Last week, a grade school teacher named Paris Monroe sparked an online debate when she posted pictures of herself in class to her Instagram. Most—almost all—of those infuriated deemed Monroe’s clothing as ‘inappropriate.’
And while her outfits do consist largely of bodycon dresses and skintight jeans, she barely shows any skin at all. She just chose flattering pieces for her body type, one that is very curvy.
Ah…therein lies the problem: her curves. Not her clothes.
“I just wish they would respect me and focus on the positive and what truly matters—which is educating the children of the future generations and providing and caring for them,” Monroe told The Daily Dot last Monday.
Since #teacherbae (lol) started trending, though, most of Twitter came to Monroe’s defense, especially when people began lurking her Instagram (since set to private) and saw she’d won teacher of the month.
Unsurprisingly, society’s sexualization of curvier female bodies is not a new phenomenon. In an interview with Details last year, plus size model Ashley Graham breaks down this foundational tie—”A curvier body is considered sexier. So if you get an even curvier body, like mine, we’re automatically sexualized.”
When asked why that is the case, she goes on to say, “It’s because we’ve just been in one category. You’re either too fat and not pretty enough or your just uber-duber sexy like the Marilyn Monroe’s or Jennifer Lopez’s of the world.”
So, really, unless you’re ‘curvy’ (read: sexy), you are not curvy and thus not sexy. Meaning #teacherbae’s two options are to 1) wear a trash bag every day or 2) wear normal, form-fitting clothes, that may be too sexual for those sexualizing her.
Of course, we go back to one simple point: If this were a man under the microscope, this wouldn’t be a discussion at all.