Before I begin, I’d like to remind you that any views expressed in this blog do not reflect the opinions of any particular school or district, they’re merely views from Marissa.
I was planning to stay away from this conversation until I attended a conference and a fellow educator asked me, “Being a beautiful Black educator, how do you feel about the body shaming going on right now?”
Now, in case you’re not into social media…1. Wow, that’s impressive. 2. How Sway? 3. One teacher has been deemed the “Sexiest Teacher Alive” due to her wardrobe. So, what’s my take on the woman who is now being referred to as Teacher Bae?
Okay, so here goes…Her attire doesn’t affect her ability to teach. Whether she’s rocking a dress, skirt, or slacks, she can still teach her students about multiplication and division, or whatever it is students learn in fourth grade. These days, they’re probably learning the quadratic formula. Either way, what she wears does not impede her ability to do her job.
Maybe she buys clothes with a multi-purpose mindset. She is living on a teacher’s salary after all. If she’s like me, she buys clothes that she can wear in multiple settings. I hate shopping, and I’m frugal, so when I purchase clothes, they have to transition from day to evening seamlessly, (perhaps with a sweater between the two…see pic above). All that to say, maybe her wardrobe is a product of her salary.
Furthermore, her attire wouldn’t be an issue if she didn’t have a body type where she’d check curvy on a dating app. Shame on this woman (insert sarcasm here) for eating healthily, going to the gym, or whatever it is she does to feel comfortable in her own skin. What do people expect her to do? Wear a trash bag?
Now, I had a friend who asked, “Would you wear those outfits to work?” My simple answer, “No, because I don’t have the energy.” I wake up, watch Law & Order SVU and/or the news for at least an hour then finally roll out of bed and get ready for work in like 30 minutes, tops. Plus, half the time at work, I’m sitting criss cross applesauce on the carpet with my students and getting up and down is a struggle, so I need to wear clothes that allow me to maneuver.
Or maybe the reason I don’t wear certain outfits to work can be attributed to the time years ago when I was walking in the hallway and a third grade student from a different class quoted Nicki Minaj. In an effort to keep this PG, I’ll just say he replaced my name with Nicki’s and asked me to put something on his sideburns. All that to say, my personal choice is not to wear anything that might elicit similar lyrics. But on that infamous day, I was wearing loose slacks, a shirt, and my go-to-teacher sweater, so guess it really doesn’t make a difference.
Playing Devil’s Advocate, my friend then said, “Given the reality that you’ve had kids who say adult things, should teachers dress with that in mind, across the board (whether they are curvy or not)?” Let me start by saying, I don’t want adults to pose questions with the use of Nicki Minaj’s lyrics. Now that we have that cleared up, he had a valid question that really made me think. For me, it’s not just about the things my kids say, but it’s the fact that they’re always watching and processing. Kids are extremely observant and quite impressionable. So, I do feel a sense of responsibility to set certain examples for my students. But again, I see nothing wrong with Teacher Bae’s wardrobe; what she wears is her prerogative. My personal preference, I’ll rock slacks and a college shirt instead of a dress any day of the week. But, that’s just me.
Unfortunately, we live in a world where people sometimes pay more attention to what you look like than what you’re able to do. Maybe we need to focus less on this teacher’s attire and more on the fact that women (especially of certain cultures) are often sexualized. If a muscular man wore tight-fitting shirts to teach, would we be having the same conversation? Probably not. We might ask why he’s wearing a smedium shirt, but we probably wouldn’t question his professionalism or objectify and sexualize him.
What are your thoughts? Are certain outfits NSFT?
~ Marissa’s Teachable Moments