A Lakeland Senior High School student was so offended by remarks made by her principal about the school's dress code that she blogged about it. Now her posts to Facebook and Tumblr have been picked up by Huffington Post, and she's been getting support from readers worldwide.
Marion Mayer, 16, heard from friends that her principal, Arthur Martinez, made remarks about how girls should dress in school. They told Mayer he said in an AP class that girls should go by the rule "modest is hottest," because "boys will be boys."
Mayer said those types of phrases stereotype boys as aggressive simply because of what girls wear.
"I think the 'boys will be boys' mentality is just given to boys ever since they were younger," Mayer said. "They're raised with that idea and that really just condones inappropriate behavior."
Mayer wrote in her blog that behavior by people is a cognitive choice not dictated by clothing. She said the 'modest is hottest' phrase suggests that girls should not express themselves as they see fit for fear of misbehavior from boys.
"It's like women who are being raped and then told that it was your fault because your dress was too short. It doesn't have anything to do with that," Mayer said.
Martinez referred questions about the comments to the Polk County School District, which issued a statement that said "the district supports principals enforcing the dress code according to school board policy."
Mayer said she met with Martinez after word about the blog post got back to school administration. Mayer said despite a long conversation, the principal did not agree with her opinions about his statements.
"I feel like as a student I should be able to look up to my principals and my teachers and trust them," Mayer said. "When somebody says that I feel like it's a loss of trust."
The blog post quickly circulated among Mayer's friends on Facebook and Tumblr, and when the Huffington Post placed it on their website, it received thousands more views. Now Mayer is receiving feedback from both students and adults alike.
"Especially boys. I think they're happy somebody's finally speaking up and saying just because you're a boy doesn't mean you're some angry, sex-crazed teenager," Mayer said.
The high school junior said she's pleased that so many people have had a chance to read her blog.
"I'm glad that people are finally discussing these stereotypes that are just totally false," Mayer said.