If you follow mommy blogs faithfully as I do, you know that we women can get a tad...eh...how do I say this? Sanctimonious, is perhaps the word I’m looking for. That whole “judge ye and lest not ye be judged” thing goes out the window and, while compliments abound, many insults are also hurled. The really stinky part is that it truly does take a village and, yet, we moms are always judging each other so harshly.
Enter the post by Kim Hall, the Director of women’s ministry at All Saints PCA in Austin, Texas, who writes the “Given Breath” blog. It’s called “FYI (if you’re a teenage girl)”. It’s a post about how this mom of three boys and one girl sits down with her family faithfully to review the photos and posts that they see from friends, making sure they’re appropriate for their ages. Apparently, what struck her the most was how many girls were posting photos that she thought were inappropriate, many of which were selfies taken of girls in their scantily clad pjs before bedtime.
As she puts in the blog:
“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?”
She brings the hammer down on these girls, telling them that they are no longer welcome in the Hall family's online world if they continue to post these pouty, inappropriate photos and videos, saying:
“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.”
Although I was generally with this mother as I was reading, something struck me: I knew it was going to rub people the wrong way. I scrolled down and hell had been unleashed on this woman in the comments section. Most of them had to do with the double standard due to the fact that the main photos she used of her own family showed her boys clad in only bathing suits and no shirts, flexing their muscles. As one commenter posted:
“I second the poster who thought that you should reconsider these photos of your boys. I agree with everything you said about the girls’ poses but these are also not something I’d like to see my girls linger over. Ironic to find them in such a post. It goes both ways!”
Bloggers came out of the woodwork (many were some of the most popular mommy bloggers out there) to unleash their own fury on this woman, mostly taking exception with the fact that it’s up to each parent to teach their kids right and wrong. It’s not up to this woman to pass judgment on everyone else’s kids.
Here’s what I think, and it’s a bit of both worlds:
I, too, feel that girls are posting super inappropriate selfies these days. I’ve seen them and heard about them. I’ve seen the news segments on girls who didn’t think before posting a nude photo that went viral. Some of these girls were, in turn, bullied and then committed suicide. Teens and tweens do not have the maturity to understand that what they post today may hurt them in the future. God forbid smart phones existed when I was young. Let’s just say I probably wouldn’t be able to run for office.
The picture of the blogger's sons on the beach was a super bad idea. Granted, as she pointed out when defending herself, it was all in context. They were at the beach, thus, they were wearing bathing suits! Still, better to have posted a modest photo of them so as not to detract from her point and have others claim a double standard.
There was a bit of a sanctimonious tone that, somehow, these girls were going to just die if they weren’t going to be friends with her amazing Hall boys. I couldn’t help but have this nagging thought at the end: “Honey, get over yourself and stop clutching those pearls.”