Jim Bazen, the principal of Plymouth Christian High School in Grand Rapids, Michigan, is under fire for promoting a strict school dress code that some say unfairly targets female students. It all started when Bazen wrote a response to an opinion piece by the editorial board of The Grand Rapids Press about school dress codes having "a serious sexism problem.”
In his response, he said, “The only way you can help young men not treat young ladies as sex objects is by telling the young ladies to cover up!” Brazen argued that men cannot control their lust and it is up to women to curtail those inclinations by dressing “respectfully” to be viewed as a real “person” — asserting that women are solely responsible for controlling a man’s lust.
“My heart goes out to our young ladies because they are caught between a rock and a hard place,” he wrote. “Our girls are taught by the media that 'sex' or 'being sexy' will get them attention, especially from boys ... and they get it.”
He went on to say, “This is a result of man's total depravity. Our once pure minds are corrupted by the fall (original sin).”
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Brazen also said, "To me, that's a double standard because as a female, you will never completely understand the male mind."
Brazen believes men are "wired more visual," so seeing skin or tight clothing is disrupting.
“So, it would seem to me, that if you do not want women treated as ‘sex objects,’ you should tell them to cover more skin," he added.
When interviewed by Daily Mail, he further justified his views.
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“If you don’t want to tempt a car thief, you don’t set your GPS or other valuable items on the dashboard. If you don’t want your wallet stolen, you don’t leave your purse wide open on the counter and walk away. If something of value gets stolen, of course the thief is 100 percent guilty, but do you think you could have avoided the incident by not leaving your valuables out in full view? Men will lust after the bodies of women that are on display, just like a thief will want that wallet in full view in a purse.”
Bazen also claimed the school's dress code isn’t punishing female students, instead, he believes it protects them from the lustful eyes of men before marriage. “We would like them to preserve this wonderful gift (virginity) for their ‘one and only,’” he wrote.
Since Bazen’s opinion appeared, the piece has garnered a huge, mostly angry, response.
“How about you just teach boys to actually respect women?” replied one commentator. “That'd be nice. Women don't need to cover up to not be treated as ‘sex objects.’ Men need to learn how to not treat women as sex objects.”
Another said: "Without a corresponding approach to boys and men, this is just an expression of a biased point of view. He said ‘Boys will be boys and girls have to change because of that.’”
Young women in other parts of the U.S. have been taking a stand against what they view as sexist dress codes, often using social media to get their story out.
South Carolina teen Carey Burgess, 17, was sent home on Oct. 27 because her skirt was “too short.” She was wearing a striped, long-sleeved shirt over a khaki skirt that stopped a few inches above her knees. Burgess said the incident made her feel like “a whore” and that the same standards weren’t applied to male students.
In August, 17-year-old Stephanie Hughes was sent home from her Kentucky high school because she wore a tank top that showed her collarbone.
Driven by accounts of females being unfairly punished for their clothes, 100 students in South Carolina protested in September, all donning the scarlet letter A.