The new principal at my school used two phrases while addressing new dress code rules to a class: "Modest is hottest" and "boys will be boys."
He should have said something more along the lines of: "The school dress code was established to provide our students with a safe and orderly learning environment that is free from distractions."
Let's start with the phrase "modest is hottest," shall we?
Modest means having or showing a moderate estimation of one's own talents, abilities and value. If modest is hottest, then it's not modest.
You are literally sending the message to young girls, who are already struggling with self-confidence, that hiding their body makes them more attractive. You are establishing a sense of shame in these young, developing minds and bodies. A human has the right to wear whatever they feel comfortable in. Showing less skin doesn't make you any more attractive. Showing more skin does not make you any less attractive. When someone calls you attractive that just means that they are attracted to you.
At what point in your career did you find it appropriate to define my "hotness"? Why are you at all concerned with how "hot" I am? You are teaching us, through modesty, to be objects of sexual arousal. I'm sorry, but I don't dress myself to look "hot" for anyone. I dress myself as a way of expressing my body and myself. If covering up my body is supposed to make people sexually and physically attracted to me, then how would those people feel if I decide to have sexual relations with them, without clothes on?
How am I supposed to love and feel proud of my naked body and develop a sense of sexuality when exposing my body is deemed shameful and unattractive? Since when should being "hot" be my concern? I don't want to be with someone who just thinks I'm hot. I want to be with someone who loves and respects all the parts of my mind, personality and body. THAT'S what you should be teaching, not "how to be hot."
My body is not a sinful temptation that needs to be hidden.
My body is not your personal, sexual object.
My body does not overshadow my character.
My body is not any more sexual than a man's body.
My body is not here to look "hot" for you.
Next up is his second statement, "boys will be boys."
Being a boy refers to your gender. That's all.
It does not make you constantly sexually aroused, animalistic or sexually uncontrollable, but for some reason society has come to the conclusion that you are this stereotype. This is extremely sad. This gender stereotype is unfair to all men. By telling them who they are as a man you are absolutely taking away their moral agency. "But he's a teenager. He's raging with hormones." You don't think I'm raging with hormones as well? Believe me I am.
When the people who do sexually harass other people happen to be male and you use the excuse "boys will be boys," you are not only excusing their behavior, you are condoning it.
It's this "boys will be boys" mentality, culture and attitude that condone sexual assault. Whenever the excuse "boys will be boys" is used, it's just an exercise of male privilege. You are telling them that it's okay for them to be sexually violent.
Sex needs to stop being about "no - it's bad dirty gross shameful," and start being about, "yes - let's have consenting sex because I want to."
It needs to be about consent. That's what you should be teaching. Not, "well, you know how they are... boys will be boys!"
Boys are not sexually uncontrollable.
Boys do not have a genetic, animalistic, violent nature.
Boys are not born with a natural desire for destruction or control.
Despite what society and culture keeps trying to cram down everyone's throat, having a penis doesn't make it okay to sexually harass someone. The false idea that men can't control themselves is so unfair and completely ridiculous.
The day after the incident happened, the principal called me down to his office to discuss my concerns. Students and teachers told him about the Facebook post I wrote about it, which I expected. I spent a good hour and a half arguing with him about his comments. I offered to send him what I wrote if he was interested in reading it. He said, "No, that won't be necessary."
After he dodged almost every question I asked by sharing his plans to improve the school, he decided that he had had enough and said, "I'm going to end this discussion."
Then, I was sent back to class.
This post originally appeared on this young writer's Facebook and Tumblr page. She has requested to keep those accounts private.