The ongoing cultural conversation surrounding uniforms and dress codes shows no signs of dissipating anytime soon, with most incidents of clothing items being considered "inappropriate" over the past year concerning students. But now, a teacher's wardrobe has become the subject of debate on social media, and everyone seems to have a hot take. Paris Monroe, a fourth-grade teacher in Atlanta, is being scrutinized on Twitter for her wardrobe choices, The Daily Dot reports. She frequently posts her work outfits on Instagram (as plenty of people do), to an audience of over 60,000 followers. However, whereas most of these #OOTDs might not get much circulation, some of Monroe's looks are being called out for being "inappropriate" or "too form-fitting." Most of this discussion is happening under the hashtag #teacherbae.
The garments Monroe is pictured wearing in the classroom, though, are objectively modest and definitely within bounds of standard school dress codes. One look features a high-necked midi with a long cardigan; there's also a pencil-fit dress with capped sleeves, and another outfit that consists of jeans and a long-sleeved T-shirt. Many coming to Monroe's defense are quick to point this out, as well as highlight some of the racist undertones of criticizing how Monroe looks in this type of workwear. The issue here isn't so much her clothing, but rather how Black women are more likely to be sexualized based on their fashion choices than their white counterparts are.
Monroe told The Daily Dot that she wished the public "would respect me and focus on the positive and what truly matters — which is educating the children of the future generations and providing and caring for them." Some folks are coming to her defense by sharing other pictures from Monroe's Instagram, which feature her buying supplies for and tutoring her students. To add insult to injury, the supposedly salacious pictures of Monroe are being circulated without the captions, which highlight some of Monroe's professional achievements, such as being named Educator of the Month at her school.
The online debate highlights the inherent, and often confusing, nuances of how we talk about dress codes. If Monroe is well within the parameters of what's considered "appropriate" in most settings, why has she attracted such ridiculous criticism for her appearance? Most importantly, these style choices certainly don't interfere with how she does her job — so why are they even up for debate?