There are so many good things that have come from the internet. Worldwide connectivity, information at our fingertips and an endless supply of cat memes, to name a few.
But the internet’s opened us up to some less than great things, too. Take online criticism, for example.
An elementary school teacher in Atlanta, Patrice Brown (she goes by Paris Monroe on Instagram) faced the ugliness of the internet recently after being outfit-shamed. Her photos launched an online debate on what is appropriate to wear to work. This isn’t the first or last time (a news anchor was recently criticized for wearing skinny jeans) a woman will be shamed online for her attire. It makes you question why the internet can’t let people be happy and do their jobs.
What people aren’t acknowledging is the fact that Brown is a good educator. The photo that went viral was of her in a classroom expressing her happiness for being awarded Educator of the Month.
Most of the photos online were of Brown in knee-length dresses, high-necked shirts, heels, jeans and T-shirts.
Brown’s outfit-shaming led to conversation about body types. Was Brown getting criticized not for her attire but rather her body?
Now if #teacherbae had a body like Taylor Swift no one would be complaining about her outfits.
— 🦋 (@iam_mimi_c) September 12, 2016
Her defenders on Twitter pointed out that curvy women are overly sexualized not matter what they wear.
Those against her attire even went far enough to post “appropriate” clothing for an elementary teacher, not noticing those were similar to the outfits she was already wearing but looks different on everyone’s body. A cardigan on Taylor Swift will look different than it does on Brown, in other words.
One Twitter user posted a tweet to show the other side to Brown that wasn’t going viral—her work as a teacher.
The side of #teacherbae the media won't show you pic.twitter.com/XSdDUD2Ug1
— Caribbean Hearthrob🇯🇲 (@ItsLeoJ) September 12, 2016
Brown told Daily Dot, “I wish people would focus on the positive and what matters, which is educating the children of the future generation and providing and caring for them.”
Women are constantly criticized for what they do/don’t look like. It’s time we let people live their lives. Instead of praising a teacher for her hard work, the internet tore her down based on her appearance.
And now comes the news that the Atlantic Public Schools district got involved in the matter after receiving a number of complaints and has “given guidance regarding the APS Employee Dress Code, the use of social media, and Georgia Code of Ethics for educators, and [Brown] has been cooperative in addressing her presence on social media.”
The good news? Brown’s account is still live and active on Instagram, which goes to show us that she’s not letting naysayers shut her down. She recently posted a quote of “This too shall pass,” no doubt in reference to all the attention she’s received:
If there’s one thing we know about the good, bad and ugly sides of the internet, it’s that this quote is all too true.