Let’s talk about sexism

Senior organizes educational seminars

Anjali Jha

By Anjali Jha, Walt Whitman High School

“Ladies, this is not a beach. Cover up your butt, cleavage, and bra straps. Boys, this applies to you too.”

Last spring, assistant principal Kathy McHale’s voice rang over the PA system, reminding students of Whitman’s dress code. Following the announcement, now-senior Rabhya Mehrotra went to principal Alan Goodwin to question the reasoning behind it. Administrators told students McHale made the announcement after hearing male students calling female students “sluts,” she said.

Goodwin allowed Mehrotra to plan seminars designed to cover how sexism, harassment and assault affect all genders. The seminars aimed to increase awareness of everyday actions that most people don’t realize are sexist.

Mehrotra wanted the seminars to spark discussions among students about how prevalent and normalized sexism is, even in the Bethesda community.

“It’s important to discuss how we treat girls, because even though Whitman is supposed to be a really liberal, really accepting, very forward moving school, I think our views on girls can still be backwards,” Mehrotra said. “They’re still objectified—I think they’re still viewed for their looks and not their brains.”

Read the full story, written by Camerynn Hawke, here