So, as I am riding to work like any other morning, I hear comments on the radio about an article that was published about new rules for New Zealand’s high school girls to lengthen their skirts so they are not a distraction to their male peers and faculty/staff. The principal at the school says it is to “keep our girls safe, stop boys from getting ideas and create a good work environment for male staff”. The most disturbing part was not the article alone. What really made my soul uneasy was to hear so many comments on the radio of men AND women agreeing with the principal. One caller even stated, “if you [women] do not want to be a victim, then cover up.”
I have many problems with this. First and foremost, by singling out the girls at the school it sends the message to the youth that it is always the fault of the women when the behaviors of boys and men cannot be controlled. It teaches our young boys that they are never at fault…we are telling them that it is instead the girls that should not provoke you to think of doing anything with them. This in turn teaches our young girls that they have whatever is coming for them. Yes, most, if not all of us had dress codes while in school, boys and girls both, which is acceptable because we should dress appropriately for the environment. I had no problem with that part of the principal’s thinking. However, it is not acceptable to call a meeting for only the girls of the school and say they need longer skirts essentially for the men of the school to be able to control themselves. This sort of inequality is extremely detrimental to the development of our next generation. As troubling as it is to hear, these notions are not foreign to us. Here in the United States, more often than not, if there is a case of sexual abuse and/or assault toward a woman, the conversation starts off with insinuations of the woman leading the man on or “inviting” him in by her attire. Our society normalizes these behaviors through the media, TV shows, movies, and social media, which is very frightening.
The fact that these sort of comments are actually coming out the mouths of the adults (especially those fueling the minds of children for a living) shows that it is a learned behavior that goes back generations. It’s one of those issues that just can’t go away over night like racism; it was started way too long ago for us to grab ahold of it alone. It has to be a world force working together to make a change, that needs to be started NOW.
Fashionista that believes in a less diseased world
P.S. Please share this post to get the minds to think a little differently.