Welcome to America, land of the free and home of the haters.
I’ll never forget my fourth grade teacher, Ms. Harden. She was old (mid-forties is pretty much the Crypt Keeper to a 9-year-old), white, smelled like bologna and had the voice of an angel who was just punched in the throat. Basically she was the closest version White America had to an Evaline equivalent. Her teaching skills were decent, I guess, considering my fraction to decimal conversions are beyond dope today. But I also made sure to study and study hard because you bet my bottom dollar I never wanted to see that lady again (for anyone who’s curious, I kept that vow and haven’t seen the chick since 1996). She was the epitome of cool unraveled and nothing like what I, a young, black girl, aspired to be.
On the flip side, if Patrice “Tricey” Brown were my fourth grade teacher, I may have ended my love of pullover fleeces and Sketchers a lot sooner. Maybe I would have learned early on that black can be beautiful, intelligent, swagged out and sexy all in one package. Over the weekend photos of Brown wearing a form-fitting dress to work went viral and she was dubbed the “sexiest” teacher alive. Then the skies opened and the trolls rained down, criticizing the educator for what many have deemed inappropriate work attire.
Now unless Ms. Brown is doing twerk sessions and strip teases in her classroom fits, I see nothing wrong with her clothes. It’s Atlanta; she’s bodied and is covered from head to toe. Do you boo. As long as little Johnny knows his timetables and you’re not doing toe touches in front of my husband on Parent-Teacher Night, we’re cool.
Why can’t we just let people be great? And when did professional and sexy part ways? I missed that memo and my flats would have appreciated the chance to say goodbye to my stillettos.
I’m all for being fly and fabulous while educating our youth. It’s the least we can give these teachers who spend arguably more time with students than their own parents, while simultaneously being forced to turn lemons into lemonade every two weeks. So hey, if a bodycon dress is what gets you through the day so you can prepare the leaders of tomorrow, go for it.
The feminist in me can’t help but to note the gender imbalance and unrealistic expectations society is yet again placing on women. Be cute, but not too cute, and definitely don’t be cute everywhere you go because it makes some people uncomfortable. Oh the conformations we as women make to get into other’s formation. Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, where are you when we need you? What’s the difference between this and #MrStealYourGrandma, Irvin Randle showing up to school in a 5T skinny jean and a baby tee? You want thick thighs or d**k imprints, take your pick America.
No, coming to work in a crop top and leggings isn’t okay, but a dress that happens to hug your cornbread-fed curves and shows no cleavage isn’t call for a viral roast.
Ms. Brown, you have my vote to continue to slay.