My Thoughts on Guns as a Teacher

Ok, ex-teacher, but still, the experience counts in this.

I was a teacher at a school where 95% of the students were on free or reduced lunch. My students were usually very poor and often living with 3 or 4 other families in a single family home. Maybe they didn’t have access to running water or have an oven big enough to hold donated turkeys (this actually was an issue at a neighboring high school: people donated turkeys so their students could celebrate Thanksgiving, but so many people returned them because they had nowhere to cook them that they’ve not done a donation like that since). This school was not an anomaly in this city, of the six high schools there, at least four were full of students like this, but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if all six were.  I’m telling you this for a reason, promise.

Gangs and taggers were issues, sure, but not usually for ME. They were much more of an issue for my students and I hated the time change when it started getting dark at four because my students had to walk home in the dark (no one drove, very few families could afford to have a car for their kid to drive). Schools are actually considered no fight zones (for the most part) for kids in gangs: they don’t want to attract attention or get identified as a gang member. So, schools are pretty neutral when it comes to gang members and most of the students I had that I knew were probably gang members were some of my most polite and well-behaved kids. There was one exception to this rule, but all he gave me was attitude. Oh, man, so much attitude.

Now, guns were PROBABLY on campus. I went to a seminar on taggers once where they showed us a picture of the typical tagger’s backpack: all that was in it was a can of spray paint and a gun. That was pretty freaky, I won’t lie. However, I never felt in any danger. The kids don’t WANT to be caught after all, so most of their illicit and illegal activities happened off campus. In fact, looking at the record of school shootings, I was probably safer working there than at a school in a more affluent area.

That being said, it was something I was ALWAYS aware of. I taught freshman, 14-15 year old kids, some of whom had been in school since kindergarten but had a second grade reading level (the effect of poverty on education is a whole other blog post). They were GREAT kids and I loved teaching them. And I would, totally and absolutely, have stood in front of an active shooter in order to save their lives.

It’s crazy to me that I even had to think of doing that, but I did. We practiced lock down drills and I obediently locked the door and we sat in silence until the all clear came over the PA system. The truth was though, I was in a portable classroom with walls like cardboard and sometimes with 40 students in it. There was no where for them to hide, no closet big enough for 40 teenagers, no walls thick enough to stop bullets. I would worry, what if it DID happen? What would I do? I would always, in my plannings, step in front of a gun for them because I knew that if a gunman managed to gain entry into my room, I was the last line of defense.

The last line of defense. Me. An English teacher. Not a cop or fireman. A teacher. This shouldn’t be part of my job description. No, I don’t want to be armed and have a gun in my desk in case of an emergency. I don’t want to train to take down a person SHOOTING AT PEOPLE. I want to teach literature and grammar and be a teacher. And yet, people are, instead of passing laws making it harder for certain people to buy certain guns, advocating for arming teachers. ARMING TEACHERS. That’s….that’s insanity. That is not solving anything. That is adding to the problem and creating even more of a gun culture in a country whose gun culture is out of control.

And yet…if I were still there teaching in that classroom and knew that I was the ONLY thing between my students and a gunman,  I’d probably want a weapon. Because my job is to protect those students, those are MY KIDS, and I would kill someone before letting them get hurt just as I would rather die than they get hurt. Teachers shouldn’t have to make that choice. It’s not their job. Except in the United States, it is.

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My Views on Guns as a (female) Human

It’s gotten to the point where mass shootings are so common that BBC introduced the story about the shooting in San Bernardino as “Another day in America.” Yep, just another day, another shooting. It’s the norm now. Let me repeat that: IT’S THE NORM NOW. If that doesn’t shock you, it should. So, I’m going to write some thoughts on guns from several perspectives, probably 3. This first piece is about guns from the perspective of a human being, American, and woman. Just a general gist of how I feel about guns.

First, it is not a god given right that all Americans own guns. It’s just not and that is NOT what the Second Amendment is about. The Second Amendment is about arming a militia, not that every joe schmoe gets a gun. In fact, this interpretation of the Second Amendment is largely the fault of the NRA, as seen in this article. So, American’s need to stop thinking that the government is going to attack all of its’ citizens and hold them hostage because they want to make stricter gun laws.

Second, no one is trying to take your guns away. No one is saying no one should own guns. All that’s trying to be done is making it harder for potential murderers to buy one and to prohibit the sale of semi-automatic guns THAT NO ONE SHOULD OWN ANYWAY. Seriously, who needs to own guns that are used by military/police TO KILL PEOPLE? That’s what those types of guns are for. They are not rifles. They are not hunting guns. They are guns designed to kill people. In some states, it’s harder to buy cigarettes than it is to buy a gun and there is something very very wrong with that.

Third, we are suffering from an internal arms race. At least, that’s what it feels like. The idea that we arm ourselves to protect ourselves SOUNDS like an arms race to me. And, call me crazy, but I don’t want to HAVE to own a gun just to feel safe walking to my car. I should be able to trust that someone with a grudge, or a mental issue, or WHATEVER cannot buy a super powerful semi-automatic gun and ambush people just trying to buy toilet paper. The governments’ JOB, it’s number one job, is to keep it’s people safe. When our government begins telling us to arm ourselves to save ourselves, it’s telling us that it cannot keep us safe. It’s UNWILLING TO KEEP US SAFE. This is a huge gigantic enormous fucking problem. My options are now: 1. don’t own a gun like a sucker (or so says some people), 2. Own a pistol/handgun that is legal to buy, 3. Own a semi-automatic gun that can take out a bunch of people at once because that is what the bad guys are buying and I need to save myself.

Fourth, the NRA is running our government. I’m not joking here. They are controlling the votes of SO MANY senators and representatives it’s impossible to get any change to gun laws. Impossible. Every single person who voted no to new gun laws had been paid in some fashion by the NRA, whether through donations or “expenditures.” Some received upwards of $3 million other’s received as little as $3000. @igorvolsky tweeted each senator who had received something from the NRA and let us know if they voted for or against change. Shocking news: it was always against. The NRA is PAYING our government to think and prey for victims and NOT PROTECT THEM IN THE FIRST PLACE. In addition to that, there has been no studies done on gun violence since the CDC was basically attacked by the NRA for DOING THEIR JOB and studying gun violence. So, not only is change being prevented, we have very little understanding into how to PREVENT them because no one is studying them. Way to go NRA. You are SO COOL.

Fifth, feminism is being attacked and it’s creating issues with masculinity. That’s right, equal rights and treatment for the sexes CAN HELP REDUCE GUN VIOLENCE. Everyone benefits from it. This article cites several studies that have proven that masculinity is directly tied to violence, that men feeling inadequately masculine are more likely to use violence to prove their manhood. And this is an issue because we are polarizing masculinity and femininity.  Feminism is good for everyone.

Ok, thus ends part one of my thoughts on guns. Return later for my thoughts on guns as an ex-teacher.

The Weight of Being a Female Character

I read a very interesting article on tor.com yesterday. It’s about the double standard applied to male and female characters. In a nutshell: men can just kick ass and take names. Elements of their personality do not normally influence whether the audience continue to feel he kicks ass and take names. This does not apply to women. Women can kick ass. Or they can have feelings. They really can’t do both. Somehow, once she starts even remotely appearing female (you know, wanting kids or having icky feelings) she is no longer considered kick ass.

I couldn’t help thinking of Black Widow in Age of Ultron. If you haven’t seen it: here lie spoilers.

Black Widow is one of the very few female superheros in film (there are many in X-Men, I’m told and other comic books, but very few made it to the big screen). Not only that, she’s one of the few that are super awesome and a great role model. She is honest and good. She can keep up with the men, both physically and intellectually. She doesn’t need a man to keep a sense of purpose in life: she knows who she is, what she is capable of, and what she deserves. She is a strong woman. She kicks ass.

In the first Avengers movie, Loki tries to use her emotions and possible self-doubts against her and fails, in fact reveals his own plan because she turns it all around on him. She has an amazing fight scene where she plays the damsel beautifully until she kicks the asses of three strong men and doesn’t even break a sweat. Every feminist LOVED Black Widow in the first Avengers.

And then Joss Whedon decided to do  something CRAZY: he built up the characters. All of them. In Age of Ultron, every Avenger’s character was fleshed out a bit, giving insight into their characters and their fears. No one really complained about this because strong characterization makes good stories. No one really cared, that is, until Black Widow reveal her great sorrow.

Suddenly, her entire character narrowed down to a small point: her graduation ceremony to become an elite assassin was having her tubes tied, killing any chance she would ever have children.

OH.MY.GOD. Black Widow is sorry she can’t have kids?! Well, that’s it, she is no longer kick ass. She has revealed that she has needs and wants, ew. Not only that, but to many feminists, this meant she couldn’t be considered a feminist character anymore because it tied into society’s belief all women want kids. Also, she was kidnapped by Ultron and became a damsel in distress. Suddenly, here’s the double standard.

Suddenly, she stopped being a PERSON. She stopped being a character and became a vehicle for feminism and only that. And feminists were ticked off because she fed into the patriarchy by wishing she could have kids. This became such a hot button issue because she was the ONLY female Avenger (Scarlet Witch only becomes one at the end). As the only woman on the team, the entire weight of being a role model comes to the fore. She must be perfect. She must uphold the values of feminism. She cannot show weakness or she loses her ability to be kick ass. Female characters cannot have emotions or needs or regrets if they also want to be kick ass. They must choose.

What the complainers missed is this: by making it about her wanting kids, they themselves made it about the kids. They skipped over the fact that Bruce Banner ALSO regrets not being able to have kids. Just skipped right over that and it’s because he’s a man. It’s ok for male characters to have feelings and want kids or be sad about NOT having kids. Having kids or not having kids is not tied into a male characters ability to be kick ass. But Black Widow mourns the fertility that was TAKEN FROM HER WITHOUT PERMISSION and is suddenly seen as weaker.

But she was kidnapped and had to be rescued! Well, yes. But she was the only character that plot line would work for. She didn’t just sit there twiddling her thumbs and bemoaning her fate. She MADE A TELEGRAPH MACHINE FROM SPARE PARTS. Tony Stark was kidnapped in the first Iron Man and built the first suit and he’s hailed as a genius. Black Widow builds a telegraph machine and lets the team know where she is and she is reduced to a damsel in distress.  What the actual hell. Who else could have done that? Hawkeye couldn’t build one. Steve Rodgers could tell you it runs on electricity, but couldn’t build it. Iron Man had the suit and could break free. Thor has his hammer and could escape. Black Widow is the only one who could do this. She is the only one who could get them to where they needed to be for the finally. But, you know, she’s just a damsel in distress.

Most importantly, I think, is that because she became a vehicle for feminism, her ability to overcome was completely looked over. She was trained as a superior Russian spy. She killed a lot of people and they took away her chance of leaving that life for a regular one. She could have bought into how she was raised and become jaded and angry. She could be a super villain.  She’s not. She used that training to do good and to be GOOD. She mourns the loss of her fertility, but she doesn’t use it as an excuse. In the end, she puts herself, her LIFE, on the line to save innocent people. She sacrifices any possible relationship she could have with Bruce Banner by forcing him to become the Hulk. She is constantly doing what is RIGHT and GOOD because she believes in it. That’s the type of person she wants to be. She is totally kick ass and totally supports feminism.

Black Widow is a female character and she deserves to be a fully fledged one. Rock on, girl.

Anxiety, Introversion, and High Sensitivity, oh my!

It’s the triple threat and it’s why I tend to see the world a little differently than most people. It always strikes me as funny because I see the world as obstacles to overcome and hurdles to jump, but everyone is always surprised when they learn I am an introvert. I’ve never talked about anxiety with anyone, but it’s there and is really happy being paired with the introversion. Being a highly sensitive person is just a bonus.

Intoversion

Oh, the joys of being an introvert. There are billions of articles out there about being one since it’s a very popular thing to be nowadays. They make it sound like we’re a separate species or something, but really, there is one key difference between being an introvert and an extrovert: extroverts need social interaction to create certain happy brain chemicals. It makes them happy and full of energy and is necessary for them. Introverts use up happy brain chemicals during social interactions and build it up in solitude. Those happy brain chemicals become coin to use and social interactions are assigned to categories: worth the cost or not? This is ANY interaction, not just parties. Meeting with a friend, play dates, taking the kids to the park, being around your kids, hanging with your husband. All of it takes a toll from you; all of it costs happy brain chemicals. Some introverts can’t handle small talk at all because it so damn pointless and it’s waste of my precious happy stuff! I like deeper conversations, but I can handle small talk in small doses. I love my couch and Netflix and reading because during that time I’m creating my happy chemicals and introverts require such solitude in order to be calm and happy. Nap time is essential for me as a parent because it gives me some time to rest by myself.

Anxiety

I’m naturally shy and a very private person. I am also an overachiever and hate being wrong and very rarely ask for help. This all stems from anxiety issues of people judging me (even if they aren’t) and is compounded by my introversion. If I approach you and start a conversation, you should seriously consider giving me an award. I stress and worry about possible scenarios at parties. “What if” is a favorite game of mine. I worry about things I have to do or finish. My husband has often gotten frustrated at my stress over things beyond my control and has said, “Just stop worrying about it. You’ll find out tomorrow,” or “You can’t do anything about it now, just stop worrying about it.” To which I reply, “HA, easy for you to say.” Because it is easy to say but WAY harder to do in practice. My anxiety has gotten better as I’ve gotten older, although postpartum anxiety was pretty bad with my babies. Still, I understand what’s it’s like to freeze up or be unable to breathe when anxiety suddenly rears it’s head. Anxiety is real and it can debilitate your ability to go out, to do things, to conquer.  It isn’t something you can easily “get over” or “push through.”  It’s actually a terrible thing to say to someone with anxiety because it just makes the anxiety worse.

Highly Sensitive

And then, as if I didn’t have anything else to deal with, let’s through being highly sensitive into the mix. This isn’t a bad thing really, it just means that I notice way more than the average person and I’m extremely empathetic. By notice more, I mean I see everything and I remember almost everything that is told to me (I’m an auditory learner which helps with that). If you tell me you like scones, don’t be surprised that I remember that and bring you scones one day, even though you thought it was an insignificant part of the conversation. This makes me a GREAT gift giver because people forget the stuff they’ve told me they wan, but I remember. I can visit your house once and then again in a month and I’ll be able to tell you if one picture has been moved on your fireplace mantle. No, I’m not creeping around memorizing everything, I just notice that it’s different and probably can’t tell you what it was before just that it’s different now. I can’t watch gory horror movies or violent movies. Once I see that stuff I cannot unsee it and I will get flashes of it forever after that. I know that it’s fake, but that doesn’t matter. I don’t find many comedies funny simply because they make me uncomfortable or embarrassed (Curb Your Enthusiasm, Kimmy Schmidt, Wet Hot American Summer all fall into this category).  I’m sensitive to emotions, more so than other people, and can pick up on stuff that other people miss. All of this can make social occasions like parties or even restaurants somewhat overwhelming because I’m hearing and seeing EVERYTHING and I can get overstimulated.

So, the next time you see me out somewhere, just remember what it took to even go out of my door. I completely understand people who want to always stay inside their house, I just happen to think seeing people and doing things is important, necessary, AND fun (yes, I do like it, once I get there, but it’s all worry before I leave the house).  If you find I’ve disappeared for a while, I just needed to recharge a little, it’s not because I’m sad or angry. If I turn down an invitation, it’s not because I don’t like you, it’s just that I can’t handle that right now, but next time might be better, so ask me again!

The “evils” of Princess Movies

I’m a big Disney fan. Huge. I think they make good movies and I don’t think those movies are as inherently sexist as many people say. For one, I think it’s a matter of perspective. I’m a big believer in talking to my children during movies. I never just sit them down and show them one. We sit together and talk about motivations and emotions. I use them as learning opportunities, not babysitting ones. That’s not to say we do nothing but watch TV, because we don’t, but that when it does happen, I try to be involved with it with them.

So, here are some of the ideas I have about a few Disney Princess movies, some of which get so much flack from people for being sexist. I present them in a whole different light to my kids than just “she got rescued by the guy.”

Cinderella (inspired by this set of tweets by @MeliGrey)

Oh, this one takes so much heat. People say that Cinderella is passive and just waiting to be rescued by her prince instead of saving herself. To this I say bullshit.

Cinderella was raised in an abusive environment and I don’t care how strong a person you are, when you are treated by family as a slave and told you are less than nothing, you start to believe it a little bit. Maybe a lot. You start to fear breaking the rules, I mean REALLY start to fear it. You try everything to make the abuser happy, even though that’s an impossible task. Cinderella wasn’t waiting to be rescued, she was SURVIVING. In addition to this, she was a happy person, an optimistic one who still believed in dreams. She could have become bitter, angry, and abusive in turn, but chose to be the opposite. That’s some strong will right there. She broke the cycle of abuse. SHE BROKE IT.

Then, when that stepmother tore her dress and ruined her dream of going to the ball, did Cinderella give up? NOPE. She went incognito. She BROKE The RULES. She went anyway, even though she knew there would be hell to pay if her step-mother found out. This is a big deal for someone in an abusive situation. By going, she found someone who loved her and she loved back. And why would that be a bad thing? She deserves love more than most people. I’m glad she can love someone and be happy.

The Little Mermaid

Or as I like to call it: Romeo and Juliet with tails (and without the dying). Seriously, Ariel did not change herself for a man. That song, ‘Part of Your World’ was sung BEFORE she ever laid eyes on Prince Eric. She wanted to be human for a long time. It was her dream. She collected human objects and obsessed over shipwrecks.

No, she would have probably married a merman and lived a happy mermaid life if her father had been a little more understanding. Her DAD was the reason she became a mermaid, not Eric. You cannot tell me that you didn’t have a crush on someone when you were 16 and had their posters all over your bedroom. Ariel had a statue. Her dad was angry and unsupportive and prejudiced. He not only destroyed her statue, he destroyed all of the human stuff she had collected over YEARS. This was stuff she adored and loved and he destroyed it like trash. Then, in that moment of learning that her father would NEVER understand her or support her or love her for what she is, she was convinced to visit the Sea Witch.

She didn’t turn into a human for a MAN, she did it because she was a damned teenager. She felt alone and alienated. And teenagers, ever since humans crawled out of the muck and learned how to say “You don’t understand! I hate you!” have been doing shit like the EXACT OPPOSITE OF WHAT YOU SAY. It was the Sea Witch who used Eric as part of the spell.

Beauty and the Beast (also seen here, if you know the author, please let me know)

Ok, last one, I think. Belle does not have Stockholm syndrome. This movie is an amazing piece on society and inclusion/exclusion/bullies/and beauty.  Seriously, just think about it. Gaston is revered for his attitude because he is considered manly. Our society encourages bullying because people who are different from us are scary and weird. Gaston is handsome and a bully and the town LOVES him for it. Belle is pretty, but she READS (the horror) and her father is an inventor (OMG, WHAT?) and so are not like the other simple ignorant town folk. The whole opening song is about how Belle is different from the rest of them. Belle feels like an outsider. She has no friends. She is excluded even though she is smart and kind.

The beast is what Gaston should look like. That is Gaston under the handsome appearance, a horrible beast. The Beast, on the other hand, WAS like Gaston, but the curse forced him to think about other. He was a bully who became an outcast. He experienced exclusion. In his solitude, he only had himself to think about, but as soon as Belle got there, he had someone ELSE to think about. He learned to be empathetic and his experience as an outcast taught him something. He grows as a person. He LEARNS. Belle, for the first time, is in a place where she is accepted. The Beast gives her access to his library: he GETS her and what she likes.  And then, he let’s her go because he wants her to be happy. He is SAD when the villagers come to get him, not angry. He only fights back when Belle comes back because then he realizes he has someone who loves him and he’s included.

This movie is not just about Belle. Belle doesn’t need to change. She already sees the good in the Beast and the bad in Gaston. She is intelligent and she reads and learns. She is just a force of change: Gaston doesn’t change and dies for it, while the Beast DOES and the spell is broken.

Ok, that’s enough for now. I hope you enjoyed my pro-Disney movie rant. My challenge to you is to look at a movie in a different way. I am all for feminism and equality, as you know, but things aren’t always black and white.

Kim Davis is not Rosa Parks

Or Martin Luther King Jr. If you are comparing the two you are so wrong I cannot even tell you how wrong you are.

  1. Christians are not being persecuted in this country. ISIS is beheading Christians right now. Are you in danger of being beheaded? Do you need to go into hiding? Just because we are living in a country of laws NOT created out of your religion does NOT mean you are being persecuted. In any part of this country you can stand on a corner with a sign that says I AM A CHRISTIAN and nothing will happen to you. Because our country was founded on the belief that anyone can practice any religion we established a SEPARATION of CHURCH and STATE.  Religion and laws are to be separate, according to the Constitution that we live under. Separate. You are not special because you are a Christian. Your rules are not everyone’s rules. Stop thinking they are and STOP trying to make them be.
  2. Stop comparing a white woman to a. black people and b. black people from the Civil Rights era especially.  Rosa Park was blacklisted and couldn’t find a job. She had to leave Alabama because of that and the fact that she was receiving constant death threats. MLK Jr. was jailed for 11 days. His house was fire bombed. The FBI tried to find dirt on him. Politicians were NOT waiting for him when he exited the jail. There was no rally. He was assassinated. When you compare Kim Davis to these figures you have no understanding of what true persecution is or what those figures suffered in their daily lives. None. Stop doing it.
  3. Kim Davis is an elected official. ELECTED. This means that BY LAW she has to do as the LAW says. She is not someone working at a Hobby Lobby. She is a government official and swore an oath (on a Bible no less) to uphold the duties of her office regardless of her religion BECAUSE OF THE SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE. She ignored that and so she broke the law. She defied a court order, and so she went to jail. She was not persecuted because of her beliefs, she went to jail because she broke the law. Period.

She is not a martyr. She is not being persecuted. Stop. Saying. She. Is. Kim Davis is not Rosa Parks.

Dress Codes, Girls, and Feminism

This is a very popular question recently: do dress codes unfairly target girls? It was brought to my attention yet again when I saw this article in the Orange County Register this morning. So, what’s going on with the dress codes?

Well, girls are feeling unfairly picked on. In a nutshell:

Laura Bates, co-founder of The Everyday Sexism Project, wrote in a recent opinion piece in Time magazine: “When a girl is taken out of class on a hot day for wearing a strappy top, because she is ‘distracting’ her male classmates, his education is prioritized over hers. When a school takes the decision to police female students’ bodies while turning a blind eye to boys’ behavior, it sets up a lifelong assumption that sexual violence is inevitable and victims are partially responsible. Students are being groomed to perpetuate the rape culture narrative that sits at the very heart of our society’s sexual violence crisis.

I think there is some truth to this. Remember, I taught high school. Not only that, I have two teenage sisters and I was once a teenager myself. There’s a lot that goes into what a teenager decides to wear to school on any given day, boy or girl, but girls face much more criticism than boys do. A boy can wear pretty much anything he wants to class and not get in trouble, but they also have few choices to choose from clothing wise (yet another difference between genders). Most boys wear tees-shirts and jeans and call it a day. Girls have so many options: tank tops, tee-shirts,  spaghetti straps, yoga pants, jeans, shorts, skirts, dresses, sandals, tennis shoes, combat boots…. Any of these can be worn in combination according to the girls’ taste or feelings that day and here comes the crux of the problem of dress codes: they are awfully subjective. What one person considers objectionable someone else thinks is totally fine.

I think there is a problem with dress codes, but I also think high school is a place where students are taught about what is appropriate as an adult in a professional world. If I wore yoga pants and a tank top to a job interview, I wouldn’t be hired. The need to dress correctly for different situations is something that teenagers often don’t understand and must be explained. School is not their house or the movies. School is a professional environment, albeit it’s casual Friday five days a week. As a professional environment, they should dress ready to learn, not lounge. Comfortable clothing, but not pajamas. The same rules should apply to the boys: I don’t need to know what pattern you have on your underwear. Wear clothing that covers it up, not because it offends me or will excite members of the opposite sex, but because it’s professional.

As a teacher, I find it hard to believe that in this day an age, a boy will totally lose focus because the girl in front of him is wearing a black spaghetti strap tank top with a pink bra and the bra straps are showing. I, personally, don’t like my bra straps to show, but fashion has moved toward bras being used almost as accessories and the common trend now is that it’s ok for a bra strap to show. BUT. See, again we run into professional environment. Wearing a tank top would be ok if it had wider straps, I think. It IS high school and not an office and in Southern California it gets damn hot and the schools are usually not enclosed affairs you find where it snows. You eat lunch and walk to classes outside. Comfortable clothing, not pajamas, remember.

And then there is the question of age. As an adult, I can wear almost anything I want. As a child, I don’t think you can. With maturity comes responsibility and until you reach that maturity, you have to follow the rules more mature people put in place for you. It’s just the way it is and sometimes it sucks. A young girl wearing shorts that are so short her ass hangs out is not appropriate because she is a YOUNG girl. Teenagers want to be seen as adults, more than ANYTHING, but unfortunately, they are not yet adults.  As such, they should wear clothing that covers more skin and isn’t something a college student would wear. Again, though, this is very subjective and parents will let their child leave the house wearing something that I would never let my daughter be seen in.

See? It’s a tough question and a sensitive topic. Do I think girls should be able to wear what they want? Yes. Do I think they should be told not to because BOYS will be uncomfortable and distracted? Absolutely not. I think the rules should be as follows:

  1. All clothing must be of an appropriate size, not too big or too small. It should not be skin tight or so loose the pants fall off and show off colorful boxers. I REALLY don’t need to know what your underwear looks like. Pants should fit at the waist and not be so low to show me your thong (remember those low rise jeans?!). Underwear stays under there.
  2. Tank tops are fine. Nothing see through. Short should be long enough to keep your butt covered, not just while standing but while sitting or bending over.
  3. Skirts should also be long enough to keep everything under wraps while sitting and not so tight you can’t walk (I just like walking and hate binding clothing, so this rule is mostly for me :p).
  4. Shirts should be long enough that they cover everything MOST of the time. If your stomach peeks out while you raise your hand, that’s ok.

Bra straps will probably show sometimes, but I don’t think it’s much of an issue, but personally, I think spaghetti straps are too casual for school. I think those four rules cover everything and are not too restrictive for either gender.

I do absolutely think that girls need to stop being told that they need to dress differently because the boys will react a certain way. That’s insane. Boys should be able to control themselves and I don’t think they’re mindless sex fiends, no matter their age. I also think that consent should be taught to BOTH boys and girls in their health classes.  This idea that girls are solely responsible for how a boy reacts to them IS the solid foundation of rape culture and the very beginnings of blaming victims for their own rape. Boys need to be taught respect and consent and control, and to learn to take responsibility for their actions. A dress code should not be in place to restrict what clothing a girl can wear to keep boys from feeling uncomfortable. A dress code should be in place because they are children in a somewhat professional environment and should dress accordingly, plain and simple.