By HARRIET PAWSON
That’s pretty much the sentiment expressed in an open letter sent by Kimberly Hall, Director of Women’s Ministry at a Presbyterian Church in Texas to the female friends of her teen sons.
The letter is currently going viral and not only because it was – bafflingly – accompanied by fun family photos of Hall’s teenage sons. Half-naked. In their cossies at the beach.
The open letter – which you can read in full here – goes like this:
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 your 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 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.
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 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?
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 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.
And so, in our house, there are no second chances, ladies. If you want to stay friendly with the Hall men, you’ll have to keep your clothes on, and your posts decent. If you try to post a sexy selfie, or an inappropriate YouTube video – even once – you’ll be booted off our on-line island.
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.
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 honourably – 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 anything that makes it easy for your male friends to imagine you naked in your bedroom.
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.
You are growing into a real beauty, inside and out.
Act like her, speak like her, post like her.
OK, breathe. I too am the mother of teenage sons. My boys are 14 and 16 and I have to say, there’s quite a lot here I agree with. While everyone is busy shouting down Mrs Hall (as she refers to herself in the letter), for slut-shaming teenage girls and for being an outrageous hypocrite by posting half-naked shots of her boys alongside the damning critique, I found myself nodding. A bit.
You see, not long ago, I did the same thing as Kimberly Hall. I went through some of the Instagram profiles of the girls who my sons follow. They may have blocked me from Facebook but because Instagram is open, I can search their names and look at the photos they’ve posted.
Oh my. Oh my my my.
My sons and their male friends post very few photos and those they do post are usually of food or sport. Sometimes nature or cars. Hardly any selfies.
But the girls are so very different. It’s true what Kimberly Hall says. It’s all posing and pouting and cleavage and topless with their hands over their boobs. It’s duck-faces and bikinis and sometimes underwear or towels. It’s close-ups of body parts and there are even shots in the shower or the bath.
I’ve been at dinner parties with other parents of boys and we’ve passed around our phones and looked at these shots of the girls with our mouths open in shock. Talking to another mother, we tried to drill down into what it was about them that bothered us so much.