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Dear Mrs. Hall,

September 4, 2013

Dear Mrs. Hall,

I read your blog post, FYI (if you’re a teenage girl) this morning at the recommendation of two really lovely people who shared it on Facebook. They agreed wholeheartedly with your position and, to a degree, I do as well.

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.

Teenage girls should definitely NOT post compromising photos of themselves on social media sites. 

Before I continue, let me say that you appear to have lovely, fun-loving, well-managed sons and one cutie-patootie of a daughter. I feel as if you wrote this with a pure heart filled with concern for your boys and the girls that are growing up with them.

I know a thing or two about the dynamics of a large family tree and as the mother of four boys and one teenage girl, I feel doubly qualified to share my opinion of your letter. It occurred to me to write this in the comments section of your post, but I thought it more consistent to just go ahead and use you as a platform for my opinion the same way you exploited the teenage female friend(s) of your sons.

Let’s start there. With that.

It feels as if you know these girls personally. Austin is a big place, but you seem like the kind of mom who would know their children’s friends and taking into consideration the sharing of photos, it’s an easy leap. Did you contact the girl or girls mentioned to share your disappointment personally or was it more expedient and humiliating to just lay them bare on the pages of your blog?

Perhaps you know their parents. The specific examples you use, sexy posing in pajamas without a bra and posing in a towel, would trouble most any adult. And yet, I wonder, did the parents of this girl (or girls) actually see your letter? Did this missile meet its mark? Did you reach out to them first, before hitting ‘publish’?

As I said before, I believe your concern is true and legitimate, but you make no mention of any action on your part that fulfills the intent of your words. Setting your son up to explain this to a girl he has media-blocked accomplishes what? “My mom made me do it.” The measure of your meaning is completely lost. And therefore, so is your motive for writing this … which is to bring about change, right? Not to just go on a non-specific, self-righteous rant about how your sons are better than their scantily clad counterparts? I certainly hope your sons and mine never do anything so scandalous as to go braless.

But if they do … when they do …

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.

Wow. No second chances.

On your About Me page you say, “In my current role at All Saints PCA,  I get to combine so many of my heart’s true loves: writing to the saints, cheering on the church, ransacking God’s Word, teaching, gathering, and walking with women in all stages of life and faith –  reminding them that Jesus loves them. I couldn’t enjoy it one drop more.”

Banished from the Island of Hall for an indiscretion and blackballed for life. That would totally remind me that Jesus loves me.

You close with this:

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.

I agree that our boys deserve to have women of character in their lives.

And so, Mrs. Hall, I offer you your own advice: Act like her. Speak like her. Post like her.

I wish we were friends (to discuss this face-to-face),

Mrs. Landsberger

 

P.S. *The other issues , I’ll leave to the experts.

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11 Comments leave one →
  1. September 4, 2013 8:22 am

    As the mother of a 16-year-old boy, I find Mrs.Hall’s tactics troubling. I am friends with many moms of 16-year-old girls. I have, more than once, been in the position of knowing that one of those girls exposed herself (literally and figuratively) via text or social media. In one case where I thought the girl was really in trouble, I contacted her mother. In two other cases I got in touch with the girl and said I was worried about what she was doing and felt like we were all kind of community moms who might be nosy but only out of love. I NEVER, not once, took such an action because I was worried about my son’s tender sensibilities; I was genuinely concerned about a girl who was somebody’s beloved baby with a future to protect.

    As for my son, I don’t need to look at every picture in his Facebook feed and tell him which girls are being voted off the island because we teach tolerance and love in this house. We do not label girls based on their poor choices; we have conversations about why they might feel the need to post half-dressed selfies, and how insecure girls can be about their looks, If I know the girl, we talk about things in her life that might make her feel like she needs that kind of attention, and how important it is to be kind, and to be a friend and a gentleman rather than deciding who is a “skank” and therefore a member of some lower caste.

    It’s hard work, I think it’s good parenting. I am pretty sure that in my own way I am raising a man who will be kind to women and respect them without judging, Because no matter who teaches a man that certain women are “trash,” whether it’s done by other guys in the locker room or by well-meaning parents at the kitchen table, it’s really the same message. And every woman deserves respect and compassion. Every human does.

  2. Heather permalink
    September 4, 2013 8:24 am

    I saw another response from a male that had a particularly important retort: as a culture, we need to stop demanding that women take responsibility for over-sexualized males. Mrs. Hal’s young men need to take responsibility for their thoughts and actions, and not look anywhere external for their shortcomings. It’s actually damaging to tell young girls that their dress or the way they stand could/would invite sexual male attention, let alone be responsible for it; it’s even more sad that it’s accepted and true. It’s equally damaging for our young men to grow up with the idea that a girl who wears a short skirt is somehow less worthy, or that he is less responsible than the female for his sexual thoughts and desires; she asked for it, right?

  3. Michael permalink
    September 4, 2013 8:57 am

    She’s PCA. That’s really all anyone needs to know. Self-righteousness is a requirement for membership.

    • Michelle G. permalink
      September 4, 2013 9:53 am

      Michael…I’m sorry but I have no idea what PCA means, actually it has several meanings in the medical field but here I am lost. What does it mean?

      • Shawn permalink
        September 4, 2013 1:11 pm

        Presbyterian Church in America…..

  4. September 4, 2013 9:04 am

    I agree with both of you. I love what you said, Ann, about the message coming from guys in the locker room or by well-meaning parents at the kitchen table and you both make the point that our young men must be responsible for their own thoughts and actions. Yes. Yes. Yes. There are about a dozen good angles for a response to Mrs. Hall, this is just the one that spoke to me. **Why? Why write it? What’s her endgame?**

    I have shirtless pics of my boys at the beach/river/backyard all over the house and facebook, so I didn’t even consider the photos she used until I got to the comments and the double standard in the words is more prominent than anything in the photos.

    Again … why?

  5. September 4, 2013 10:00 am

    It deeply troubles me as a parent that her boys aren’t wearing bras.

  6. September 4, 2013 12:03 pm

    Thank you. Thank you.

  7. September 4, 2013 3:06 pm

    so much nastiness and grief and down-the-road (intended or unintended) consequences can be avoided by making a phone call or writing a discreet, personal email. excellent piece, ms. A.

  8. Alexandria permalink
    September 5, 2013 2:31 pm

    As a teenage girl myself, I found Mr.s Hall’s article very disturbing. I personally have had a few friends who have posted exposing pictures on facebook or sent them over text, and i can definitively say that it was never the girls idea or something that they just loved doing. The reason they do it is because we live in a society full of men who tell women that the only time they’re worth anything is when they sexualize themselves. Instead of condemning these girls for life for a few mistakes, I would take the time to teach my sons that the girls who do things like that are in the most need of having a good christian guy in their lives. Instead of spouting off how she would like to preserve the good christian ethics of her family from the terrible girls who just want to tempt her sons, she should take an active role in trying to bring these girls to the Lord. No one is perfect. It would be a shame If God felt the same way towards her that she obviously feels towards these teenage girls. God told Hosea to marry a prostitute for crying out loud, yet she cant even teach her sons to reach out and disciple women who are obviously struggling with feeling wanted…It makes me sad.

  9. Tiffany permalink
    September 5, 2013 3:33 pm

    What I didn’t understand is that the 1st photo on her page, of her 3 boys and daughter. Her boys were topless, it seemed to go against all she was saying,

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