Erykah Badu accused of victim-blaming


Erykah Badu is on the hot seat after voicing support of a New Zealand school that recently launched a dress code requiring girls to lower their skirt hems to knee level so as not to “distract” male students and teachers. Stretching over 11 tweets, the 45-year-old singer-songwriter explained how it’s only “natural” for men to be attracted to girls in short skirts. So, in order to protect themselves they should cover up.

“I am aware that we live in a sex l-driven society. It is everyone’s, male and female’s, responsibility to protect young ladies. One way to protect youth is to remind them we are all sexual in nature and as they grow and develop it is natural to attract men. It is not them who is doing anything wrong by being beautiful and attractive but with such imbalance in our society it is smart to be aware and awake. Men and women both go thru cycles of arousal. Men automatically are attracted to women of child bearing age …”

She continued: “Consequently, we must all be aware and responsible. We must protect our young women. We must teach our young men if I had a school I would make sure that the uniform skirt length was a nice knee length… It is fair to everyone…”

While Badu referenced “biology” to argue that men will naturally lust over sexually attractive girls as grounds to strengthen her point, Badu’s comments weren’t well received. In fact, Badu was bombarded with claims she was victim-blaming. This writer concurs.

Here’s why: Badu is clearly alleging that “women of child-bearing age” are responsible for how grown men behave towards them (based on their hemlines). She’s given equal responsibility to both female students and male staff, neglecting the fact that one is in a position of power over the other. Not only do these dress codes demonize these impressionable girls for being “too suggestive,” but the message itself, that their thighs are so captivating they may cause their school to be less “safe” is ludicrous.

Are we to say these male teachers lack self-control and will lose it at the sight of lengthy limbs? What happened to teachers protecting their students and conducting themselves as honorable adults? In reality, dress codes can reinforce rape culture, as teachers and school boys alike are stripped of any responsibility regarding their performance and actions. Dress codes can also cause young girls to get distracted over what they’re wearing, in return, impacting their education.

Making the focal point of student safety about the length of their skirts rather than educating them about bodily autonomy, consent, and responsibility, is simply not the way to address this debate.

What are your thought’s on Badu’s stand? How would you address the broader issue of sexual harassment and assault n the school place? Sound off in the comment section below.

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