Ms. Hall's stance.

I suspect she's more than a little firm with her daughter's behavior as well, though she didn't elaborate.

Lastly, the suggestion that parents should be teaching their sons self-restraint and respect for women is SPOT-ON. I have observed some young men who do indeed have respectful attitudes toward young women; however, it won't solve this particular problem unless the young women see the value of self-respect. I didn't get the impression that she wanted the girls in burqas; there is plenty of room for self-expression, femininity, and fashion, while not looking like they could give a call girl a run for her money.

I feel for parents who are raising children in this day and age - total respect for all of you parents who are slogging through these issues on a daily basis!
Jesly said…
I get what you're saying Becca, and when Miss Cyrus starts writhing on the tv I would be so stoked if young men would simply turn it off - but I do feel that it is a different story when it's acted out in real-time. By one of their friends. I'm not saying they would cave, and they may very well be respectful in their reaction, but the RESPECT element of this debate has to be a two-sided proposition as well.
Anonymous said…
THANK YOU. Several friends posted this the other day and I was bothered by it but couldn't find the words. Once again, you found them for me, and they are way funnier than what I would have said. THANK YOU!!!
Plussie Galore said…
RIGHT FUCKING ON!
Plussie Galore said…
yeah, yeah, yeah--I've heard it all too many times that a poor, helpless man can't control himself. You know what? I notice hot dudes too and I'm an old married, hag. I don't however, make an ASS of myself noticing hot, 20-something dudes because I have decorum and manners. Get some.
Anonymous said…
Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!
AMEN Sista! It's just a part of the societal 'women are to blame' mentality. It's the mentality that got Stacey Rambold a 30 day sentence for rape from Judge G. Todd Baugh.
Vicky said…
"Instead of always teaching our girls to cover up, why can't we teach our boys to treat girls with respect and to see them as human beings and not just as sexual objects?"

Well said!!
VAgal4now said…
Yes!
Let's teach our daughters, not shame them. And let's show them there is forgiveness for mistakes, not banning. I appreciate THIS take, Jen. Ellen
Shannon Ellis said…
Yes! Thank you. Teach your sons, teach your daughters. The college I used to work at had to bring a speaker in every year to do training to teach them that no means no, you don't have to answer vulgar texts, you can stick up for your friends and take care of each other so nobody gets hurt, drunkenness is not consent, etc. What amazes me is that this is mind blowing information to these college kids. We can, we MUST do better.
Alissa Smith said…
I remember being in 6th grade (I'm 22 now) and hearing some girls talking about drinking and having sex. And these girls were "cool" and continued to be so throughout middle and high school. At the time, I was shocked. I had no idea people were even thinking about this kind of stuff at that age.
Thank you, thank you, thank you. What a coincidence that I read this post moments after reading the post below that a friend posted on FB. It's a father saying that he's going to teach his sons to look at women differently instead of blaming women for men's wayward thoughts/eyes/penises. I won't have the opportunity to try to raise a girl to be a confident woman who respects and loves herself, but I can try to raise two boys who will help make it easier for women to do so.

http://natepyle.com/seeing-a-woman/
Cassie said…
Y'all didn't just blame girls for their own bullying and suicides, right?

Girls like Mrs. Hall thought I was a slut because I wore short skirts. Actually, I was a virgin until I hit 21, and my total number of lovers? Two. As in bunny ears. Not for lack of opportunity, either.

I don't think short skirts or, for that matter, seeing the outline of a nipple through a shirt implies a lack of self-respect. (Especially since there are still bras in the world that don't pad the entire cup.) I think that what the people ascribe to those images says a lot, though, and most of it is tragic. I dressed the most provocatively when I wanted to feel fun and defiant. Didn't mean my brain fell out of my head the second the fishnets went on. It was just a costume, armor against a scary world. I mean, maybe you would call Abby Sciuto from NCIS a slut, but you wouldn't say it to her face. :)

I may have a daughter someday. I hope I have the good sense to teach her that, above all else, she must be comfortable in her own skin and to hell with the shame this Puritan little place tries to heap on her head from practically birth. Sure, there are reasons not to put photographs on social media ("You may want a job someday, kiddo, and HR uses Google -- at least do it under a pseud") but some stinking fundamentalist's precious teenage boys aren't a reason. Not in my eyes.
Cassie said…
You know, I fancy it's something like alcohol for German kids. My cousin Julia was drinking beer at fourteen, right? And her dad was serving it, too. But they didn't binge-drink; beer wasn't anything but a fun treat. No mystique. Just a little buzz.

Maybe bodies should be like that. No mystique. Real, live naked people in all our imperfect glory. How titillating is skin when you've seen it a thousand times before? Nude beaches could be fantastic for society.
Kathy Radigan said…
I had not read this post till now though I have seen it mentioned in countless Facebook posts. I love how you describe her post as girl shaming wrapped in a bow. I too feel that she would be better to teach her boys respect of women by not demeaning or making fun of them. As a mom of two boys, one who is 14, I don't spend my time talking about the things girls do that is wrong. I spend my time telling my boys and my daughter about having respect for themselves and others. Posting an article shaming girls that sent my son pictures of themselves isn't that way to teach anyone anything. Thanks for a great post.
Anonymous said…
The evil comedian in me would bet good money that this article is a shocked response to her walking in on one of her boys "doing what comes naturally" with one of these pictures as his focus. (Unintentional pun brought to you in part by my musical theater word choice.) And in the event such is true, teach him to lock a door; if anyone has to hide their habits from anyone's prying eyes, it's your sons from you.

But in all seriousness... I've long been tired of the old attitudes displayed in Mrs. Hall's little post. Girls' sexuality is so much the focus of our ire. Women who have sex are "dirty." Men who have sex are men. Girls who dress to be ogled are "hoes." Men who ogle are "just doing what comes naturally." This is the kind of reinforced behavior that makes it perfectly acceptable to legislate a woman's access to birth control and reproductive health care without engaging in balanced conversations about covering Viagra and vasectomies. Our girls cannot win in this environment, not when they are tots in tiaras, not in their teens or when they are coming into adulthood.

FYI (if you're a teenage girl)... the only lesson you must learn from this article is that modesty is a good policy, and equally underrated, under-appreciated, and underestimated. What you should not take away from this article is the idea that you need to censor the content you post online because men are brainless sex fiends who "can't un-see" you scantily clad once they have seen you in such a fashion. Trust me, most men have NO PROBLEM picturing you naked without ever seeing you in anything less than your full outfit, and that is because, LIKE ALL HUMAN BEINGS (not just men), their brains (and sometimes other organs) become sexually focused/fixated when they are going through puberty. Don't let some mom's inability to teach her kids to respect women or have a little self-control without blocking anyone who so much as shows cleavage from their Facebook feed teach you that you should have to police yourself. When both genders learn to respect themselves and each other, this conversation won't have to be had.

G. DelGi
(a twenty-three-year-old gay man who doesn't take too kindly to men being generalized as meat with eyes)
Anonymous said…
Furthermore... here's what I would say in the same situation:

ME: "Boys, it's time we had a little talk. (No, not THAT talk; I already know what today's world is like because I grew up in it, so I know you don't need THAT talk, just a few finer points. We'll get to that later.) Now... your pop and I keep a close eye on your Facebook feeds for a reason -- we want to make sure you're not doing anything silly or stupid, because?"

KIDS: (as if by rote) "The Internet is a permanent record."

ME: "That's right, and I learned that the hard way..."

KIDS: (speaking over me, as if by rote) "...when you were 15."

ME: "That's right. Now, I'm not gonna lay down the law and say you shouldn't be looking at some of these pictures we've been seeing your friends put up. Don't worry! It's okay if you have sexual feelings! You're a sexual being! Girls are, too."

HUSBAND: (Who I pray bears a passing resemblance to Daniel Radcliffe, meow) "But that doesn't mean you can treat them like objects. In this house, we respect everyone, regardless of their gender, sexuality, or appearance. You, and you alone, are responsible for your thoughts and actions. You're not a mindless fiend who 'can't un-see' the object of your desire in a sexual fashion. Self-control is as old as 'keep your hands to yourself,' and it applies here."

ME: "We've raised you with a strong moral compass, but even Ted Haggard got caught with a male hooker. Keeping your clothes on and your posts decent, that ain't always gonna happen. I get it. But a little self-control compared to those dogs out there doesn't hurt."
That's because your parents raised you right, Alissa.
~Kim~ said…
I read that post circulating on the FB wall of the "friends" who feel that sharing such drivel will make them look like the mothers they aren't. Then I said to my husband: "$5 says two out of three of those boys will marry a stripper". And G. DelGi ^ - you're the bomb.
You totally hit the nail on the head with this! I keep seeing my friends share her post, and all I can think is that they have no idea what they're contributing to. I finally wrote my own response to it. Boys need to be held accountable for themselves, instead of teaching them that the blame lies elsewhere when they can't control their thoughts.
stollkc said…
LOL @ Parka!
Ashley said…
http://natepyle.com/seeing-a-woman/
Teaching your children respect and self-respect goes both ways. Yes, be upset that your son received a picture of a scantily clad girl. But also be upset that your son didn't delete it. Don't teach him that girls who wear short shorts and crop tops are skanks. Lots of girls dress that way and aren't having sex-and even if they were, who are you to judge those girls? (I can understand you not wanting your son dating a sexually active teen, but shaming those girls is not the way to stop it). Teach your sons that all women are to be respected. Teach your daughters to expect respect and that it doesn't come from sexy photos.
Ger said…
I think you hit the nail on the head when you said her post depicts her boys as being victimized. I agree that girls should not be posting skimpy, provocative pictures, but also some responsibility lies with boys in general & how they react to those & perceive all girls. Be respectful & don't respond to those kinds of posts (ie: delete them or block them).
Unknown said…
yeah yeah yeah, I've heard it all too many times before that women can wear whatever and if anyone looks at her it's the observer's fault. Who is the ass here, the one looking, or the one with the short-shorts that say "JUICY" on the butt?

Those 20-something dudes aren't walking around in chaps or something stare worthy, your comparisons are silly.
Candis said…
I thought I would share a link to a local article, it is kind of a response to this woman and I think you'll like it! http://www.deseretnews.com/article/865585841/How-to-see-a-woman-A-conversation-between-a-father-and-son.html
Kelly said…
I couldn't agree more. This is a great point. We're missing the boat with our sons and daughters here, aren't we?
RK said…
As I read the FYI letter, I felt a tick in my eye and before I knew it, a migraine ruined my day and I wonder if I can sue someone for that.

I would have commented on her site, but then you wrote this lovely piece and oh by the way, can I just cut and paste this into her comment section?
Anonymous said…
I agree somewhat and I get what Mrs. Hall is saying here but the whole...my boys are holier than thou so stop tempting them thing did make me roll my eyes. Come on, they are TEENAGE boys...they ogle girls in traffic for goodness sake and probably everywhere else. I'm all for monitoring online activity. I already do this with my son who is only 11. And I probably wouldn't be too happy about girls sending photos to my son. BUT I'm also a realist and I know this is going to happen at some point. All that I can do as his mother is prepare him for dating and falling in love and having feelings about girls. Sexuality is a normal, natural thing. However, you are correct that we need to teach young girls AND boys to have respect for themselves first and then for their chosen partners. I am trying my best to raise an honest gentleman who treats his future girlfriend(s) like a lady should be treated. I respect the Hall family's take on religion and morality but to expect her boys to stay "pure" in my opinion is an uphill battle at best. A realistic view would be to teach them to respect women as human beings like you said and not sexual objects and if they have sex with someone they love and respect it's not the end of the world.
ChefSara said…
So, there's another post that showed up in my FB feed around the same time (I wish I could find it now, but it's too buried and I can't remember who posted it) that basically was "the talk" a dad was planning on having with his son the first time he noticed his son look at a woman with lust. And "the talk" was basically that women are people who deserve respect, they are not objects. And that many will try to tell him that it's her job to dress in a way to get his attention but it's not. It's his job to give her the attention she deserves as a strong, capable person deserving of respect and not as an object. Or that people will tell him that it's her fault for dressing provocatively and causing him to look at at her with lust. But it's not. It's his responsibility to control how he looks at a woman or talks to her. Though his blog post was much more eloquent than my fuzzy recollection.
Kristin said…
Full disclosure here, I've posted this response on a few other kick ass posts about the FYI letter...

Honestly, my first reaction when I read that post was way to go Mama. But, I was thinking as a mom who has three boys she wants to protect from the extremely forward behavior of many girls.

But, the more I thought about it and the more I read about it, the worse I felt about my original reaction. I get the reasoning behind her post but, I object to the author’s method. This kind of shaming can have all kinds of negative repercussions. I feel for the young ladies mentioned and described in that post. A far more effective method of encouraging appropriate online behavior is found in this brilliant piece by my friend Dana

All I can say is my initial reaction to that post was wrong.
Sandy said…
I like your style. You call is as you see it. You go girl!

Sandra Sallin
apartfrommyart
ChefSara said…
Someone posted it above, but I wanted to repost it because THIS is the post that should be going viral:

http://natepyle.com/seeing-a-woman/

"A lot of people will try and tell you that a woman should watch how she dresses so she doesn’t tempt you to look at her wrongly. Here is what I will tell you. It is a woman’s responsibility to dress herself in the morning. It is your responsibility to look at her like a human being regardless of what she is wearing."
Anonymous said…
Yet I wonder if a guy DID post what Olive said, would he then get reamed for slut shaming?



Jen_K said…
Exactly!
Ugh! My comment got eaten! OK, I'll give it another shot...

First off - love your blog! You keep me in stitches!

I agree with much of what you've written here, but I have to say - I actually kind of like Mrs. Hall's post. I'm willing to bet she didn't mean to come across as "holier-than-thou" as she did, because I read that her blog was a very small, family and friends only blog before this post went viral. We write based on our audience, most of the time, and I'm pretty sure she wrote this thinking only of her friends and family (who know her and her heart). So I'm willing to cut her some slack.

This is such a complicated issue that I wrote my own post about it. I saw a strange conflict between reaction to the Miley Cyrus onstage shenanigans and the reaction to Mrs. Hall's post. Frankly, people judge other people all the time; it's why we dress appropriately for job interviews and get tips on how to interview well. We're being judged. So telling girls to consider what they post online is just sound wisdom.

But I agree that we need to teach boys how to act, too. Both boys and girls need to face reality and act responsibly. Here's what I would want my sons to know about this subject when they're old enough: http://cradlerockingmama.com/miley-cyrus-and-mrs-hall/

Anyway, thanks for regularly brightening my day with your humor!
Rocky said…
I think she wants the girls to be more covered up, think muslim hijab style,at least until her princess grows up then she will let her shine!! I think it is great that she deletes all the little slutty photos girls but to put all that out there is too much. I'd probably have to start a campaign to hunt out the "HALL BOYS" friends on facebook and get shots of all there female friends on the beach. #justsaying
sarah jenks said…
http://www.rageagainsttheminivan.com/2013/09/on-respect-responsibility-and-mrs-halls.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+RAGEagainsttheMINIVAN+(Rage+Against+The+Minivan)&m=1

This is a great article pinpointing the flaws in Mrs. Hall's letter, it's brilliant!
PrimpYourNails said…
Love this, GiDelGi
Sparkler said…
I agree with you Ballsequalbusted. I have been horrified for years about the way girls are turning sex into a sport, & not because I have boys,& not because it's one rule for boys & another for girls...but because I think they are so young and vulnerable and so inexperienced and trying to find their way in life and who they are. They don't realise that they aren't doing what they think/hope they are doing a lot of the time. They think young guys admire them when they see these pics or when they hear what sexual antics they'll get up to with just about anyone, but they don't realise they are just being used and these guys will find some young girl with some values and self respect to fall in love with. :( I thought she gave the girls a little perspective on how their behaviour is being viewed out in the world without shaming them, but speaking with respect and concern.
Sparkler said…
The scary thing is we can talk till we're blue in the face, but a lot of kids are far more influenced by what they see other older girls doing as their barometer of cool...let's face it our kids think we are so not cool and that we came out of the ark and that things have changed now since we were their age...just like we thought when our parents tried to give us the benefits of their experience...
Hey Mon! said…
What I would really like to know is whether Mrs. Hall also blocks any boys who comment inappropriately on the racy selfie pics with no second chances.

She is such a typical self-righteous mama's boy mama. If precious boy and his girlfriend find that girlfriend is pregnant, it's because she's a slutty mcslutterson who seduced her sweet baby boy.

But then, let's see how she feels when she's raising her daughter at the same age. I would not be surprised if the problem then is all the predatory boys (notice how much younger the daughter is; she's going to remember HER boys as being so much better behaved than the boys her daughter is exposed to - not interacting with, but exposed to, of course).

Either that, or her daughter will be too frightened of her sexuality that she obeys until the point she gets pregnant because the only thing she was taught about birth control was that only sluts need it.

Or a combination of both - daughter is only pregnant because of the predatory boy.

My husband coached both boys and girls soccer at a high school level for several years. Mama boy mamas are what made him quit coaching the boys after about 7 years. He lasted a bit longer with the girls, simply because the moms actually taught them responsibility (even a couple of the "slutty mcsluttersons" who are now doing wwwwaaaaayyyyyy better at college than their mama boy counterparts). Example: 1) Mama boy mama - would you please complete a recommendation for my sweet baby boy's college application? 2) Girl - Coach, would you please give me a recommendation for college.

I have younger children, but tell all of my friends with kids in the same age range, to please not make your boys into mama's boys.

The world IS changing and they might not have as easy a time as their fathers/grandfathers. And they will have female bosses who might show a bit of cleavage at the office. Let's see how well they advance in their careers if they only think of boss as a sexual object!

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