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There are many times I'm glad that Facebook, YouTube and Instagram didn't exist when I was growing up -- if they did, there might still be embarrassing and inappropriate images of my ignorant, often downright stupid, college/high school/preteen self floating around in cyberspace.
Today, the ease of uploading photos to social sites has many parents -- of girls and boys alike -- in a tizzy. One of them is Kimberly Hall, the director of women’s ministry at All Saints PCA in Austin, Texas, who recently addressed the the issue via an open letter to teenage girls on her blog, “Given Breath.”
The post, gone viral, warns girls that if you’re friends with one of her sons on Facebook and post any images of a sexualized nature, you will be blocked. And, yes, Mama is watching. “If you are friends with a Hall boy on Facebook or Instagram or Twitter, then you are friends with the whole Hall family,” she writes.
Hall points out braless pajama poses and selfies of girls wrapped in a towel as no-nos.
“Did you know that once a male sees you in a state of undress, he can’t ever un-see it?” she writes. “You don’t want the Hall boys to only think of you in this sexual way, do you?
Now, I get that this mom doesn’t like the idea of young women posting provocative pics of themselves online. My daughters -- still far too young for Facebook accounts, thank goodness -- have already been told that Mom and Dad will be policing all of their online activity.
But blaming girls for stirring up her sons’ hormones -- or for fear that their images will somehow work against her “hope to raise men with a strong moral compass”? It makes me want to sic Courtney Love on the woman.
Why, for example, is it so bad for a girl to post a pic of herself in her jammies, but it’s perfectly fine for Hall to post a photo of her boys wearing nothing but swim trunks while flexing their muscles and giving serious model pout for the camera? Oh, right. That’s just boys being boys.
Hall, herself, admits in the comments of her post that she didn’t “put any thought” into posting the image of her handsome, topless boys for the world to see. So, then, why should an image showing a girl’s body be something to be ashamed of?
Hall writes that her boys are “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” and thus propagating that age-old argument that it’s a girl's responsibility to keep the minds of young men pure. Dress like a slut, get treated like a slut, right? It’s not a boy’s fault that he’s attracted to a girl. She asked for it!
It brings me right back to Hall’s line: “Did you know that once a male sees you in a state of undress, he can’t ever un-see it?” Well, we’ve sure seen Hall’s boys in a clear state of undress. Wonder what she has to say about that. (For a brilliant response, see this turn-the-tables post.)
As one commenter to the post wrote: “…Double standard here. Your intent was good, but the delivery failed. Cover up your sons too, and then preach to the choir.” Amen to that.