First Amendment Stops Schools From Slut Shaming, At Least For Online Photos Taken Outside of School

 Citing right to free speech, a federal judge in Indiana sided with the ACLU's  ruling that school administrators cannot punish students for posting racy photos online. While the ruling will discourage schools' slut shaming on photo-basis alone, it will not stop the problem of blaming girls - especially young ones - for problems forced onto them by society.  

The pictures in question were posted on Facebook, completely outside of school property, but because they involved two fifteen and sixteen-year-old (and probably pretty) teens girls, the school suspended them from activities from the rest of the year, cheerleading and volleyball included. The problem, however, is not the girls' behavior, but society's tendency to blame women for behaviors society and the media demands from them. 

Here is how the court described the picture:

A fully-clothed M.K. [one of the teens] is sucking on one lollipop while another lollipop is positioned between her legs and a fully-clothed T.V. is pretending to suck on it. During another sleepover, [the other teen] T.V. took a picture of M.K. and another girl pretending to kiss each other... In another, T.V. is shown bent over with M.K. poking the trident between her buttocks. A third picture shows T.V. positioned behind another kneeling girl as if engaging in anal sex. In another picture, M.K. poses with money stuck into her lingerie — stripper-style.

While this behavior is evidence of a larger problem for women - their early sexualization and objectification - punishing young girls for the flaws of society is not the answer.  A conversation on how girls can be sexual without conforming their identities to a sexuality meant to please boys would be a more effective response to what is actually a sad portrait of teenage girls' self esteem.  

But, at least for now, the first amendment will spare some girls from scrutiny for failing to live-up to society's impossible demands - overt sexualization and simultaneous purity. 


AlterNet / By Kristen Gwynne

Posted at August 17, 2011, 11:16am

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