After the extra long weekend it was a bit of a struggle to get back into a work frame of mind. I didn't achieve much in the morning and the afternoon was taken up with a student services meeting. It was uneventful until the last few minutes when a comment was made about the shortness of some of the girl's skirts at present being inappropriate but that the male teacher in question was unwilling to confront the female students because of the risk of being accused of being a pervert. I understood where he was coming from and agree it's a tricky issue. What surprised me was the response from one of the female staff who had a go at him about palming the issue off onto the female staff.
A few times in my career as a youthworker I have had occasion to challenge girls about their attire when it has been too short, too low cut or too revealing but I have also been burnt by the experience. One time in particular the girl in question got extremely upset with me and it damaged what had been a good relationship.
In 2007, girls can and do wear whatever they like, revealing more and more of their bodies.
That is within their rights, but, they should be mindful of the impact it has on boys and men who see them and the unintended message it can send.
I have asked girls whether they realise the impact they have and how it can be interpreted, and usually get one of two responses. 1. Naivte, no awareness of it's impact and surprise when told, or 2. oblivious disregard, they know exactly what they're doing and they don't care!
Either way, it can be very difficult for a man not to be drawn to girl's bodies when they are so openly on show. While the attraction between the sexes can be a natural and pleasant part of life, for those of us who are married and seeking to be faithful, and to honour our wives and our committment to them, the display can be unhelpfully distracting.
At the same time, I'm well aware that our society has elevated sex and sexual imagery to a huge level and we are constantly bombarded with sex and sexual images in the media and in day-to-day life, which desensitizes us to the issue and sends a message to girls that they are valued for sex more so than for character or personality or values and behaviour. Similarly boys and men are persuded that girls are sex objects above all else and are to be pursued and treated as such. I see and hear the evidence of this every Friday night in the taxi and the older the boys get the more basic and blatant their attitudes become.
I have warned female passengers about the risks they face at the hands and attention of sleazy alcohol- fuelled young men with only one thing on their minds.
For the girls who are still at school, they are already playing adult games, dressing in adult ways and taking adult risks, long before they are mature enough or ready to handle adult responsibility.
The issue won't go away quickly, in fact I think it will just continue to get worse, but that doesn't mean it shouldn't be addressed and at times confronted.