Monday, October 26, 2009

The Morehouse Dress Code Controversy

Recelty, Morehouse COllege, storied HBCU and alma mater of such great African-Americans like, Martin Luther King Jr., Spike Lee (secretly), and, well, me, has instituted a new dress code policy. The controversy comes from the somewhat overwhelming focus on the "cross-dressing" segment of the student population. Supporters feel that men in women's clothing is distracting and disrespectful, while opponents say it is a matter of personal preference. Being a reluctant Man of Morehouse, I figured I would give you guys my perspective on the situation.

First off, I fully acknowledge there is a pervasive amount of homophobia at Morehouse. It doesn't help that our all-male status has always invited sneers and jabs at the number of "down-low brothas" on our campus, not to mention that a majority of the students there are of fairly conservative Christian upbringing. For a group who has constantly had their masculinity under attack, homosexuality remains a sore subject for black men in general, and Morehouse men in particular.

So yeah, this whole ban smells fishy. Sure, they threw in the baggy clothes part, but I would bet my student loan balance that it wouldn't have garnered nearly as much support if the women's clothing ban wasn't involved.

My rule is this: if a woman shouldn't wear it, neither should a man.

Clothes like tube tops and micro skirts are barely "clothing" to begin with. They can't be comfortable, or warm, or any way suitable for everyday use. They exist for one reason: sexual advertisement. The only reason a person wears such things is to get attention and promote their attractiveness. And I have no problem with that normally.

It is the environment that you wear such things that the issue arises. A woman with her bahooeys hanging all out in a classroom may be entertaining on a boorish level, but it is terribly inappropriate and distracting. Doubly so for a guy wearing the same outfit. Only now you got the closet cases have to put on their "man face" and act like idiots, which exacerbates the situation. Sometimes I just want to fucking learn some goddamn literature, okay?

If it isn't appropriate for the workplace, what makes you think it is appropriate for school? You aren't there to turn heads; you are there to learn, just as I am. It is nice you want to express yourself, but the truth is that nobody gives a fuck. They just don't. There is a reason I don't dress up like Mace Windu and run around screaming "The party's over!", and it isn't because I don't WANT to, or that it isn't an expression of my true self. It is because it would be stupid and selfish and distracting to other students, who don't really give a fuck about my self-expression. Same goes for you. You want sefl-expression people give a shit about? Write a song, or a book, or a movie. But dressing up like a jackass? Hasn't worked yet.

Listen, I don't care if you're gay. Hell, I follow the escapades of an honest-to-God gay porn star (whether I want to or not, thanks Twitter). And I don't care if you want to cross-dress or go post-op or what have you. I really don't. But don't tell me that you intentionally wear revealing clothing as self-expression, because that is bullshit. You are being an attention whore, and you shouldn't get special treatment because of it.

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