Boys will be boys
BY EMMY BARCELONA ON SEPTEMBER 19, 2014
The majority of students don’t like uniforms. It’s an undeniable fact. We’d rather wear our colored t-shirts and be rid of the dreaded polos and button downs. As much as I don’t like uniforms, I do understand the reasons for them. They make the school look more professional and more put-together, and they also prevent bullying, to a certain extent. As a student, I can respect the uniform policy; as a female student, I just feel disgusted.
There are two major differences between the uniform rules for boys and for girls. The boys’ rules are enforced so that they don’t look messy. The girls’ rules are there to prevent us from looking provocative. We’re told to button our shirts up, keep our shoulders covered and to only wear knee length shorts. And what are we told as explanation for this? It’s a distraction to the male population of Rose.
This is the 21st century. We should not have to be held accountable for something a male may or may not think. This is an age of equality, yet we’re teaching girls that a boy’s comfort is held at a higher standard than their own. Why isn’t there a rule preventing boys from wearing a tight shirt that’ll show off their muscles? Who’s to say they’re not a distraction for girls? Me wearing a tight shirt isn’t the reason there’s a boy somewhere at Rose struggling in a class. It may be because he stayed up late playing video games or because he just doesn’t care. If we’re going to take away everything that might serve as a distraction for students, we may as well strip the building of everything.
In sexual assault crimes, 44% of all victims are under the age of 18. Only 40% of cases are reported to the police and 97% of perpetrators never spend a day in jail for their crime. In the cases that are sent to the court, a majority of the time the court partially blames the victim on account of her actions (i.e. flirting) or her outfit and less than 10% of cases result in criminal charges against the defendant. In reality, this is a serious issue that allows dangerous people to continually walk the streets; however, in society, it’s being pushed aside. The sick mindset that it’s a girl’s responsibility to take the blame for a boy’s actions is crippling the validity of our court systems and is slinking its way into our school systems.
Just the other day I overheard a teacher telling a girl to fix her bra strap because it will distract boys. Teachers are people of influence and they are teaching us that it is girls’ responsibility to ensure that the way they look won’t tempt boys. I’ve even heard that it is not just the boys that they are worried about us distracting, but the men as well. Some teachers believe that we put the male teachers in a bad position by wearing certain things. Causing a female student to worry about “distracting” their male teacher is not something anyone should do. You can word it any way you want, but when you get down to it, it’s just plain wrong and disturbing. If you’re a teacher who knows any male teachers that are having thoughts about female students, you need to report them, not hide them. Girls already have more than enough to worry about without adding being worried that their male teachers will have “dirty thoughts” about them to the mix.
Girls need to be taught that their body is something that they should be proud of and something others should respect. Our bodies are not here as objects used to control males. If high school boys really can’t control themselves around girls, maybe we should focus more on teaching them to respect girls rather than punishing girls for simply loving their bodies.
This entire mindset is not just insulting for girls, but boys as well. I believe that boys have enough self control to not jump a girl, purely on the fact that they saw a flash of shoulder. And if there are boys who will do that, I can think of several places they should be instead of school.
Now, I am by no means saying that we should be allowed to wear whatever we want. Uniforms do help the reputation of a school. But what does need to end is the belief that girls should be held accountable for the actions of boys. It is a sexist, outdated belief that teaches boys and girls the wrong thing.
So to all the girls out there, know that your body is yours and that it demands respect. You are responsible for one person and one person only and that is yourself. Don’t let anyone else tell you differently.