Bodies Are Not Distractions


Lauran Pedley, Staff Writer

“He’s only mean to you because he likes you.” Many little girls have grown up hearing some variation of this statement from the adults surrounding them. Whether it be in school or at home, girls often hear this coming from a plethora of adults about different boys. This sentiment leads to the idea that to be loved is to be mistreated and can eventually lead to unhealthy relationships because that is what we teach girls. We teach them that boys are mean when they like you, and we teach them to accept that.  

According to USA Today, what we tell children can “become entrenched in adolescence and have negative impacts that carry into adulthood.” Describing how though what we tell kids may seem minor, it can be a factor in who they become as adults.  

Additionally, many girls are taught that their bodies are distracting, and it is their responsibility to fix it because “boys will be boys.”  This idea can be seen through dress codes, sports, and many other instances. Girls are often asked to change their clothes, cover up body parts, and in some cases are sent home when wearing “distracting” outfits.  

“I’ve been told to pull my shorts down while playing a school sport because it was ‘distracting,’” senior Audrey Burgmaier said. At the time, Burgmaier was a 17-year-old girl, playing the sport she had always played. These types of comments can lead to an over examination of a girl’s body, putting it in a negative light which may affect how girls look at themselves. 

While this is an issue that many girls have faced, this is not unsolvable. “How you perceive girls and boys is socially driven, it’s not biologically driven,” said Kristin Mmari, an associate professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. As soon as society begins to acknowledge and bring awareness that what we teach little girls from a young age can be detrimental to their adult hood, the sooner it can be fixed. When we begin to teach girls that they are worthy of kindness and their bodies are not distractions, the issue will begin to resolve itself.