Dear Hall boys,
So it appears your mother is a special breed of genius who believes the key to raising sons of high moral fiber is to eliminate all “immoral” or “impure” images from their presence (as opposed to just teach them to be of high moral fiber). If successful, your mom will (apparently) eliminate all pornography, nudity and sex in every form of media including but not limited to internet, art, print and film. She will also make sure no scantily clad women ever near her sons, which could get a little complicated given the whole general population and freedom problem. When you all grow up and leave the house, she’s going to, um, well. Not sure. Maybe poke your eyes out and fill your ears with impenetrable wax?
Perhaps this sounds a little far-fetched to you. Perhaps this sounds a little fucking batshit crazy. Well yes, it is. Your mother’s conclusion that the key to raising “boys of integrity” is to eliminate images that fall out of line with “integrity” is insane, precisely because it places PERSONAL DECISIONMAKING on the shoulders of an outside party, of external circumstances, of beings beyond your control.
In other words, it places the responsibility of YOUR morality on the shoulders of others, and that is wholeheartedly idiotic. I mean, how could anybody ever be a decent person if circumstances beyond our control determined what we think and how we behave? It also, incidentally, fuels what we like to call “rape culture,” wherein the girl is raped by the boy because she was a “slut” and therefore “asking for it.” The boy was the real victim because he was rendered powerless by her unprotected vagina and lack of bra. Your mother’s idea that GIRLS need to cover themselves so YOU can behave like a gentleman is the exact same mentality that fuels rape culture, and results in things like Steubenville or 30-day sentences for pedophile rapists.
So your mom wants you to have a “high moral compass.” That’s so great. I want that for my son too. She does not want you to “linger over pictures of scantily clad high-school girls.” She wants you to be a “man of integrity.”
And in your mom’s opinion, the path to this moral compass and integrity is shaming girls who choose to behave in ways that violate her own interpretation of “morality.”
Well, boys, I have some really good news for you: Your moral compass is not dependent upon the behaviors of others. That’s what makes it MORALITY. It’s YOUR morality. It’s within you.
You could just make the decision to NOT “linger over pictures of scantily clad high-school girls.” EVEN IF THE PHOTOS EXIST.
You totally have the power to do that.
I know. Crazy talk.
Dude, you could be surrounded by 17,000 girls in bikinis and you could like, not rape them. You could not disrespect them. You could not even visualize impure things. You could just say to yourself “Wow, there’s 17,000 girls in bikinis around me. GO ME.”
And no worries, boys, if you lie there at night visualizing your female friends naked. Your mom seems really worried about it, but I’m 100% sure 90% of teenaged boys do that. The other 10% are visualizing their male friends.
And newsflash: The teenaged girls? They’re doing it too. Dude. Teenage girls often masturbate and flirt and do all the things you do (including imagining sex with people), and some of them will even want to have SEX with you, but check it out: You don’t have to do a thing. Their feminine ways, though strong and gorgeous and compelling, have no power over you.
Also, you know those pictures your mom put up of all you boys without shirts looking all handsome? Yeah, there’s a good chance girls might see those and have some “impure thoughts” (also known as “budding sexuality”) but apparently that’s okay with your mom because BOYS are not responsible for the thoughts of GIRLS. Girls are responsible for their own thoughts, or they’re assumed to be asexual themselves or only interested in posing with “arched backs” and “pouty faces” to attract you, the innocent boy. Clearly there’s no way a girl would see YOUR photos, “scantily-clad” indeed, and “linger” over that image for a while.
Look, Hall boys, don’t let your mom convince you you’re a victim of your penis. Don’t let her degrade and diminish you like she’s done to the girls on your newsfeed.
Don’t grow up thinking you’re rendered powerless at the sight of a “slut” or pouty face selfies or braless females or arched backs. In the words of your mom, “you are growing into a real beauty, inside and out,” and no matter how many pouty face selfies exist on your newsfeed, you can grow into the man you want to become, with a high moral compass and integrity, whatever that looks like for you.
And I really fucking hope you do, because I have kids who may be the passed-out ones at a party someday, growing up in this world too, taking in the sick-ass backward culture perpetuated by people like your mother.
Oh, and girls on the newsfeed making pouty faces in pajamas with arched backs and sultry eyes, knock that shit off, but not because boys will never be able to burn your image out of their minds, but rather because you look like a fucking douchebag.
And boys on beaches without shirts showing off muscles in a giant man pile, knock that shit off, but not because girls may be imagining you naked for the next year, but rather because you look like a fucking douchebag.
How about we all just use our brains and stop blaming other people for our inner selves, and please, for the love of God, let’s all stop making duck face.
Hang in there, Hall boys. There’s always one crazy in the family, and I think we all know who it is in yours.
Angie GutierrezThursday, 5 September, 2013 at 10:29
I agree 100% that we all our responsible for ourselves, and our own integrity, certainly. I also agree that people should quit posting those lame selfies, and out with duck face! I don’t always agree with all your opinions, and obviously it is quite acceptable to disagree, but you undoubtedly make me laugh every time! Thanks for keeping me entertained, you are an excellent writer. I always catch myself imagining things in my mind that you so perfectly described.
RobinThursday, 5 September, 2013 at 10:29
Loved this post – you are spot on!
Marie RossiterThursday, 5 September, 2013 at 10:36
Well, I thought I was the only one who read that post and wondered: so, why do these boys still have these “impure” pictures on their phones? There is a delete button.
I love the message of telling girls to stop sending those kind of pictures—why? As you said, they look like morons and not because I think girls sending these pictures are responsible for the possible moral decay of our teenage boys.
When I used to teach HS, I’d tell the girls “Dress how you want to be treated.” It had nothing to do with the perception of “asking for it”; for me, it is about respect. I believe if you want to be treated with respect, show it to yourself and others. It’s called personal responsibility: a foreign concept for many.
Let our kids be responsible for their actions. Honestly, I think that is the bigger problem in our society. It’s easy to blame these crazy picture-sending girls, movies, music and the media. Be involved in your kids lives not just by going through their phones to be the “porn police.” Talk to them about these sorts of things and stop making excuses that the world is corrupting our youth. Teach them to think for themselves and act like decent human beings.
I also thought it was funny to see the pictures in the original post. A mom wouldn’t see that as something that would lead to impure thoughts–“my kids would NEVER be seen that way.” I didn’t see them as impure; I saw them as hypocritical. Why is a half dressed man less provocative than a half dressed woman? I don’t get it.
Rant over. I’m glad to see I’m not the only one out there who was like WTH?
NatalieThursday, 5 September, 2013 at 10:44
*applauds wildly and cheers inappropriately*
You are the shit. BRA-FUCKING-VO.
GGThursday, 5 September, 2013 at 10:49
Thank you! Someone needed to say this!!
HeatherThursday, 5 September, 2013 at 10:50
Yep! I can not believe how self righteous this woman is. To bash girls for the pictures they post on the internet just to turn around and post half naked pictures of her sons is completely idiotic.
lisaeggsThursday, 5 September, 2013 at 18:58
I come for Janelle’s posts, and stay for Heather’s comments. Right on, ladies. I love you both.
HeatherThursday, 5 September, 2013 at 21:14
Lisa!!! I Love you!!! and I did it….I actually did the running man video! I must be as crazy as the Mrs. Hall lady. 😉
SarahThursday, 5 September, 2013 at 10:50
Well said. Somehow I stumbled on this ‘Hall boy’ shit and, while I can definitely relate to the mother’s frustration at the selfies and shit, I quickly became a little creeped out by her um… control issues? High puritan drama?
And yes, the selfies NEED to stop. Unfortunately they aren’t limited to teenagers anymore- full grown adult dumbasses are indulging in this vapid activity too. I’ve had to ‘hide’ a couple of people from my FB feed because I couldn’t take it anymore.
AlexandraThursday, 5 September, 2013 at 11:03
I agree. Not holding her children responsible for their actions astounds me.
We are in charge of what we do. No one else is to be blamed.
SarahThursday, 5 September, 2013 at 11:15
I could not agree more, thanks for posting this
StephanieThursday, 5 September, 2013 at 11:18
I agree with you on most points. She was eerily controlling of what her kids see… and having all of her son’s friends as friends… Pretty sure I wont be doing that as my son gets old enough to use facebook and other social media sites. But… who are we to judge one mother doing what she thinks is best for her sons? We might think it’s a little… off… but others might feel the same about the way we parent. Saying she’s crazy for blogging the way that she did is pretty harsh.. I think she’s just trying to get her point across that a lot of Teen girls these days seem to have little or no morals when it comes to pictures of themselves on Facebook / Instagram. I’m fully aware teen boys are the same way… It’s annoying as shit.
BryonyFriday, 6 September, 2013 at 1:55
I think most of the problem isn’t that she has what most people here, including myself, see as a backwards-ass approach to responsibility and sexuality, but that she addressed that sanctimonious blog post directly TO all of those girls, implying that her ideas on sexuality and parenting are the One True Way to raise children or behave. It isn’t just that she’s saying, ‘you seem to have no morals’ it’s that she’s taking it a step further and saying, ‘and you need to change that OR ELSE.’
Plus, the dehumanising insinuation that her sons are helpless bags of hormones who will get a stiffy and be irreparably damaged by the first hapless sight of nipple is pretty insulting to all parties involved.
RandiThursday, 5 September, 2013 at 11:18
This is perfect! I like how she says, “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 then she proceeds to give herself a second chance by reposting her nonsense with different pictures! That seems a little contradictory. Not to mention the fact that she missed the whole point of everyone’s outrage, which you have so eloquently outlined in your post. Great job, Janelle!
KarenThursday, 5 September, 2013 at 11:19
Have you seen this? I tried to look through all the comments on your posts lately but couldn’t find it:
Just thought I’d share…seemed relevant. 🙂
AnsleyThursday, 5 September, 2013 at 16:03
I really like that link, Karen. As a woman who was raised to believe that I can CAUSE a man to lust based on my appearance, I find this kind of response refreshing. Men ARE responsible for their actions, just as women are responsible for theirs. Women make choices every day about how they will dress and men make choices about what they look at.
I personally make the choice to be respectful of myself and of those around me (’cause let’s be honest…no one wants to see this hot mess all nekkid and stuff)…BUT, let’s stop telling boys that they can’t control it. While they may struggle to control it, they can do it. We need to empower and encourage boys just as much as girls.
StephanieThursday, 5 September, 2013 at 11:21
Ha! That last sentence! HA!
AlexandriaThursday, 5 September, 2013 at 11:22
THANK YOU!!! I really hope those boys get wind of this and read it.
BeckiThursday, 5 September, 2013 at 11:26
I love you Janelle.
BeckiThursday, 5 September, 2013 at 11:29
Ps the comments on the original blog made me want to cry. Do people really think that way?
Heather ThorkelsonThursday, 5 September, 2013 at 12:50
My thoughts exactly Becki. And dare I point out that many of them were citing religion to back up their approval of Mrs Hall’s stance. Shame.
HeatherFriday, 6 September, 2013 at 8:37
I have noticed that also. All over my facebook it’s the over the top religious folks that keep posting this and talking about how great it is. The ridiculous part about it is no one is saying anything about the fact that she turned around and did the same thing by posting pictures of her sons half dressed and making muscles on the beach!
Laurel HermansonThursday, 5 September, 2013 at 11:35
You made my day, Janelle. Also, it’s taking every ounce of restraint not to comment on that woman’s clusterfuck of wrongness, “Your boys are HOT. Thanks for the spank bank material!” But that would be bad.
JenniferThursday, 5 September, 2013 at 11:37
For the love I hope that your message reaches that mom. And I also like Heather’s comment about her posting shirtless pictures of her sons. I didn’t even think about that which shows you how – even as a feminist – I missed the irony in that.
JessThursday, 5 September, 2013 at 11:52
Posts like Hall Lady’s Post make me want to beat up everyone on my FB timeline who re-shared. This was brilliantly said. Instead of censoring what our children see, we need to teach them to see without objectifying.
TiffanyThursday, 5 September, 2013 at 12:00
Janelle, I love to read your writing. I find myself a little more aware of the news today after wading your blog. Unfortunately, why is this news??? Why is her blog post news? I didn’t learn anything from it. I don’t see the value in her post? In fact, My heart is aching a little bit right now. In what way is accomplishing anything positive? She makes a mockery of the girls that she describes and then uses guilt and shame. Is she not privy to childhood research regarding the negative affects of guilt and shame as parenting tactics? So they have a one and done rule in there house? What responsibility are her sons taking by simply blocking her posts? NONE, because said girl will never know that she was hidden from his feed. What about actually taking a more loving and compassionate approach such as having the sons reach out to the girls. Or better yet, have your sons express that the girls are beautiful and needn’t pose in such a way. It is all about reinforcement here. Her sons’ actions reinforce nothing to the young ladies. Mama Hall’s actions negatively reinforce the girls’ actions. Now, the girl has a slew of boys seeking out her cyber-friendship hoping to get a peek at a protruding nipple or to see just the position of her pouty lips so he can better imagine what they are capable of. Congrats Mama Hall, you may have hidden these girls from your boys but you have just sent the morally corrupt other boys scrambling to her page. You have accomplished nothing in terms of teaching young women anything about how to handle her body, the way men and boys react to her body, what it means to be a sexual being, or ways of being a moral young lady. You have condemned them with your one-and-done philosophy and accomplished nothing. I am sick with the limited scope and ignorance of this woman. Shame on you Mama Hall. I am sad that have made headlines and I am sad that you cannot see the damage that you are doing. Criticism and shame are awful tools.
ShaneThursday, 5 September, 2013 at 12:32
Yep… That pretty much sums up my thoughts on that subject. I left an abridged version without the “F” bombs on her blog.
Lisa KaplinThursday, 5 September, 2013 at 13:25
I seriously love you! I owe you some cocktails for the huge belly laugh you just gave me.
JennThursday, 5 September, 2013 at 14:02
Wow, there are so many things wrong with that post (hers, not yours). It is really scary that there are still people out there that are teaching these beliefs to their children. I have both a son and a daughter, and it is dirty from both perspectives. Thank you for writing such a great response. I hope she catches wind of it 🙂
So happy to read this!Thursday, 5 September, 2013 at 14:13
THANK YOU! Finally a response to the hypocrisy! As the Mother of a son, I applaud you! Let’s teach our sons that they are human beings with thoughts and feelings that are perfectly ok and how to respectfully NOT ACT on all of them, LOL.
JadeThursday, 5 September, 2013 at 14:23
I read the post about the Hall Boys… and frankly whats the big deal? I think the mother has every right to determine what her children view on the internet. I dont think she was so much telling the girls that they need to act a certain way so her boys wont be tempted, because boys ‘cant control their penis”. I definately do not think she was trying to add to the “rape culture” and tell these girls that if they keep acting this way they will be raped and it WILL be their own fault. No, I think she was referring more to not wanting her boys to associate with the likes of people who post revealing, sexual pictures on the internet. Of course any teenage boy OR girl is going to be intrigued by a revealing picture they see of the oppsosite ( or same) gender–thats life! That will happen while watching TV, Movies, going to the mall, going to the beach (her pictures she chose for example)but I think her point is, she does not want her children being exposed amongst their social circle to those things–they clearly get enough of it just living and breathing in this world. And really, what is so wrong with that? Sure, excessive censorship is not an effective form of parenting and wont exactly create “men of integrity” or “high morals”–that of course will come from talking with your children ABOUT these sorts of issues and laying down expecations. But I also dont agree that assuming your children will just “figure it out” or be smart enough on their own to be better than that, just because you feel like you raise them in an open, healthy enviornment at home. I think your post has valid points, and so does Mrs. Hall. At the end of the day, you have your wonderful successful ways of parenting YOUR children, and she has her own way to raise HERS. Isnt it a tad bit unfair to write an open letter to her boys, telling them their mother is clearly the crazy one in the family? This was written with good intentions, just stating an opinion–differnt opinions aren’t defaulted to being wrong, right? 🙂 I do appreciate all your insights–duh, that’s why I come back to reading your blog so frequently.
LisaThursday, 5 September, 2013 at 14:32
Whoooohoooo! Thanks for the laugh J. . . . totally needed that today!!!
CaroleThursday, 5 September, 2013 at 14:54
Oh thank you! I am going to paste this link in the comments under every single FB posting I see of the Hall mother’s horrible screed.
AnneThursday, 5 September, 2013 at 15:04
I agree with everything you wrote except…the selfies/duckface/douche part. Well, I agree duck faces are as annoying as gnats, but you know, that’s what teens are supposed to do. Be obsessed with themselves in ways that aggravate adults, and do it as shamelessly possible. So I say, go for it, kiddos. Express yourself through phone photography all you want. You’ll cringe later, much like I do today at the 80’s glamour shots I took sporting my day-glo tan and 5 foot hair.
jaanaThursday, 5 September, 2013 at 16:10
oh. yes. perfect.
KateThursday, 5 September, 2013 at 16:18
Dear Mrs. Hanchett,
Thank you. It comes down to simple respect. I taught Boy Scouts. My mantra: Keep you hands to yourselves. They were always like a pack of puppies, all over each other. Gay was not a word that had any application here; they were just boys “roughhousing”. Same phrase always applied when my son asked me about girls.[Sex is a good thing but] KEEP YOU HANDS TO YOUSELF. Along with: RESPECT. It’s her body. Look don’t touch. She has a mind and a voice, listen to it. And I always impressed upon him he is responsible and accountable for his own actions, as we all should be. You bring a disease or a baby home, you take care of it. THINK before you dally. And once again, Mrs. Hanchett, I love the way you say it as it is.
Annie ShafaiThursday, 5 September, 2013 at 16:44
I just adore you!
JennThursday, 5 September, 2013 at 18:16
I think you’re brilliant.
KendraThursday, 5 September, 2013 at 18:21
This is one of my favorite posts. Ever.
KendraThursday, 5 September, 2013 at 18:22
This is one of my favorite posts EVER!
SaraThursday, 5 September, 2013 at 19:16
Hahahahahaaaaaaaaaaa!!! “Look, Hall boys, don’t let your mom convince you you’re a victim of your penis.” One of the best sentences EVER! 😀
SaraThursday, 5 September, 2013 at 19:20
And I was thinking lately: It’s the same principle for boys and for girls. Just as it’s simplistic and harmful to only judge girls by their appearance, it’s simplistic and harmful to think that boys only think with their penis… Girls are just a body and boys are just a penis??? Who would want to live in such a world?
SonyaThursday, 5 September, 2013 at 20:02
I saw the post yesterday and my eye started throbbing.
The mom has since edited the tone, wording and pictures of her original post. Hopefully she learned something important too.
JessicaThursday, 5 September, 2013 at 20:14
I have recently become a huge fan of your blog and I LOVE everything you post especially THIS! These are my feelings exactly!
melissaThursday, 5 September, 2013 at 22:08
Wait, other families only have one crazy person?
Tracey aka KidLit!Thursday, 5 September, 2013 at 22:37
Wow. I liked her post.
But now, I love yours.
I’m so confused!!!
JoshuaFriday, 6 September, 2013 at 12:10
Try this one: http://putdowntheurinalcake.com/2013/09/dear-mrs-hall-regarding-your-fyi-if-youre-a-teenage-girl/
Sam KiddFriday, 6 September, 2013 at 1:22
I LOVE YOU, MAN!
TJFriday, 6 September, 2013 at 5:18
Oh you make me laff! If I were with you in person right now there would be much back slapping & hell yesses going down.
leslieFriday, 6 September, 2013 at 6:58
THIS is the post I am sending to my teenagers (girls and boys).
MerylFriday, 6 September, 2013 at 8:25
Thank you! Read that the other day and was like, “WTF?!”
KateFriday, 6 September, 2013 at 10:24
Yeah, you have two great examples of victim-blaming in recent news up there. I can add a really terrible third one that just happened in a town not far from mine: http://www.coloradoan.com/article/20130904/NEWS01/309040027/Former-Old-Town-bar-worker-acquitted-in-rape-case-juror-says-defendant-squeaked-by-
Because if she didn’t say “No” it must have been a yes. Here’s the run down: “The 19-year-old was found early the morning of Dec. 18, 2012, bleeding profusely from her genitals and wandering the chilly neighborhood in a towel.”
And the great quote from a juror: “If somebody’s drunk, what makes for consensus for the drunk person?” Scott said. “It is possible and even probable that he’s guilty. But it isn’t definitive.”
StellaFriday, 6 September, 2013 at 12:08
My hairdresser and I were talking about just this the other day…she has a 13 year old son and is a single mom. Her son had gotten his hands on a nudey mag and she had found it…she was at a total loss and me being fairly new to parenthood have
Had no experience with this yet…what would you do???? I’m interested to hear some feedback as most of the readers of this blog seem to be forward thinkers!
JoshuaFriday, 6 September, 2013 at 12:09
Are you people crazy?? This is just as negative, judgmental, and prideful as the original article.
This is more like it:
MinaFriday, 6 September, 2013 at 12:31
While I absolutely agree that Mrs. Hall was wrong in writing her post with a certain girl in mind (Stirrup Queens’ Mel has an excellent post about this), and that she is undully harsh with teenage girls of today in general, I think you should not have adopted the same tactic of addressing her children. Tell HER what SHE did wrong. Not the children. Children should never pay for their parents’ mistake. I had to, and it sucked, and it made me feel ten thousand ways of wrong, and awkward, and stupid, and bad, bad, bad. Because I was a teenager, a time when the world is already hard to deal with. And this IS their mother, whom they love no matter how she is. I know I do with my own parents. Even if they are how they are. So this is my only observation. Otherwise, quite spot on.
SarahFriday, 6 September, 2013 at 15:28
I have a 2 and 3 year old and I’m gonna tell them what my
Mom told me, “whatever you are going to do, say, or be today…make sure they are things you can be proud of at the end of the day.” Cultivating self reflective and critical thinking skills can go a long ways….she can’t think for them their WHOLE lives, or can she?
SarahFriday, 6 September, 2013 at 15:44
BRILLIANT. Thanks ever so much for writing this!
NicoleFriday, 6 September, 2013 at 19:36
Well done, well done. It’s so refreshing to see that there is still some common sense and humour out there. And I have to say, good for you for wishing those Hall boys well… personally, I was secretly hoping one of them would go fuck up big time (of course, not hurting anyone in the process… just do something really dumb like get caught smoking weed and stealing a bunch of popsicles or something) just to show their pretentious dimwitted mother that she can micromanage their morality all she wants, but one day it’s going to backfire in her perfectly made up face.
scribblegurlFriday, 6 September, 2013 at 20:10
ShanSunday, 8 September, 2013 at 19:01
I want to kiss you full on the mouth with full duckface lips, arched back and no bra. Or something.
Kateri Von StealMonday, 9 September, 2013 at 5:50
R. S. SimmonsMonday, 9 September, 2013 at 16:12
Mama Hall replaced the shirt-free photos with shirted photos.
KirikoMonday, 9 September, 2013 at 18:18
This is EXTREMELY AWESOME and I am so glad I found your blog. Always so refreshing to find someone who is smart and hilarious and tolerates no bullshit.