What the hell is it with Florida this month?
This has been going around the past few days and I’m sure a not small number of LGM readers have seen a version of it. Long story short, the principal of Lakeland Senior High School in Florida instituted a dress code, and attempted to explain the motivation for it in a class (you know, in front of students). The principal, Arthur Martinez, exhorted girls to dress modestly, don’t show too much skin, because “modest is hottest”. Otherwise, of course, “boys will be boys.”
These two comments caught the attention of a junior in the high school, Marion Mayer. She wasn’t impressed with the principal’s comments, and confronted him in a meeting that ended less than satisfactorily. Ordinarily I’d point out the obvious problems with the principal’s explanation, but better to read Ms. Mayer’s own words from her original post on fb, reproduced verbatim by Jen Frankel. Frankel’s description: “Not just wise beyond her years — let’s face it, a lot of us NEVER get there.”
A couple of days later, it was picked up by HuffPo (edited down from the original linked above). The takeaway:
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.
This isn’t ordinary garden variety stupid, this is stupid in a position to culturally shape the next generation. Which Mayer also understands clearly:
He explained that his daughters “behave” and that his nephews were disrespectful… because they are boys. I said “That has nothing to do with their gender. They act that way because of how they were raised, the environment they are living in, and the choices they make.”
As Frankel wrote, wise.