Modest is Hottest–
How to create a culture that devalues girls AND boys

By: Linda Daniel

Marion MayerD2L’s Stewards of Children training is based on the principle of taking risks and standing up for children. Marion Mayer, a junior at Lakeland Senior High School, did exactly that when she took a stand against the way her principle introduced the school’s dress code as “Modest is hottest,” and “Boys will be boys.”

This high school student brought national attention to the issue, shedding light on gender sexual inequalities that still pervade our culture.

In a Facebook post, Mayer addressed the phrases used by the LSHS principal to promote the school dress code – phrases implying that:

  1. Girls are only hot when they’re dressed in a way that doesn’t call attention to themselves.
  2. Girls put themselves in situations of sexual harassment or assault by the way that they dress.
  3. When sexual harassment or assault does happen, it must be the girl’s fault because we all know boys are unable to control themselves.

40% of child sexual abuse is youth against youth. It’s time to stop using statements like “boys will be boys” to excuse sexual offenses. Boys will behave how we teach them to behave. It is important that we teach children to respect not only themselves, but others too. This same lesson applies to girls.

I’m not advocating against school dress codes, and neither is Mayer. I’m advocating against a culture that teaches boys that they are animals unable to control their natures, and girls that they are sexual objects who must spend their days trying not to attract the attention of the animals.

Let’s take a stand against messages like “boys will be boys,” and create new messages that empower boys and girls to treat each other with the respect we all deserve as human beings.

Linda is a communication major at College of Charleston, and an intern for Darkness to Light.

For more information on preventing child sexual abuse in your community, visit The 5 Steps to Protecting Our ChildrenTM, or take D2L’s award-winning Stewards of Children® prevention training.

One Response to Modest is Hottest–
How to create a culture that devalues girls AND boys

  • Sam says:

    Great Job, Marion,

    Lakeland’s principal needs to warn, no threaten boys that they are responsible for their actions. If they behave in a way that demeans other students, they need to be both educated and penailized for it. The young lady students of Lakeland need to be educated as well. They should not tolerate any unwanted advances, no matter how they are dressed. My question is: Why does a student have to educate a principal? – Sam

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>