The assistant principal and athletic director of a high school in Tennessee has been put on administrative leave pending investigation after blaming girls for a school ban on athletic shorts. Yup. He went there. And right about now I’m guessing he really wishes he hadn’t.
In a YouTube video addressed to students of Soddy-Daisy High School on Wednesday, Jared Hensley informs the students that athletic shorts will no longer be allowed. But he doesn’t stop there. He goes on to BLAME THE GIRLS for the change in the dress code. I’ll just be over here gagging and questioning what century I’m currently living in.
In the “Helping of Hensley” video, which has since been deleted but reposted on multiple outlets, Hensley states:
I know, boys, you’re thinking, ‘I don’t understand why, it’s not fair, athletic shorts go past your knees’ … If you really want someone to blame, blame the girls. Because they pretty much ruin everything.
I’m sorry. WTF?
Oh, it gets better. He goes on to say:
They ruin the dress code, they ruin … well, ask Adam. Look at Eve. That’s really all you really gotta get to, OK. You can really go back to the beginning of time. So, it’ll be like that the rest of your life. Get used to it, keep your mouth shut, suck it up and follow the rules.
Let’s look at Adam and Eve, shall we? I don’t recall reading anywhere in the Bible that Eve pried Adam’s mouth open and FORCED him to take a bite of the apple. He chose to do it, of his own free will. But why would we want to consider the facts when we can just blame women for ruining everything? I digress.
The real point of this story is why the hell does this keep happening? Why do men keep thinking it’s okay to make sexist and misogynistic comments? Here’s a newsflash. It’s NOT OKAY. Thankfully, I’m not the only one who believes this and my faith in humanity is not completely shattered. The Hamilton County Schools superintendent Dr. Bryan Johnson acted swiftly, condemning Hensley’s remarks. He issued the following statement:
We find the comments about young women in this video inexcusable, as the sentiments expressed do not align with the values of Hamilton County Schools. The situation is under investigation, and this employee has been placed on administrative leave effective immediately. We hold our employees and our leaders to a high standard, and these comments do not match the high expectations we have for our employees. We seek to prepare all children for success in life after high school and expect our employees to provide an atmosphere that will empower all children to reach their full potential.
The video has also raised the ire of local community members and prompted a backlash on social media with most people citing the obvious – the comments were completely inappropriate and repercussions should be enforced. According to the Chattanooga Times Free Press, one mother of 4, Alicia Whitley, related his comments to the accusations of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
This is how Kavanaugh is getting so much support from the GOP. This nation has made sexism normal and acceptable. People feel like they can say things like this with no repercussions.
Another parent, Natalie Green, was quoted as saying:
The fact that they’re coming from an educator is bad enough, but the fact that they’re coming from a man in a position of power is even worse. These remarks are blatantly sexist and misogynistic and do nothing but perpetuate victim-blaming and reinforce the rape culture that is so insidiously ingrained in our society.
A local activist organization, Chattanooga Moms for Social Justice, has also taken up the charge. Co-founder Taylor Lyons says:
I have no doubt that Mr. Hensley will claim he was joking. However, given the current social climate, his comments are insensitive at best and wildly inappropriate at worst. To suggest that ‘girls are responsible for ruining everything since the beginning of time and will continue to do so’ is completely unacceptable and he needs to apologize.
Of course we couldn’t have everyone agree that Hensley’s comments were WRONG ’cause what would be the fun in that? One Soddy-Daisy school board representative, Rhonda Thurman, doesn’t see why everyone’s shorts are in a knot.
There’s a lot going on right now to be worried about this in Soddy-Daisy. I’m having a real hard time getting upset about this. I’m not worried about that right now. He meant absolutely no harm by this. This is so ridiculous. Can nobody take a joke anymore? He was just talking to the kids in their language and trying to be funny.”
Yeah, okay, lady. I can take a joke. This wasn’t funny.
Paige Dunny, a current student at Soddy-Daisy High School, wrote an email to defend Hensley.
I personally know Mr. Hensley and would like to say that he is one of the most supportive and nicest people/men I know. To put it into specifics, I had his gym class before he was vice principal and not once was he sexist or treated us any less because we were girls. There are many who stand behind him. I’d hate to see such a wonderful man lose something he cares so much about over a comment that he didn’t mean. While distasteful, it doesn’t give a glimpse into the man he actually is.
I hope you’re right, Paige. I hope he is a better man than he appears in the video and that he didn’t really mean what he said. The thing is, words have power. He never should have said it, whether he meant it or not.