Blogger's Circle: The Plastics V. Morehouse
Opinions on VIBE's "The Mean Girls of Morehouse" are still running rampant on the Web two days since the story posted. Long story short: The Plastics are expected to follow a strict dresscode but a group of gender-bending students decided to make their own rules. In return, they faced backlash from the school in the form of tighter dress code enforcement and in some cases, being banned from campus all together. We tracked down a few openly gay bloggers to get their take on "The Plastics" Vs. Morehouse's dress code.
B. SCOTT (LoveBScott.com): Self-expression is truly beautiful. I would like to commend these young adults for being who they are and making no apologies for it. I was honored when Morehouse College asked me to speak at their first Pride Week in March. It is encouraging that they have decided to acknowledge the LGBT community in a positive way on their campus, which is the first step in creating an environment of acceptance and equality. Hopefully they will continue on that path in years to come and create polices that protect their students. ability to express themselves.
KID FURY (SoFurious.com): This whole "appropriate attire" policy seemed somewhat reasonable up until the banning of women's clothes. Wearing a Dereon blouse and Apple Bottoms jeans is completely different from wearing your pants off your ass and sandals with socks. Ultimately, we all need to be looking past the clothing and on to the bigger picture here. These are young Black students seeking an education! In times like these, with racism, sexism, homophobia, and that damn recession hovering over our heads, we should be applauding anyone who is a college student pursuing a degree. There are probably students at Morehouse who would love to beat their faces with the latest MAC cosmetics and strut the halls in a BCBG dress, because that's who they are. Are you teaching these men to hide their reality in order to be the ideal Morehouse man? Child, let these kids pump it in their Louboutins if they want to. As long as they graduate with a bright future who give's a frog's fat ass what they wear?
MICHAEL ARCENEAUX (The Cynical Ones): While I found the piece to be well written, it actually made me alter my initial reaction and now support Morehouse’s dress code. I was left confused by “the plastics” because I didn’t find them to have any real cause. Though they claim to be androgynous, most of them say they expect to fully transition into women. So, in essence they are not challenging gender norms, they’re conforming to another. If you want to be a woman then you have to ask yourself is there any real place for you at an all male school. I mean, honestly, if you feel that you’re more so woman than man shouldn’t your efforts go towards enrolling at Spelman?
Moreover, Morehouse is private institution and has a right to rule as they please. And for the record, the school might be more progressive than this group of men let on. This issue may be rooted in some nominal levels of homophobia, but this reads as more about idealistic attitudes over individuality and the realities of needing to conform in certain settings you willfully choose to enter. While I never discount anyone’s story, I am a little hurt that we continue to discuss homosexuality in such extreme forms – or what people perceive is an extreme form of homosexuality. Gender issues are not always gay issues. That’s something more need to understand. In the future, I hope we can discuss homophobia in terms of the plethora of men who deal with hatred and prejudice daily regardless of what garment of clothing they choose to wear.
GLENNISHA MORGAN (TheFembassy.com): Educational institutions have the right to set whatever rules they see fit but when those rules obviously discriminate against a particular population of a school there is a problem. I believe the new dress code was made to target the gender-bending queer men at Morehouse. Their standards are not realistic and they prohibit certain students from being comfortable, and who they are. One’s attire does not subtract from their gender and it also does not define a person.
In the letter that the president of Morehouse wrote he stated on several occasions that Morehouse reflects the complexity and diversity of the world. That’s a huge contradiction being that the new dress code particularly affects the gay and or queer community and androgynous students. In the real world not all men wear pants, shirts, oxfords, and low cut fades. Even Prince and Lenny Kravitz who are known as heterosexual males rock heels and other androgynous attire. So to create a dress code that is straight and narrow is not reflecting a diverse and complex world.
While institutions should be more open-minded, tolerant, and accepting there’s no reason why members of the LGBT community should continue to support and adhere to institutions that don’t support them. It’s almost like agreeing to the discrimination. Students like “The Plastics” may never find a place at Morehouse. I’d suggest finding a more gay and transgender friendly institution.
Do you agree with our bloggers? Speak your piece in the comments section.