The real immoral crimes

Ugh, here’s a story with classic victim blaming based on clothing…

AP image of the student in her dress

In Sao Bernando do Campo, Brazil, administrators at a university expelled a 20 year old student for wearing a short dress to class and allegedly acting immorally by doing things like taking the long way to class to increase the number of students who would see her. Hundreds of students heckled and catcalled her. Super outrageously, the university (after expelling her) paid for newspapers ads to publicly shame her and accuse her of immorality.

Of course various places have dress codes, which if justified, should be respected, but there is no indication that she violated a dress code. It sounds like the university officials just did not like her  and the student responses to her dress.

The student has been speaking out against this treatment saying, “It’s a great injustice. I always dressed in a way that makes me feel good and that doesn’t offend anybody. I was always like that and was never recriminated by anybody.”

Since the media caught wind of it (in part because of a youtube video), the university has since conceded to let her return to school, with a police escort. Good. Now civil police in the city are going to investigate the students accused of heckling her. The university said it would temporarily suspend some of them. Good. Sexual harassment is socialized, learned behavior that should not be tolerated.

And the accusations of immorality? Come on… get real. It’s convenient that their type of immorality is something only women can be accused of. Next thing you know they’ll want women to wear burlap sacks over their heads or to be banned from school altogether because they could probably construe being a woman and having female body parts as being immoral…

I’m sure there are plenty of child molesters and rapists and street harassers on campus and in their town (and maybe among their faculty) that they could spend their ad money on to shame rather than on a 20-year-old student who wore a short dress to class…!!  Those are the real crimes of immorality!!

4 Responses to The real immoral crimes

  1. Wow. I hate stories like this. Her whole life has altered because of stupid ignorant men. And of course now it will take so much courage just to simply dress as she chooses.

  2. **BrownEyedBeauty** says:

    I know that some people will probably object to my comment, but here goes…

    the dress is very cute and she looks lovely in it. However, it is bright red. I’ve noticed that some people react very oddly to women wearing anything red, even if it is simply lipstick or nail polish. Red seems to have sexual connotations in the minds of some people. We all know that many people are intimidated by female sexuality. It is a color that catches the eye and draws attention. I know that when I want to feel sexy or attractive, I wear red.

    While there is nothing wrong with the dress itself and I believe the way they treated her is shameful, there is also something to be said about exercising proper judgment…especially when attending school or work. There is a time and place to wear sexy, provocative attire. School is not the place. Neither is work. She did not deserve to be humiliated. She did not deserve to be catcalled by other students. I hope my comment will not be interpreted in this way. However, this is the world we live in. Brazil is considered to be very open in its attitude toward sexuality, yet the way this young woman was treated suggests otherwise.

    I wore similar clothing when I was younger and I experienced similar treatment. What I learned is that people DO frequently judge others based on appearance and how we present ourselves. This should never be, but it is reality. Women are beautiful. We should NEVER be ashamed of being female. In a perfect world, we would be able to walk around nude without a second thought.

    Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world. The dress is more appropriate for a nightclub or a date. It isn’t appropriate school attire. I’m not blaming her at all, nor do I feel that her treatment was fair or justified in any way. I’m simply trying to see it from a different perspective. I don’t believe that women should be forced to hide their femininity or wear ultra-conservative clothing.

    I simply feel that it is a matter of showing good judgment and being more careful. Image matters in the real world. It matters whether you are a university student or a CEO. I am a university student too. My clothes tend to be pretty conservative, but I still show a bit of cleavage once in a while. I wear cute shoes and bold turquoise beads around my neck. Still sexy and classy without crossing that fine line.

    She wasn’t showing her cleavage or her tummy, but the dress is still very short. If she were to bend over or walk up a flight of stairs, people would be looking up her skirt. The university handled this situation very badly but her outfit did create a distraction. Wearing a minidress to school isn’t “immoral”, but it does give me the impression that she has somewhat questionable judgment on what appropriate attire is. It bothers me that they shamed her and turned it into a moral issue. She didn’t deserve that. One of the school officials should have simply pulled her aside privately to talk with her if it was really a problem. She should not have been publicly humiliated.

  3. **BrownEyedBeauty** says:

    Whoops! Not that it matters, but the dress is hot pink…not red. Still very eye-catching.

    I read about this further and it seems that the behavior of her fellow students is the real issue here. Supposedly they threatened her with rape and called her “puta” as she walked through the halls. Some of the other girls participated in it. A classic case of “woman’s inhumanity to woman” (if I can quote Phyllis Chesler).

    I still remain firm on what constitutes appropriate attire (even in Brazil), but I do NOT condone the way this young woman was humiliated and harassed. Somebody should have sent her home to change or at least spoken to her about her clothes privately, but to allow other students to verbally attack her and then to expel HER because of THEIR uncontrollable behavior is simply unbelievable. One male professor was kind enough to help her hide in a classroom so the other students couldn’t harm her physically. They stood outside shouting at him to open the door so they could rape her.

    This is a sick world. Her clothes were inappropriate at school…but the behavior of her classmates and the reaction of school officials? Wow.

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