Dear Lauren Wiggins

I write this publicly to answer the concerns you made public in the letter you sent to your school principal regarding the dress that was deemed inappropriate for school.

First, I want to congratulate you on writing a well-thought out letter that contained appropriate diction, spelling, and grammar. You deserve recognition for being able to express yourself clearly and correctly, which is a fast-fading art in the younger generations.

I understand that you are a free-thinking young woman, who feels she needs to champion new ideas and new forms of independence in a culture that is changing so fast that the g-forces from slight turns could break your neck. It now seems that each week brings a new “social reform” that must be made, and you wanted your chance to raise the flag for a meme that you thought needs addressed—and you raised that flag very publicly, which gives everyone a chance to opine on your position.

Unfortunately, you also revealed yourself as a product of your culture and generation to be an immature, self-centered, egotistical brat.

In a perfect world, everyone could do as they pleased and suffer no consequences, mainly because in a perfect world, no one would be selfish, immature, greedy, lustful, lazy, or perverted. Unfortunately, that perfect world doesn’t exist, and your letter only proves the point. Not only do you not care about the other students in your school, which brands you as blindly self-centered, but you seem to think the world revolves around what you think or feel—a concept that reveals you to be very immature and horribly egotistical.

It’s going to be a rude awakening when you grow up and discover that the world doesn’t actually revolve around your thoughts and feelings.

Whether or not your dress was inappropriate is not actually the issue—as inappropriateness is highly subjective and depends on the occasion as well as the people involved. In this case, it appears that your school determined the dress to be inappropriate.

Guess what? When you live in a society, people who have authority over you will always get to deem things about you appropriate or inappropriate. It’s simply an aspect of living in organized groups that you haven’t quite grasped. What’s unfortunate is that your parents failed to teach you respect for authority. This lack of respect will be a big problem for you as you go forward in your life.

In addition, the reasons you give to back up your feelings of injustice—the discrimination and hypersexualism of a woman’s body—are not that valid and woefully selfish. Women have come a long way in our Western culture. We have access to education and jobs that our ancestresses never dreamed of. But the more we bring ourselves into the public forum, the more we have to concern ourselves with how public forums work. Part of that is learning how to work alongside others not exactly like us. To that end, your shortsighted claim that adolescent boys and young men should be sent home because they are distracted by pretty girls is actually a huge step backward in the progress that women have made in our society.

Did you know that only about 100 years ago, many classrooms were segregated? Girls and boys went to separate schools or were taught in separate classrooms in order to avoid hormone-driven young people from distracting each other. Women have fought for generations to have the same access to education as men, and you just threw it out with one completely ill-thought tirade.

Yes! School should be a place where students can be focused on school, which is entirely the reason why in a desegregated school environment, it is necessary that those in authority be able to identify and remove things that will distract students from learning. If that happens to be your dress, then so be it.

Instead of trying to start an international debate about the hypersexualization of women, try thinking about someone other than yourself. If you were at all unselfish, you’d take the feelings of your fellow students into consideration when you choose your clothing. It’s not so much about how you feel and what makes you comfortable, but how others feel and what makes them comfortable.

Try that on for size and see how it fits.

If men were not biologically driven and socially encouraged to think about sex the majority of the time, then you could live in a world where women wouldn’t have to care about what they wear and how they present themselves. And yes, a man is responsible for his own thoughts, but boys are not men, and they are only just beginning to understand themselves. They have a lot to learn about how to think about women and about self control. You could attempt a little consideration for the maturity level of the boys your age.

Our culture surrounds these young men with sexually based advertisements, sex in movies and television, clothing trends that flaunt women as sexual symbols, and your incredibly selfish solution to a sex-driven culture is to send boys home if they can’t control their lustful thoughts. You’re not fighting your school, however—on this matter, you’re fighting your culture. When the culture quits making women into sexual symbols, THEN you can start your campaign to remove restrictions on clothing for women. You should be writing movie and television producers and advertisers, instead of your principal.

In the meantime, why don’t you attempt to grow up and look outside your selfish little box and look at the world with generosity and charity for others. Try thinking about what makes the boys sitting behind you in your classrooms comfortable—especially, when you’re seated in a chair that possibly hides what little bit of dress is covering your upper body, making you appear naked to the eyes of a young man seated behind you. Do you honestly think he won’t be distracted by the artwork on your back, which demands that your back and shoulders be noticed? I’m not a man and am not lustful in general, but I honestly would find it distracting, and not even for sexual reasons.

In conclusion, it doesn’t hurt to respect the authority figures in your life, especially those that have a maturity jump on your tender years. They’ve already lived life for at least a decade or two longer than you. They know things you don’t know. They understand things you don’t understand about all kinds of principles in life and culture. They want to protect you from making decisions and choices that have unintended consequences that you don’t have the experience to foresee.

Also, it won’t hurt you to leave inappropriate attire for school in your closet at home. You can wear it later to more appropriate venues, if such exist. But honestly, child, don’t be surprised to discover that what makes you comfortable might actually get you in serious trouble some day. There are consequences to your attitude which could possibly bring you great suffering and cause you regret for the rest of your life. Please be careful!


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