It’s a new year. 5774 to be exact.
I spent yesterday in synagogue with my mother and son listening to the Rabbi’s sermon. This Rabbi is one of my favorites – he’s a storyteller, weaving in lessons of Torah within interesting and engaging stories. I left services feeling inspired, energized and more fully committed to the work that I do.
And then I came home to a plethora of folks sending me a link to a piece by the now infamous Mrs. Hall.
Because it is still the Jewish New Year and I have plans with my son to celebrate later today, I don’t have the time to give the full attention this letter deserves. What I will say is Mrs. Hall’s piece is an example of what we talk about when we say “rape culture.” Yes, that sounds harsh, but at this stage in the game, I’m not holding back any punches.
When you put the onus on a girl that her “selfies” will garner her unwanted attention (and then the obvious consequences that come with that) you are victim blaming. You are shaming. And you’re not solving any problems (you’re even creating them given the MASSIVE amount of body-image issues young women already face on a daily basis).
You want to teach children and teens about online safety and social media awareness? Awesome! That needs to be done. Everyone needs to understand that what they put out on the internet is there forever and what possible ramifications may come of it. But when you focus on only one group of people (young women) while stripping any responsibility away from another group (young men) – we’ve got a problem.
I’ve said this before. We need to teach our sons the proper way to behave when it comes to consent. This line of thinking lends itself to this situation as well.
I have so much more to say on this topic, but I have apples to dip in honey and sins to throw away in a river. So, for now, please read these really thoughtful responses not only to the actual Mrs. Hall, but to the Mrs. Hall’s of the world who seem intent on using sexist, patriarchal methods of parenting to slut shame young women while allowing young men to escape any sense of responsibility:
- A Message to Teenage Girls About That Letter From Mrs. Hall by Angi Becker Stevens for Role/Reboot
- FYI: An Open Letter to Teenage Girls Who Don’t Always Wear a Bra by Jessica Gottlieb
- FYI: If You’re a Parent of a Teenager by Karen Rayne
- FYI: If You’re a Teenage Boy by Iron Daisy
- Our Bodies, Ourselves by Sarah Manley at Nerdy Apple
- The Questions We Should Be Asking After Reading What Mrs. Hall Had To Say by Melissa Wardy at Pigtail Pals
- Sexy Selfies: No Cause for Teen Shaming by Rebekah Kuschmider at The Broad Side
- The Soapbox: Slutshaming Social Media Mom Kim Hall Needs To Learn Some Appropriate Boundaries With Her Kids by Jessica Wakeman
Have you read any other excellent responses? Please link them below!