Hypocrisy by any other name is still hypocrisy.
A teenaged female friend of mine, as talented a person I’ve ever met in my puff, told me the other day the accepted dress code (including, one assumes, her school’s rules) dictates that skirts have to extend below a girl’s knees, and tops, especially those with V-shaped openings for necks (whatever THAT means) are a no-no. Too revealing, she was told.
If this Commandment from the Mount has come from school administrators, one may attempt to understand their motives. Still, it falls short of basic logic.
Yes, absolutely, hormones are raging like crazy amongst the boys in that girl’s age group. But that still does NOT mean that girls have to cover themselves from head to toe like nuns, just so they don’t provoke any hormonal explosions within the opposite sex crowd.
It was in this context that my friend raised the question of Justin Bieber.
Wisely, she said that while she personally didn’t like Bieber’s music-making in general, and his singing in particular, she had no issues with those who felt Bieber was the popular music’s second coming.
Personally, I’m not so sure I’d be THAT wise (or generous) at all. To me, Bieber’s singing (or his attempts at singing) sounds like an injured donkey’s screeches in heat.
What has got my teenaged friend’s dander up was that he apparently said that rape has got its reasons. Justin Bieber uttered words to that effect in a Rolling Stone magazine interview. He then tried to dance around them saying his experience had not included rape, but even this qualification didn’t change his view one iota.
Reading his sentiment to perfection, my teenage friend said that – quite obviously – what he meant to say was that if a girl reveals a part of her body, she’s asking for it. And even if she reveals nothing but is beautiful and / or attractive, she’s asking for it, too.
She would proceed to draw a parallel to the limitations on girls’ school dress code.
Is that the message they want to convey? she demanded.
I agree with her wholeheartedly. On all counts.
In addition to his criminal issues (both in the U.S. and in Canada), Bieber makes racist jokes and seems to be of the opinion he can get away with an apology, no matter how perfectly insincere.
And if he really said rapes happen for a reason, all reasonable concert promoters, record producers and sundry members of the hangers-on crowd should drop him like something dirty they picked up after it had fallen from a horse’s behind.
But, to get back to my teenaged friend’s complaint about the dress code modifications.
If it really originates with school administrators, they seem to have it all splendidly wrong.
If there were anything they ought to control, it would be the boys’ behaviour. If there’s anything they (and the boys’ parents) ought to teach them, it’s respect. You first must give respect. Only then can you expect that someone will respect you back. That’s the mantra.
An aside here: one of the criminal cases in the U.S. that involve Justin Bieber has happened aboard a private jet taking him and his father to a Super Bowl game. The crew, including the captain, were asking both Biebers to stop smoking marijuana. It does happen to be illegal to smoke anything aboard an aircraft in the first place, after all. On top of it, marijuana fumes that the pilots must necessarily inhale impacts their ability to fly the plane safely.
In this context: remember Ross Rebagliati? That was the guy who won the first-ever Olympic gold medal in snowboarding in Nagano in 1998. Within days, if not mere hours, the International Olympic Committee decided to take his medal away: the doping control found small traces of marijuana in his system. Rebagliati defended himself by saying he spent a few days before flying to Japan in Whistler, B.C. That happens to be the place where those who do not indulge are treated as weird nerds. Whistler is about 7,500 kilometres removed from Nagano. And still, the august Olympic body accepted Rebagliati’s word and he got his medal back.
Can you imagine how the pilots must have felt when two guys were smoking marijuana right behind their backs in a Gulfstream?
Besides, what a role model is Bieber senior to his offspring, the younger Bieber? And what kind of a role model is, by extension, Bieber junior to his adoring fans?
Here’s the meaning of the aside: parents should be the first, and most important, role models for their children. If their children do not learn anything about mutual respect within their families, where else are they supposed to learn?
We live in the 21st century, for crying out loud! Is it so difficult to teach the boys that girls are NOT mere sexual objects? Is it so frightfully difficult to teach them that girls (women in general) are people, first and foremost?
Yes, absolutely, teen age is the age when young people start looking at one another, considering whether this or that person would make a good life partner. Yes, absolutely, teen age is the age of first loves. Loves that may (or may not) develop into something special.
None of which means that violence is permitted as a part of it.
It makes no sense whatsoever to mouth truities about equality and whatnot, if female students are supposed to wear clothing worthy of Victorian times.
This Victorian approach stinks to high heaven. It reeks of hypocrisy. Most of the more sensitive young people, students included, will realize that.
Is that what we want to teach them?