FYI Teenage boys. Or, dear Mrs. Hall

A friend brought Mrs. Hall’s recent letter to teenage girls to my attention yesterday.

I knew I wanted to reply, but I struggled with HOW I wanted to reply.

Honestly, I didn’t want to go all Ranty Pants rage machine – because I wanted her to be able to hear what I had to say and rage pushes people away from the conversation rather than bringing them into it.

Ultimately, I would have liked to be calm enough, rational enough, loving enough to write something like this.

I tried even, but I just couldn’t get there.

There was so much I wanted to say – not just to Mrs. Hall, but also to the BOYS who might read her letter and might not understand how scapegoating girls who dress or pose provocatively for their unpraiseworthy thoughts (or deeds) contributes to rape culture.

Matt McConaughey topless again

Is he asking for it?

I wrote, rewrote, edited, changed tactics, wrote again.

I couldn’t find the words.

Then I realized… Mrs. Hall had already given them to me.

She had done the work, I just needed to change the lens.

This morning Bombshell, the online rag I recently started writing for, published my rebuttal.

I’d love it if you popped over and gave it a read. And, of course – I’d love your comments and thoughts! I’ll be popping over there to participate in the conversation.

And to Mrs. Hall – I’m sure you didn’t expect that post to take over the internets. I’m sure you’re wondering how something written with so much positive intent could be taken so poorly. I’ve been there myself. And I’ve been blessed to have hoards of people come down on me and show me how my words or actions were harmful and hurtful rather than uplifting or inspiring, and then – I’ve been given a second chance to try again and do better.

Here’s to second chances. May we all be blessed enough to have a few!

2 Comments

Filed under Kids, Naive idealism, Of Course I'm a Feminist, Rant, Things that work

2 responses to “FYI Teenage boys. Or, dear Mrs. Hall

  1. Ahaahaha! I knew EXACTLY what you were talking about when I saw the title, and I COULD. NOT. WAIT. to see your response!!! And I am LAUGHING! We need to have this talk? AGAIN! Seriously??? It’s HOW many years of civilization and we’re STILL slut-shaming and blaming women for USING THEIR FEMININE WHILES! Once again, kudos to you for writing back; all I could manage was a comment to my friend on Facebook:
    “Whew! Thank GOD we’re not friends with the Hall boys. OR their uptight mother, who has NO idea how to deal with sexuality. Maybe somebody should’ve told HER about the birds and the bees, and there wouldn’t be so many @#$@#$ Hall boys.
    Oh, and girls? Choose wisely. You marry a boy, you’re stuck with their MOTHER on the holidays…”
    We’re having a 7th grade DANCE. This is their social activity. A … DANCE. I have one of THOSE boys; the kind where his list of top five most hated ideas in the world is “DANCING”. Why do we still do this? We don’t NEED to find our 12-year olds husbands any more. I understand, the school feels the need to include social exercises. But we’re in a new millennium. How about a video game tournament? Paintball? A friendly game of Assassin? Bring your own Nerf gun and let’s have a Nerf War! How about a costumed shindig? Because the girls are already asking: Do we have to bring a DATE?
    *sigh*.
    We are STILL ears-deep in this @#$@#. And watching my friends’ girls, it’s not gotten better…it’s gotten WORSE! At least, back when, the rules were simple, and you were married off before it became a worry. Now, the messages that girls get are so incredibly contradictory we’ve got KINDERGARTENERS worried if they’re FAT! It’s truly heartbreaking!
    Ugh. Anyway. It seems Mrs. Hall has a daughter, too…so there you go: this WON’T end because people LIKE her keep having children, and little-girl Hall, sadly, will probably tell HER daughters the same !@#$@# that her mother told her. And the Hall Boys will probably tell THEIR daughters the same @#$@ that their mother told THEM. Meanwhile, they’re running around sticking it in to anything that’ll let ‘em because ‘good girls don’t, but boys will be boys…’
    And herein lies the problem…

    • Thanks Ann!
      Love your reply. My initial response was the same shout of ARGH!! Seriously! And the number of people who have commented to say, “Yes, Mrs. Hall, thank you so much for trying to get those girls in line.” Rather than, just flooding her comment queue with this link – http://natepyle.com/seeing-a-woman/ over and over and over again is… ARGH!!
      Hugs and solidarity and here’s to a future where women can own as few shirts/bras as Matthew McConaughey and still feel safe in the world!

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