So Erykah Badu is in some hot water on Twitter. She’s been tweeting hard trying to clarify her position on a comment she made concerning the “proper” length of girl’s attire. She mentions an article about a school who changed the dress code for girls due to a concern that girls wearing short skirts or shorts would unduly arouse male teachers. Before I talk about her comments, can I just take a minute to talk about the problem with the article? First if you have a teacher that is distracted from his job by one of his female high school students to the point where it affects his ability to teach, you don’t have a teacher, you have pedophile. You also have 99 problems, and this girl’s skirt length ain’t one. Second, what grown ass man can’t control himself in front of a pretty woman? If you get so flustered in front of the female form that you can’t function, you got some work to do before you can walk in this society. Third, let’s be perfectly clear, we’re talking about high school age girls. This is the beginning of them discovering their sexuality. And although it may make their parents dissolve into puddles on the floor to think about it, it’s happening younger and younger. That has to do with two things, the sexualization of women through media and entertainment and the lack of parental involvement in a teen’s life. Now I’m not blaming parents. I’m saying the way teens operate today is much different from when I was coming up. My parents didn’t know everything, but they knew when I was messin up, and they corrected me. Whether that meant a stern talking to, or a foot up my ass to give me a backbone until I grew one of my own.
Now on to Ms. Badu. I agree that when children, not just girls, go to school they should be dressed appropriately. They should be dressed to learn. All this BS about who’s wearing what is nonsense and it distracts from the reason they are there. However without a federal law saying that all schools should provide uniforms for students, I don’t think that’s going to happen. Let’s face it, the ACLU would lose their ever-lovin mind. However the policing of women’s bodies has really become a thing. Well, it was always a thing. Husbands telling wives what they could wear, rape victim shaming saying her attire said that she wanted it. I don’t think this needs to be something we start earlier. However I agree that women need to be aware that not all men are as evolved as they should be. And some teen age boys seem to not have the capacity to get there. It should be an opportunity to teach young people the correct way to behave in a highly sexualized society. It should be a moment to take that boy and girl aside and say, “She’s a human being, you’re a human being. Right now you’re treating her like a possession, a thing that you can use for your enjoyment and then disregard, and that’s not right. And she doesn’t have to accept that kind of behavior, because it’s degrading.”
What does this have to do with art? I’ll tell ya. The more we can educate our children, these future artists, these future adults, who will one day run this country, about how to interact with dignity with their fellow humans, the better. This is how we change and deepen the art we create and celebrate. When we can have respect and admiration for everyone in this lovely melting pot we champion so often during patriotic rhetoric, then we will also create art that celebrates everyone. Then we can start to create stories that are deep and rich and moving, stories that will tell the truth about what it means to live here in this time in this place and in this space. That’s the only art that interests me.