One of the interesting things about the Internet is its ability to change a person’s life. We live in an age where “Instagram famous” is a thing and the term “social media star” is on the tip of everyone’s tongues. I mean really, who isn’t trying to become some kind of overnight sensation?
Along with padding people’s pockets, there is a dark side to the Internet that often reveals twisted opinions, underlying damaging ideals not to mention those really messed up mindsets.
Here recently, people have had a lot to say about #teacherbae a.k.a Patrice Brown; the Atlanta, Georgia educator who has taken social media by storm due to her, well, sexiness. She is a curvy black woman who unapologetically dresses her banging body in trendy clothes. However, for some reason, folks feel that she, as a teacher, is out of line for the way she dresses. But when you pull back the layers and get to the truth of the matter, the issue lies in how curvy bodies are viewed by society; in particular, how black women’s bodies are objectified and judged just because of some junk in the trunk.
As a woman who has been plus sized all of my life, I know first hand that people have a problem with bodies that don’t fit the norm. Growing up in a very conservative environment, I could not wear what my thinner friends could wear. A pencil skirt in my size would show the shape of my ass so I had to wear something to cover it or not wear it at all. Full figured women are not the only ones taken to task for their bodies. Even if you possess a “more appealing frame” where your butt is big,
Full figured women are not the only ones taken to task for their bodies. Even if you possess a “more appealing frame” where your butt is big, stomach is flat, thighs are thick and boobs are stacked; in the view of narrow-minded people, there are just some things you should not wear. It’s an unfair notion that has no real basis in logic. All it truly does is police women’s bodies. And if I am being totally honest about the situation, it is misogynoir, which “is misogyny directed towards black women where race and gender both play roles in bias.” Black women are the most affected by this skewed view of what’s appropriate to wear. We are shamed for our booties and lips by the same people who try to emulate these features. This has been going on for centuries. Does Saartije “Sarah” Baartman ring a bell?
Now the argument that people have in this case is that Brown is a distraction to her students, especially the young 4th grade boys she teaches. This reasoning as to why she needs to change how she dresses puts the blame on the woman while giving men, albeit young men, but men nonetheless, a pass. Instead of punishing females for wanting to look nice and feel good about themselves, how about we teach boys not to objectify a woman’s body? A person is never too young to learn how to treat people and be a decent human being.
This thinking that says, “protect our young boys” by telling girls and women to cover up is the same that gives hot male teachers a pass. People would never say to a good-looking man who teaches 4th grade, “cover up those arms,” or “dresses more modestly.” Is the male body not as attractive as a woman’s? Do young girls not need to be “protected” from temptation and distraction? It’s all so hypocritical and per usual, sexist. Women of color (WOC) are sexualized at the drop of a dime and labeled a THOT, hoe or slut because of other people’s warped perceptions insecurities and shortcomings. I am so tired of WOC getting the short end of the stick for living our lives. It is ridiculous.
Please realize that things look differently on us because most of the time we have more assets than other women. That’s how we are built. It is not anything to be ashamed of or to hide. Situations like this, in which a woman is ridiculed for wearing a fitted dress, reveal how uncomfortable some people are with our bodies. For the love of God, I do not understand why. How is the size of her ass the determining factor of whether or not it’s okay for a woman to wear a dress?
Patrice Brown has committed her time to educating young people in a city like Atlanta where black kids need something to hold on to. What a petty and unnecessary conversation to have about her body in the face of all that she does in her profession.
Going forward, if we are going to make people famous by making their social media posts go viral, can it be for things that matter? Not because of a popularity contest based on how they look, but on what they give to society through their efforts and actions. The story here should be about the lives Patrice Brown is changing, not about the clothes she decides to wear.