Assistant Principal says that girls ruin everything

We’re Furious About This Tennessee Assistant Principal Saying “Girls Ruin Everything”

If you think it's a joke, you're not funny.

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It is a truth universally acknowledged by the patriarchy that once school is back in session, there will be new rules about dress codes that are aimed at punishing young women because apparently young men (and their male teachers) cannot control themselves when they see shoulders or knees or anything.

This week, we’re going down to Tennessee’s Soddy-Daisy High School, where assistant principal Jared Hensley made a video about why athletic shorts were no longer considered acceptable attire, saying to the entire student body: “And if you really want someone to blame, blame the girls, because they pretty much ruin everything. They ruin the dress code, they ruin—well, ask Adam. Look at Eve—you can really go back to the beginning of time.”

Cue the record scratch because oh my, that’s a really terrible thing to say.

Hensley has been placed on administrative leave following his comments, and Twitter has been in an uproar over his words; even Cher herself decided to weigh in on the conversation.

This is not the first time a school has decided to blame young women for the actions of their male counterparts, including how showing too much skin leads to bad grades because young men can’t focus. Or to make a video shaming young women for wearing athletic shorts that’s so bad they have to send apologies to the student body’s parents. To list all the sexist dress codes in the country would take the rest of the day, so let’s just focus on the sexism present in Hensley’s video, because too many people are rushing to defend him by saying it was a joke.

First off, for it to be a joke, it would have to be funny and not punching down at female students. Second of all, to joke about “girls ruining everything” in today’s political climate is not a good look. It implies that young women are the problem, not those who sexualize, make judgments about, or harass or assault them. It’s victim blaming 101. Also, and this is bold statement to make, maybe we shouldn’t base our judgment on the role women play in society and history on the Biblical story of Adam and Eve, as a) it might not be true and b) not everyone believes in that particular story and so we shouldn’t use it to assume all women are deliberate temptresses.

Young women do not “ruin” dress codes and they most certainly do not “ruin” everything. They have to deal with their school shaming them for showing any skin whatsoever, even during heat waves, as their male counterparts can get away with whatever they want. I can remember my own high school’s dress code vividly, and how my male friends got to run wild as my female friends and I couldn’t even show our shoulders and anything slightly above the knee. High school students who identify as female do not need to have male administrators telling them that they are “distracting,” they need to be allowed to learn in a safe environment where they can express themselves and be comfortable.

Teenage girls deserve better than to be shamed by their community. This the kind of culture that leads young men to think that their actions do not have consequences because whatever happens is the fault of young women. And aren’t schools tired of hearing their names in the news due to sexist policies? Because we’re sure not going to stop covering them.

(via HelloGiggles; image: screengrab)

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Author
Kate Gardner
Kate (they/them) says sorry a lot for someone who is not sorry about the amount of strongly held opinions they have. Raised on a steady diet of The West Wing and classic film, they are now a cosplayer who will fight you over issues of inclusion in media while also writing coffee shop AU fanfic for their favorite rare pairs.