By Ann Villamarin '20
Pushy, selfish, manipulative men harass women for sex. All women - older women, younger women, even teens have experienced harassment. Our reactions vary. We might wince, or blush, or scan a room for the emergency exit, or freeze in these situations, but we know at some point in our lives it will happen. We seem to accept that statistic.
Almost 70 years after its release, many have recognized this too familiar scenario in the classic holiday song, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” Radio stations throughout the U.S banned the song because of its controversial lyrics. This seemingly flirtatious snow-day tune disguises the prologue of a date rape disaster. The woman character in this song continuously states reasons she should not stay any longer at this man’s house. She explains that her “mother will start to worry” and she’s certain that her “father will be pacing the floor.” After stating many reasons to go home, and more than a few coercing phrases sung by the male, the woman finally says “I simply must go/ the answer is no.” Supporters of the #Metoo movement have interpreted this Christmas classic as male disrespect of women’s decisions to not stay the night. No means no.
It is true that with a different feminist lens, the woman in this song may want to stay the night, but because of the societal expectations of women in the 1940s, she knows she shouldn’t. She sings, “There’s bound to be talk tomorrow/ At least there’ll be plenty implied.” Her worry about the rumors spread about her if she stays the night impede her desirous actions. The man, who doesn’t need to contend with the social stigma, focuses only on his desire. After all, men consider sex as “getting lucky.”
A Cleveland radio station, WDOK, was the first station to ban “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” “I do realize that when the song was written in 1944, it was a different time, but now while reading it, it seems very manipulative and wrong,” host Glenn Anderson wrote on the station's website. San Francisco's, 96.5 KOIT, agreed with Anderson’s statement and also banned the song (later reconsidering their decision).
“Baby It’s Cold Outside” simply mirrors an all too common situation women find themselves in today and in the 1940s. Banning the tune will not change the world. Listening to it critically might.
By Stephanie Patella '20
Whether fixing a school skirt to reach the appropriate length or dealing with harsh foot sores that form from school shoes, everyone is in need of a break from the required dress codes. By instituting Casual Fridays weekly, Fontbonne Hall Academy students and faculty would benefit from a more relaxed environment and a higher morale boost. This approach would relieve stress, increase productivity and give students something to look forward to as we approach the long-awaited Fridays.
The Fontbonne Hall Academy student and faculty handbook states the appropriate dress code that everyone is required to follow. The school should consider implementing Casual Fridays as a way to incentivize students to follow the dress code for the rest of the week. For example, if there are no dress code violations from Monday through Thursday, the students will be rewarded with a Casual Friday. In this way, the school is conferring a benefit to the students in exchange for accountability.
Casual Fridays can allow students and faculty to wear items of clothing that express their own interest and can also spark up a conversation with someone who has a similar interest (such as a specific band or movie). Fontbonne senior, Jessica Sinscalchi, reiterated this when she says, “the clothes we wear are a way of expression, so having a day for students and faculty to express themselves allows everyone to better know each other.”
These Casual Fridays could also include different themes. For example, one Friday students and faculty could wear clothing representing their favorite sports team, band or even express a viewpoint. Mr. Murawski furthers this idea when stating,”We may have a Casual Friday where we all wear pink. We can propose the idea of students and teachers bringing in a small amount or donate an amount of at least five dollars and all the money collected becomes donated to breast cancer awareness or the funding for a cure.” This will allow each of us to express our support through our clothing.
Yes, I know what you are thinking, “Wouldn’t someone take advantage of Casual Fridays and wear an article of inappropriate clothing?” The answer to that question would be yes. However, as we are all products of a Catholic education, the school should take comfort in knowing that we will present ourselves in a clean and polished manner. To be safe, the guidelines of Casual Fridays can mandate that students and faculty are free to wear a shirt or sweatshirt with a quote or image as long as it is clean and not offensive in any way.
For example, a student or teacher may be able to wear a shirt with a picture of their favorite band or television show, but may not wear a shirt that is revealing or portrays explicit content. Everyone should be allowed to express their interests or fashion sense through their clothings as long as they do not take advantage of this privilege. Fontbonne junior, Alyssa Deangelis, emphasized that “Casual Fridays can be a way for students to express themselves by dressing in their own clothing.”
According to Mike Slepian, a professor at Columbia Business School, "Casual clothing makes workers think less abstractly and more concretely — useful for completing tasks focusing on details...” How does this translate in our school setting? By wearing casual clothes, students and faculty will be able to more effectively focus on the particular task at hand.
Thus, Casual Fridays would be extremely beneficial to the faculty and students of Fontbonne Hall Academy in providing not only a comfortable and relaxing environment, but greater efficiency.