Thanks, Erykah Badu. Telling Girls to Keep Skirts Knee-length Does Perpetuate Rape Culture
This is the first time I can honestly say I’m disappointed in someone who I admired. And I get it, we shouldn’t place celebrities in high regard; however, for me, it’s all about consistency.
Most of the world is in an uproar regarding Erykah Badu’s position on an article that required school age girls to wear knee-length skirts. She started off OK, then it all went south with one tweet:
…But do I think it’s unnatural for a heterosexual male 2b attracted to a young woman in a revealing skirt? No. I think it is his nature..
This is where she and I (along with hundreds of other people) sorely disagree. Actually, many never agreed with her to begin with but I digress.
I went to Catholic school all my life — co-ed and all girls. When I graduated from 8th grade, I went to an all-girls school first then transferred to a co-ed school. When I got there, by the end of the school year, a male teacher was fired for a simple rumor of him having consensual sex with a student, and for most of us, our skirts were knee-length. But guess what, if a young girl’s rear is rounder than a circle and her breast look like she’s lactating, the length of her skirt and/or the size of her shirt isn’t going to make a difference.
Folks, it can’t happen both ways. It can’t be encouraged for young men and women to dress the way they feel without discord then, in the same breath, reinforced that young women need to monitor how they dress because men (young and old) have urges. That’s a contradiction, an oxymoron if you will. There’s an accountability issue here and on the real, that shit IS NOT OK! No grown ass man should be having sexual thoughts (literal or implied) of a school age child, nor should he look at her as if he’s ready to bend it back and bust it open.
I spent a good portion of my day elaborating how E. Badu’s statements are relative to rape culture. Many men (and some women) don’t understand how this coincides. They don’t see the correlation between the two. I get it. Let me extrapolate.
There’s this constant onus on women, in general, that we have to be careful about how we dress, not to provoke men, and all these other bullshit messages that dismiss the male accountability. This message of “fairness” by young girls having to cover themselves up, allows the responsibility of young boys controlling their hormones, or simply being taught such a thing, an afterthought. Society constantly makes women out to be this sexual vixen who does nothing but tempt men into coming out of character. Don’t believe me, read the book of Genesis.
The continuous narrative of women having to cover up to earn respect or “not distract” men is bullshit. I averted being date raped and I had on jeans, a V-neck pullover sweater, and a turtleneck shirt. Clothing has nothing to do with distraction, nor is it means to provoke or invoke sexual assault or rape. It’s an excuse. Making young girls wear knee-length skirts in class so not to distract her grown ass male teacher is an excuse. No one seems to find fault with a 20-something, 30-something, and 40-something-year-old man wanting 14, 15, 16, 17, and 18-year old Janine to sit on his lap after class. Yeah sure, depending on what state you live this nasty shit is legal; however, that doesn’t take away from the fact that it’s nasty.
The root of the problem with this old ass obsolete ideology is that there are too many old ass people regurgitating this old ass ideology. Even as a young girl I was ashamed of being busty. Back in the 90s, not too many girls were applauding being a C-cup in the 8th grade. Imagine your daughter, sister, niece, or goddaughter being a C-cup at 13. It wasn’t until my late 20s that I accepted the fact they weren’t going anywhere.
In the home, young girls are made ashamed of their bodies and young boys are taught to “conquer.” There is no fluidity in how boys and girls are raised, so when both come of age, they aren’t explained that the body of their counterparts is to be appreciated, not idolized or sexualized. Sex is a taboo topic that these kids are learning more about on TV and the internet than by a sound mind adult. There is no candidness with how the body operates, how it functions, and how each part should be revered. Young girls are constantly being told to expect boys to be disrespectful and to evade this disrespect by wrapping themselves up like a burrito. Unfortunately, as we know with many of our Muslim sisters, that does not work.
No, we can’t stop the hormones that assist with physical attraction. We can; however, teach these young boys and men that their reaction should not lead to an action. We can identify these grown men who find the attraction to young girls, the same as grown women, and remove them from the classroom. We can reinforce new ideologies that a woman’s body is to be appreciated, not picked apart like some science project.
It’s about appreciation.
Yes, humans are visually stimulating creatures but we are not taught to appreciate what stimulates us visually. This is where the disconnect between with men and women begins. This is how rape culture begins, it’s how young girls learn to hate their bodies while young boys are applauded for their sexual conquests. What a young girl wears, or how she wears it, is not going to change her nasty, grown ass teacher from screwing her over the desk with her skirt above her head (how’s that for a visual). This same girl can show up to class in a potato sack, and that same teacher will still want to rip that potato sack off her and perform those same sexual acts.
Let’s get back to the basics here. Tell these young boys, young men, and adult men to keep their hands to themselves, learn to redirect their attention from being “distracted,” and refrain from having unnecessary smart ass remarks about a young girl, young women and an adult woman’s body.
This really isn’t that hard.
No pun intended.