Thursday, April 19

Local Jax News Reporters Not To Go Bra-less to Support Protesting Teen

While it was never discussed in the news, I thought it might be interesting if local news reporters decided to not wear bras to support (pun intended) a local teen who was sent home from high school for doing the same thing. While the teenager's school dress code did not specifically bar bra-free females, she was told it was distracting. And it was.

No, I wasn't there, but I was in high school once, a long time ago. I remember the day Andrea showed up in a tight-fitting shirt that revealed that she might have been a bit chilly. The boys were distracted, and we were saying all kinds of stupid things to get her attention and be funny. While she was wearing a bra, I assume she retired that particular one, since she was not the kind of girl who wanted that kind of attention.

The local girl does want some kind of attention for her actions. It's not really about comfort or women's rights. If you leave the house without a bra in America, you are going to get noticed. Most teenage girls think that everyone is staring at them, but that's not really the case. However, not wearing a bra will ensure that boys look at you, if that's what you want.

It's the same as when I was teaching. Then it was all about thongs and the whole whale-tail thing. I was so annoyed that I was supposed to somehow not be looking at these girls yet identify offenders and refer them to the office. I just ignored it, assuming I'd be accused of looking. Yes, boys who sat in the back of the room got an eyeful, and I'm sure it was more interesting than reading To Kill a Mockingbird. Those girls, like the local one, wanted the boys to see their underwear, or lack thereof. I'm not saying it's wrong. I wanted to get noticed by girls back in high school, so I bought IOU shirts and Guess jeans, neither of which I liked, in hopes that those would do the trick. If codpieces had been all the rage, then I probably would have worn one with pride.

There's a certain societal norm that says we don't saunter around in codpieces or frolic about without bras. Maybe at the beach, but not at school or work. We're still Puritanical, I suppose, sometimes to a fault. And speaking of fault, that's what we want to do, and dressing a certain way opens our young girls up to the whole argument that she's a slut or she was asking for it.

When I was in France in 7th grade, it was an eye-opening experience: the TV ads featured topless women showering, my host "mom" offered to do my laundry while standing there talking to me in her bra, and the shower that I used had a window with no covering open to several hundred other apartments (all of which also lacked window coverings). But the pièce de résistance was gym class at the school I was visiting. The 8th grade girls got dressed for class in a locker room adjacent to the boys' locker room, separated by an open doorway. Here, these would all be scenarios depicting deviant behavior or someone asking for something. I'm not saying it's better over there or that it's even still like that, but I could also see that there were no real regulations about bras. Therefore, a girl looking to get noticed wouldn't choose to go bra-free and then call the news. Here, she would, and did.

I have to admit that men, including myself, would initially watch the local news more often if the women in the news refused to wear bras. In fact, I thought about writing this article while watching Amber Krycka report on something or other while wearing a tight purple blouse with just a hint of cleavage showing. Sure, there'd be all kinds of huffing and puffing if Danielle Avitable or Kaitlyn Chana reported live from the latest driveby sans brassiere. Now some of you are thinking that I'm the one objectifying these women, and not the networks or every viewer. But have you seen the bio pages of local female newscasters? I'm just saying the business of hiring a pretty face is alive and well in Jacksonville. If the news channel told Arielle Nixon or Beth Rousseau to ditch the unmentionables, that would be harassment at work, but women deciding to do it themselves is just self-expression. And the best way to thrust ratings way up. Don't even get me started on Tennika Hughes--OMFG!  The point is that the women in news and on TV are objects, whether they wear a form-fitting dress or a tight shirt. If you want to argue against the objectification of women, then they would have to wear loose t-shirts and flannels. Maybe pantsuits. It's that whole male gaze thing.

Of course, some or most of you think this article is somehow wrong. The #metoo movement might accuse me of something or other. Conservative homeschoolin' moms might accuse me of basically the same thing. But you don't really have an argument. Sex sells in all kinds of ways, and women strive for attention in just as many ways--this usually overlaps. Case in point: immediately following the Metoo bonanza, I saw red carpet photos of all the female stars showing up for some awards ceremony. Guess what? They were wearing provocative dresses. It's on local car dealer commercials, at football games, and at the beach. And really, on the news.

I know, it's confusing. I mean, take a look at Jennifer Aniston and her two co-stars on Friends. Do you think "pokies" hurt her career? Were there protesters? Not me. The Kirsten Dunst Spiderman in the rain kissing scene, too. Yes, it was distracting, just like it was in school when Stephanie wore a tight shirt. Like when Sarah smiled. Like when Kelly squeezed into tight pants. And so on. That's twenty years ago, and I can remember them like it was only maybe 15.

My friend from Wisconsin told me he saw the local article about bralessness, and he was surprised by the anger against the girl in comments. He stepped in and defended her. The same thing local newscasters are not doing. Me either. But I'm also not ripping on her. It's her body and her classes she has to be in, honestly. If all the girls were forced to wear ankle-length dresses, then the guys would get all excited about seeing an ankle once in a while.

My own advice is just wait until college. From middle school through high school, just wear the bra, avoid tattoos, and don't get anything pierced in any erogenous zones. Except for the bra, that goes for guys, too. The funny thing is that most girls who live on campus in college roll out of bed and put on jogging pants and the same bra for three days straight, but let's just pretend that's the time when you can express yourself with tight shirts in cold places. I'm also talking in circles at this point because there's no right answer. I certainly don't have it. If you do, let me know.

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