A school in New Zealand requires female students to wear their skirts at knee-length so that male teachers are not distracted. Erykah Badu went to Twitter to rant about the article stating that she agreed with the new rule.
I will be the first person to tell you that my biggest pet peeve is when people excuse a person’s behavior with “that’s just how they are.” Absolutely not. However, I do not think that is what Badu was doing when she went to Twitter.
Despite very problematic comments, she went to Twitter to rant about a topic that cannot be discussed in 140 characters. People should not expect her to go into tremendous detail about all the other issues that are tied to it.
That being said, there is a difference between looking and acting. There is absolutely no tolerance for men who cannot understand boundaries. When a woman says no — no matter what she is wearing, no matter if she is buck naked in the bed with you — if she decides she no longer wants to consent, everything must stop.
Although Badu’s overall argument made contradicting statements, it is important to address everything she said with an open mind. We live society where a man’s sexual behavior is excused or dismissed as a part of their nature. Whereas women are told not to explore their sexuality and are shamed when their actions call attention to their sexuality. Badu clearly stated that “men should be taught to be responsible for their actions from childhood. It’s not ok to “prey” on young women” but she also stated “I am aware that we live in a sex I-driven society.”
I completely agree with Badu, “we are sexual beings.” Badu is not advocating rape culture, she understands that both males and females need to be aware and that “it is everyone’s, male and female’s responsibility to protect young ladies.”
The real issue here is not girls skirt lengths. It is the sexual objectification of women. Requiring females in schools to wear longer skirts doesn’t address the full issue. In a society where our men have been taught that it is acceptable to prey on women, whether it is a catcall or full blown rape, men do not have to be held accountable for their sexuality as women do. Women should not feel ashamed or embarrassed to embrace their sexuality. It is their prerogative to wear what they please without feeling pressured by society.
There were points made that if a male teacher cannot control himself in a school setting then he should not be teaching. I absolutely agree. There were also points made that it is not normal to be sexually attracted to children especially when their age is known. Again, I agree. What is problematic with this situation, and what I think Badu was trying to express, is that grown men will look at women no matter their age, no matter what they are wearing. I would even go as far as including women in this category. Women will look at men no matter their age, no matter what they are wearing.
Badu’s points are that we are sexual beings and it is normal to be attracted to sexual things. I can look at another woman and be attracted to her, no matter what she is wearing. If she has a nice ass, I’m going to look. If she has a pretty face, I’m going to look. We are sexual beings and sexuality is nothing to be ashamed of. Is it wrong for me to be attracted to my teacher because he is wearing a short sleeves shirt with his muscles and veins bulging out? Does he have to wear long sleeves shirts now because I find his arms attractive? No, you look and keep it moving.
This goes back to understanding the difference between looking and acting. It is a natural process to look at another being and realize their attractiveness. Once you act upon those thoughts however, you have crossed the line.
I am 24 years old but most certainly don’t look it. As I 24-year-old woman with a shapely body, even in sweatpants, men will look at me. Of course I get disgusted when old men stare at me and get extremely comfortable when they walk or stand behind me. Does that mean that I have to walk around in sweatpants and a hoodie everyday? Does that mean I am not allowed to wear yoga pants, or shorts because my ass protrudes a little more than some? No. I should be able to walk around in what I please and be comfortable that I won’t get rape without being told I was asking for it.
The conversation is not about what women should and should not be wearing. It is about holding men accountable for their actions and not dismissing their behavior. We have to teach our men not to pervert women and them shame them when we deny their sexual advances. I’m not asking for it if I wear short skirt, and I don’t suddenly becoming a bitch because I ignore you for trying to holler. Women are not objectifiable objects.
Opinion Editor, Monica Houston
Monica is a senior English literature major planning to eventually earn her master’s in education. Monica strives to combine her background in literature and passion for early education to influence future generations with her writing. “Don’t be offended this is all my opinion, ain’t nothing that I’m saying law. This is a true confession of a life learned lesson I’ve been sent here to share with ya’ll.” // LinkedIn