Sound bites are tricky. They’re purposely distorted, blown out of proportion and the meaning is gone or twisted. It’s no secret we live in an era of sensationalism and non-news, a celebrity could tweet the sky is blue and the statement would be screen-grabbed and debated. This weeks non-news, non-debate, star is Erykah Badu.
Last Monday, Ms. Badu tweeted about a Catholic school ruling on skirts. Simply, she wrote that she agreed with the ruling, that it is everyone’s responsibility—male and female—to protect young ladies. She stated that the length of a skirt is not wrong, but it is smart (in this generation) to be aware. There was no shaming, no preaching, no full blown statement, just Erykah on her Twitter giving her opinion. I’m not sure of it’s just me, but a school uniform in a school, especially a Catholic school is not the least bit modern. I’m all for wearing whatever it is you want and no one is responsible for what one attracts, but we are all equally responsible for what we entertain.
A skirt above the knee serves no purpose. The school isn’t outside in a garden where sun dances across bare flesh. The school isn’t on a beach where sweat pours like fragrance. No, the school is in a prism, one filled with human beings. As humans we are inundated with images that cause us to react. Images of young women in sexy school skirts are frequented in porn, fiction, and fantasy which in turn finds a way towards our minds. Erykah wasn’t saying that a young girl is responsible for arousing her teacher, she’s saying that our society is responsible.
Erykah’s suggestion is not ground-breaking or new especially in a setting as important as school. The function of school is to teach, to open minds, and to refute fantasy. If you can’t learn better with your skirt above your knees, then there’s no sense of wearing one. We know Badu is not afraid to wear anything and nothing, so it’s quite clear she has no qualms about skirts being short. Her issues is our issue, one in which we participate in facilitating fantasy in damaging ways. A skirt isn’t sexual. Neither is a young school girl. But unfortunately through a culture that sells sex, both are commodified. So for those of you have an issue with a very clear opinion, perhaps Erykah did precisely what our society hasn’t: thrust you into direct confrontation with your own wounded mind.
The funny the thing is, school was supposed to help that.
(Photo: Ethan Miller/BET/Getty Images for BET)
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