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FYI: An Open Letter to Teenage Girls Who Don’t Always Wear a Bra

By now you’re probably aware that Mrs. Hall thinks you’re a dirty slut who can’t be Facebook friends with her sons. By now you’ve probably been told 93,872 times in your life that The Internet is Forever and you should never ever post anything online that you don’t want the whole world to see because the whole wide world will see it and will judge you.

By now, my braless teenage friend, you know that adults have lied to you because you’ve seen plenty of things get deleted. You’ve seen entire social networking sites disappear (MySpace anyone?) and you know not to trust those adults who tell you that the internet is forever and that the world thinks you’re dirty.

I won’t lie to you. You’ll get away with 90% of your mistakes. I hope for your sake the 10% are small mistakes. I make mistakes every day.

You’re not dirty. You’re not slutty. Your boobs are perfect and though there is some wisdom in covering them up (and I’m sure your own mother has told you this so I won’t belabor the point) I understand the need to stick them out. It’s the same sort of impulse that led Mrs. Hall’s teenage sons to flex mostly naked on the beach. It’s normal.

mrs halls children

Biologically you’re supposed to be sexy and horny as a teen. It’s the start of the chapter where you’re ready to make a baby (biologically speaking) and arguably the worst both fiscally and emotionally. It’s prudent to wait, but many of you won’t. Though you can’t ever be a virgin again, the sex you haven’t doesn’t define you. It never will.

When the Mrs. Halls of the world say: “If you are friends with a Hall boy on Facebook or Instagram or Twitter, then you are friends with the whole Hall family.” Run! Run my child because these few teenage years are supposed to be spent maturing into early adulthood. Don’t let anyone tell you that parents should be uninvolved but when parents are deciding who is worthy to be a boy’s friend nothing good will happen. Ever.

Mrs. Hall is right, don’t take your phone to bed with you. It’s easy to make bad decisions when you’re overtired.

Mrs. Hall is very wrong on just about every other front. Boys aren’t led around by their penises, they’re perfectly capable of seeing you in a towel or a bikini or even a short skirt and still being able to string together a sentence. Of course, there are moments where it will be difficult but that’s part of growing up. You’ll figure out what those moments are and how you got there.

Girls, adults are afraid of your sexuality. The moms who are teaching their boys that you’re nothing but a seductress if you dare go braless or post a selfie where your [gasp] shoulders are exposed are terrified. I’m not sure what makes them afraid. It’s possible that they think their sons will burn in eternal hell, that they’re worried you’ll knock on their door pregnant one day soon or something that’s less easy to identify. Just know that adult women who are concerned about teenage girls not wearing bras are fearful women. Know that women (and men) who are operating out of fear have no advice to give that’s of any value.

Your sexuality is part of you, and it’s not the bad part of you. I’m not convinced there is a bad part of most people.

I don’t care if you’re 5 or 95 if your skirt’s too short and your bikini is too small, if you’ve kissed too many boys or girls. I don’t care if you glam it up for a photo, stick out your tongue or twerk on national TV. I don’t care if you wear a bra or makeup. How you present yourself is up to you, there will be consequences, but they won’t be coming from me. You have value, and your value doesn’t come from covering your nipples and your knees. Your value comes from giving a little more than you take and exploring the world you are poised to inherit.

On behalf of Mrs. Hall I apologize to you. The world does value young women even if her words and the words of preachers like her would have you believe otherwise.

You’re good girls.




87 thoughts on “FYI: An Open Letter to Teenage Girls Who Don’t Always Wear a Bra”

  1. If I did anything close to what Ms. Hall did, my sons would disown me! Okay, that’s an exaggeration but they would be very displeased with me. I think Ms. Hall crossed a line ..and her sons are likely to find other ways to get the images they want to see of girls. Good job responding to a questionable post.

    1. I’d rather have my sons looking at sexy pictures of girls they actually know in real life than the pictures they find on the internet. Real relationships are always preferred. :-) Also, as for my daughters, if they are confident enough to be sexy — more power to them.

  2. Amen! As a mother of 3 daughters, I was a little shocked when Mrs. Hall had no problem posting a picture of her boys flexing half-naked on the beach. Ummm… double standard? Yep!

  3. Well said. I only saw the post this morning, and was trying to come up with some response other than, “You’ve GOT to be kidding me.” As the mother of a teenage boy I couldn’t disagree with her more.

    Instead of moderating my son’s behavior, I’ve given him the reins slowly over the last few years. He’s nearly an adult, and needs to have room to make his own choices. He will after all be on his own soon.

    I wonder what happens when the kids leave home? Does Mrs. Hall think she’ll still have control over who they ‘friend’ or ‘follow’ in real life?

  4. Thank you. I read her post this morning and was irate, but I bit my tongue because, frankly, I don’t have any kids and so my comments on such topics either go unnoticed or get labeled as inferior. But this…

    Did you know that once a male sees you in a state of undress, he can’t ever un-see it? You don’t want the Hall boys to only think of you in this sexual way, do you?

    …is dangerously close to victim blaming and that post is the root cause of the problem.

      1. yes indeed! I have several friends who were raised to believe that it was their responsibility that the boys never had “impure” thoughts. Really? And where is the boys’ responsibility in his own thoughts?

  5. Perfect. I couldn’t get past the photos she chose to run with her post. I can’t take anyone seriously who contradicts their every word by posting shots like that.

    1. Well, you see, her boys (and her daughter’s in the photo, too) were just goofing around, having a good time.

      Those girls in the selfies in their pj’s in their BEDROOMS (the horror) could not possibly have been goofing around having fun, like HER pure sons. /snark off.

      1. How old are your kids? Are they on Facebook? If they are, get their password and take a look at their feed. I promise you there is a WORLD of difference between the kinds of selfies that some girls post and the goofy picture of the boys at the beach.

    2. I’m not agreeing with the pictures that she posted, but there is a bit of a difference when you see these 13 year olds puckering their lips, pushing their chests out. I wonder where their parents are or why they are not checking up on their children.

      1. I did the exact same thing at 13. The only difference was, we didn’t have facebook, and my mother sat me down for a Long Talk when I got the pictures back from being developed. I was old enough to know that I wanted to wear skimpy clothes and be ‘sexy’, but too young to understand the potential negatives of all that.

        I suspect their parents are a lot like my parents-you don’t think you have to worry about your girls when they’re hanging out at home with their friends.

        1. And where is the talk of parents monitoring the GIRLS Fbooks? As a parent, I too, would be sitting down with my kid if I found pics like that, boy or girl. Not to be ashamed but to be prudent.

          I think part of the problem is parents letting their kids into social media unsupervised WAAAY younger ten they are able to handle it.

  6. You seem to have a lot of hallelujahs. But I disagree. These are words of concern, not shame “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?” If you want to post stupid pics of yourself expect those who see it to treat you like you are stupid – male or female. I agree, it’s your decision to post them. But it’s also my decision to block you. And I would block this girl in a heart beat. There is truth in how you present yourself. You have to live with the consequences of your decisions. Boys will absolutely look at that photo and think about you in the way in which you are presenting yourself. And so will girls. It is what it is. A dumb mistake.

    1. I’m okay disagreeing with you. I think that we owe it to our kids (boys and girls) to teach them a little tolerance. I’m deeply flawed and I’d hate to think that as a child I’d have an adult hurling a grenade.

      1. Yup, I can see the harshness her words imply as well. Tough love or a grenade. Deny, justify, like it or not, I think the message is that others see us as the image we portray – like it or not. And I think we’ve all experienced this.

        1. Well right, people do see us by what we portray, but at the same time, these are just kids. They are still learning who they are and how they want to portray themselves. A little bit of tolerance and guidance-from the right people- not judgement from total strangers, could go a long way.

          1. The blog post is ostensibly directed at girls the writer knows so it’s not judgement from a complete stranger. And it IS written in a tone of guidance. Some people are saying it would be kinder to tell the girls parents. I think it’s far kinder to give her a little heads up and hope she’ll get the message without having to endure parental wrath.

        2. How about instead of a blocking, a talk with the kids mom.. he, did you know you daughter is doing A?

          And if they are all so Xtian and all, how about a lot more judge not, lest ye be judged. How about more befriending of the person to try and convince them maybe its not a smart tin to do.

    2. “We think you are lovely and interesting, and usually very smart.” And yet, near her closing, she posted, “no second chances, ladies.”

      Really? It’s not shaming to tell a teenager who you think has made a dumb mistake (and all teenagers do dumb things from time to time, it comes with the hormones), that despite her being “lovely and interesting and usually very smart,” that she gets no second chances?

      1. Her message is not perfect, just like the girl’s photo post was not perfect. I respect her choice to block her as none of us have seen the actual photo to be able to judge it or know the age of her all of her children viewing it. Luckily she didn’t copy and paste the girl’s photo into her post. That would truly be horrible. I chose to read between the lines and the judgment to see the message – in the eyes of others we are the image we portray, like it or not.

        1. “in the eyes of others we are the image we portray” – maybe, and maybe not. *I* look at that picture of Ms. Halls’ family on the beach and see four cute kids having fun and goofing around. I could *also* relate to those who looked at all the exposed skin and the shorts hanging low on the hips of the boys and said, woah, sexy! because I was once a teen girl. Was that the intent, or the image Ms. Hall wanted to portray? Of course not! Are teen girls allowed to strike a pose? Maybe the girls whose pictures so offended Ms. Hall WERE trying to convey sexy! Or is it possible, like the Hall boys, they were just goofing around and having fun. Pedophiles can look at a photo of a naked toddler running through a lawn sprinkler and actually make the argument s/he was “being sexy and alluring,” but that is because they are bringing their own baggage to the image,

          1. I am sure we could go round and round. Here is what bothers me – the now endless amount of blogs posts about this article. Really, is it necessary for every mommy and daddy blogger to add their two cents? We are obsessed with advice on “parenting” – just do it. Maybe some people find her words harsh, I don’t. I find them to be truthful – like it or not. I don’t expect her to be nice just because she is a girl or a Mom. We tell people to “dress for success”, put measurements for shorts in school handbooks, ask boys to remove hats, etc, etc. They are kids who still need to be taught how to dress appropriately. You can do any number of social experiments by dressing as if you are homeless and see how people treat you differently, or like a hooker and stand on a street corner and see if you get any whistles or offers. Right or wrong – you are what you wear in the eyes of others. We all make mistakes at that age, but don’t always realize they are mistakes until an adult calls us out on it.

      2. She means no second chances in that she’s not going to allow her sons to be FB friends with the girl. Hardly a life-altering lack of forgiveness.

  7. I don’t often agree with you on things but this? Thank you. I posted about it earlier today and I thought I was in the minority on my thoughts but as the day has gone on, I’m thrilled to see that I’m most definitely NOT in the minority and Mrs. Hall has it so wrong that I actually think she’s doing more wrong than good with her post.

  8. Awesome. We all have value, even the teen girls Ms. Hall was so careful to not call sluts while using careful language to say the same thing.

    The whole teen years are about: Am I sexy? Who do *I* think is sexy? It’s about thinking and feeling and masturbating and making mistakes (as you said, hopefully not too horrible) and learning from them.

  9. Beautiful! I just wrote something similar about girls, virginity, sexuality and their worth, but it was relate to Miley Cyrus. I’m so glad to see this being written about as much as it has been lately. We need to quit sending the message to girls that their worth is based on their virginity and modesty. Virgin worship is just as bad as slut-shaming. It’s two sides of the same coin. Shame on this mom.

  10. Wow. A friend shared the FYI post today already, I chose not to read it because they are typically Christian/Catholic viewpoints that are fairly narrow-minded. This was just the same. To say that females have to cover everything but boys feel free to be wet and shirtless, is so hypocritical. I’m happy to see so many people happy with your response. Although at the same time, I hope there really aren’t so many young high school girls taking photos in their pjs before bed and posting them online. I can’t tell them not to, I don’t have kids of my own, and I hope it never leads to potential negative situations for them or their parents.

    1. Shoot, should’ve reread my post, I meant the FYI article was the same as all the other narrow-minded Christian posts I was expecting.

  11. Two things. First, it sounds like Mrs Hall doesn’t trust her sons to control themselves. Second, it sounds like Mrs Hall might feel self-conscious OR feel that SHE herself was (or was seen as) a slut in her teen years thus forcing her to prove herself right by birthin’ so many babies.

    Regardless of whether one or both are true, the sadder truth is that what she is REALLY teaching her boys is that THEY are not responsible for their actions. Those poor baby boys are hapless victims of their own uncontrollable urges against the evil wiles of these wicked young girls and their evil bra-less boobs.

  12. It’s called moral responsibility. Mrs. Hall is not out of touch or old fashioned, she’s protecting her boys form things they don’t need to see yet. Sexuality should not to be toyed with or experimented with before two consenting adults (male and female) are married. This is why Mrs. hall makes her post. It’s sad that anyone thinks Mrs. hall is a prude.

    1. LOL…..sure wish ‘protection’ had occurred before mama hall had her sons she’s so sure she can shelter the rest of their lives. Parents need to realize children are FAR more aware than you think they are and resent being shielded by fear. Mrs. Hall isn’t a prude, she’s an idiot, and a fear monger, judgmental nutter.

    2. The boys flaunt their bodies and the parents snap pictures. When girls flaunt theirs, they condemn them. These boys see models for Victoria’s secret in far less than their classmates. To think that they aren’t having “impure” (scratch that – NORMAL) thoughts about sex is ludacris. They are teenage boys and teenage girls and sexual exploration happens at exactly this time and it’s healthy and normal and should not be shamed. Let your kids explore, but I’d stress that you want to be very particular about who you share yourself with. It’s not only a fun time, but it’s an extreme responsibility. Play safe and have fun!

    3. I promise you Mrs. Hall’s boys Google more “morally” improper stuff than some teen going braless. She’s not protecting her boys, she just prefers to see the world through her own “not my boys!” glasses. Sometimes, people have to do that, just to get by. It’s been my experience that the very people who are pointing out the negatives of others are simply trying to hide their own shortcomings. Here’s my phrase for the day: She’s doing the best with what she’s got. As we all are. I’d like to say she’ll read some of this, gain some understanding, and rethink things. But, I also think that she might be one of those “my way or the highway” types, and she will never be open to the possibility that she may not have it all figured out. And, on a final note, I’m sure CCTAYL will tell you he/she was a virgin until they were 30, and married to a proper person of the opposite sex, and maybe that works for you, but the reality is, no matter how much you want to believe this is the way it is in the world today, it isn’t. And, that’s ok.

      1. They may google inappropriate images but there’s little chance they will meet those women in real life. I’d rather my boys not be surrounded by girls who are posting soft porn pics of themselves on the internet. Do I think most boys would be driven to rape those girls, no. Do I think that if those girls are offering sex most well brought up boys will be able to resist? Not on your life.

    4. How is she protecting her children by making a family affair of judging and shunning teenage girls in front of her 8 year old daughter while telling her boys that a woman is only worth as much as her Facebook photos suggest?

  13. I go braless quite frequently. I’m 32 years old, a mom of 2, a DD, and I only do it at home. Because gosh darnit, I’m just more comfortable without a freakin’ bra!

    1. It’s not just about the lack of a bra. If you’re posting self-taken photos on the internet with most of your breasts exposed, your hair artfully mussed, your lips parted and your finger in your mouth, that’s quite another matter.

  14. HALF NAKED? They are boys in conservative board shorts. It is a family shot without any sexual innuendo. I think it is a nice family portrait. This is an entirely different kind of “half naked” than the intentionally ‘sexy-beyond-my-years’ selfies that so many girls choose to post.

    I don’t think inappropriate sexed-up selfies are the end of the world for girls, but neither do I think they are something to be proud of. The photo of the boys is entirely different and I wish more parents would be more engaged in an open dialogue about what they see online and what is really important.

    As for boys being not being ‘led around by their penises’ – I think that is a naive statement and the reality is many ARE (for lack of a better way to describe it)
    . They can’t necessarily even help it, but to take the position that teenage boys are not very hormonally and sexually driven is both inaccurate and dangerous

    Raise responsible children, male or female, but to compare Ms. Hall’s opinion and approach to being the same thing as a pouty sexy selfie in a state of undress is ludicrous.

    1. Yes, they can help it. That’s like saying “oh she got raped because the man is controlled by penis stuff and he can’t help it.”

      The boys pictures are the least of my worries. The fact that she is slut-shaming and bullying a TEENAGE girl is my concern. And the part about only giving someone one chance. Because Jesus only give us one chance. *rolls eyes*

      1. It would be a LOT more effective if she taught her boys to nicely say things like “HEY, that really doesnt do you justice when you do things like that”… or perhaps tell the girls parents so THEY can deal with her…..

      2. There is nothing in Mrs. Hall’s post that is slut-shaming or bullying. Girls who post selfies baring their cleavage with their lips all pouty and hanging open are not doing themselves any favors. Of course nobody should shame them and I don’t think Mrs. Hall is doing that. But somebody needs to tell girls that when you present yourself as an object for other people’s gratification, some will get the wrong idea. It’s not RIGHT and it’s not OKAY but it’s life. Just like you don’t put your head in a circus lion’s mouth. He’s not supposed to bite you….but he might!

    2. A girl in full clothing but no bra should by any fair measure be considered less naked than those boys, but to many they would not.

      And speaking as a male I can say say that I am far more than my penis. Men and boys have no less responsibility to be in control of ourselves than the women and girls.

  15. She is banning people from her page who disagree and has not posted recent comments on the blog from people who disagree. I see it as bullying and sexism. I reported her Facebook page for the blog on the basis of hate speech based on gender.

  16. I’m 48 years old. I’m a C cup. And I have NEVER regularly worn a bra. I rarely ever wear one now, regardless of what kind of blouse I’m wearing.

    Anyone who has a problem with my boobs can fuck off.

  17. I only wear bras, and they are minimal, to protect my breasts from the weight of dresses and for dance when it involves much jostling of tissue. And never underwires. I find bras very uncomfortable. I feel very anxious when wearing one for more than an hour or two. And I think the whole issue is bizarre since bras are advertised to lift, separate and make breasts look ‘sexy’/attractive/ protruding. They seem to impede the healthy flow of lymph and circulation. It seems you are damned either way, so you might as well consider what makes you comfortable or happy, whatever. What a strange issue. I almost lost jobs over it in the late 70’s and here it is 2013. Some people just can’t help themselves….like the idiots who thought braless hippie chicks were hot for them. NO! Get over it.

  18. For the record, I agree in modesty, for girls and boys, along with abstaining from sex outside of marriage. Yet I don’t think I would have ever written a blog post like that. Somehow I felt like she was putting her children forward as merchandise that unworthy girls would miss the opportunity to win. At least, that’s a message I got from it, however good her intentions may be.

  19. Unless you were born in the late 90’s, you didn’t grow up with Facebook or Instagram. I suspect most of us commenting here didn’t. We didn’t grow up in a world where everyone had cell phones, digital cameras, computers and tablets with instant access to thousands of people with the click of a – well, i’d say button, but we barely have those anymore!

    We all made mistakes as teenagers (and let’s be real here, we still make mistakes as adults) but the nature of those mistakes were different because the landscape of socially acceptable behavior for teenagers has changed dramatically. As much as we like to lament the fact that our kids are seemingly growing up faster than we did, we don’t seem to mind the insane pressure we put on kids today to turn into successful adults (college prep in elementary school, are you serious?)

    I’m 29 years old. I grew up with the AOL and IM, but even I can recognize that the internet, and the way people communicate in general, is absolutely nothing today like it was 20 or even 10 years ago. We live in a world that is obsessed with multimedia and over-sharing – take a look at your own Facebook and Instagram and think about the last time you posted a picture of the dinner you just ate or some other mundane detail of your life that deep down you know nobody really gives a crap about. Throw in the fact that we’re living in a celebrity-obsessed culture that emphasizes the unique, strange and provocative and then tell me it’s the kids that are out of control.

    The only thing that has remained true of teenagers is that their bodies are changing, their hormones are going haywire and sex is becoming increasingly interesting to them. None of this is to say that dignity and self-respect have gone out of style, but let’s take a step back, remember when we were kids and take some responsibility for creating the reality that children today are growing up in.

  20. Christians….why is it ALWAYS the Christians? I have an idea…why not worry about your own kids, stop trying to SAVE the rest of us from ourselves! Who the hell sits around the family dinner table going through the kids facebook pages anyway?

  21. I knew you’d have a good take on this Jessica. But beyond everything you wrote (which I think is spot on) I’m still having a tough time imagining how the dynamics of Mrs. Hall’s crusade plays out.

    I mean do the Halls all gather around the computer each Sunday after church, fire up Facebook whereupon Mrs. Hall announces “now we’re going to see which of those little minxes you hang out with have been sluts this week.”

    The family then goes through each photo posted by a female friend and votes “Slut” or “Not A Slut” Mrs. Hall’s vote is likely final and outweighs everyone else’s vote (including Mr. Hall) as she is the expert in rooting out potential sluts.

    It must take an hour or two to go through all the photos, teenage girls generally being prolific photographers.

    And then what?

    Does Mrs. Hall read out a list of that weeks’ “Sluts Who Can No Longer Be Friends With The Hall Men” Does she then post the list to her own Facebook page?

    I had the opportunity to rewatch Tina Fey’s “Mean Girls” the other day, and all I could think of after reading that post was Regina George and her Burn Book.

  22. I think Mrs. Hall is teaching her boys what TO look for in their teenage friend’s albums! She’s showing them what to look at in secret, feeding them things that will titillate them. And please, we ALL know they are looking and thinking and doing whatever they desire behind closed doors. Mrs. Hall is jealous and intimidated by young girls. Sure, she can make babies but daaaaamn, she seems bitter.

  23. I think Mrs Hall should not intrude in her sons’ lives so much. I am a model, a lot of the pics I put on my promotional IG are sultry, arched back ect. This is what I do for a living, I’ve never gone topless or anything, but sometimes I have to look classically beautiful, and other times I have to look sexy. This is how I earn my money. I don’t really care if you think that’s not really me, infact I’d even show you my personal IG, which is far from sexy and shows who I truly am, I’m not selling my image on there, so I’m usually the real me, but if you think I’m not good enough for your son, chances are your son is not good enough for me if he’s going to ditch me based on what mama says.

  24. I read that Mrs. Hall letter a couple of weeks ago when I was looking up something teenage girl like on google. I, being a 16 year old girl who’s done a couple of the things Mrs. Hall talked about, felt extremely terrible and bad about myself. Part of me was asking myself “who does this random woman on the internet think she is judging me”. But then the other part agreed with her and honestly, I’ve felt like crap for the past couple of weeks. Like I’m gonna end up going no where with my life, not finding a husband, I’m gonna be slut shamed forever and all kinda of stupid, crazy thoughts. But this really makes me feel better. Really. Thank you so much. That Mrs. Hall bs needed to get addressed. And any other teenage girls that read it and feel like crap now most definitely need to read this. Thanks!

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