Thursday, February 16, 2012

BYU Student Brittany Molina "Counselled" For Provocative Dress In Valentine's Day "Love Note"

Brittany Molina, with the "love note"
This story has become truly viral, having been picked up internationally by the Daily Mail. A coed at Brigham Young University in Provo received what she thought was a love note, but turned out to be a critique for excessively provocative attire.

On February 14th, Brittany Molina, a 21-year-old accounting student, was handed a note by an unidentified male student. Since it was Valentine's Day, she thought it was going to be a love note. Imagine her surprise and her initial anger when she read this:

"You may want to consider that what you're wearing has a negative effect on the men (and women) around you. Many people come to this university because they feel safe, morally as well as physically, here. They expect others to abide by the Honor Code that we all agreed on. Please consider your commitment to the Honor Code (which you agreed to) when dressing each day. Thank you."

Since it came from a peer rather than someone in authority, she was initially riled up, even though the Honor Code encourages students to bring violations to their peers' attention, so she posted the note with a photo of herself and the clothes she was wearing online. Within 24 hours, it went viral. Her Twitter site is publicly available, but you must be a Facebook member to view her Facebook page. KSL news video embedded below:

There has been no official reaction from the BYU Honor Code enforcement office. BYU's honor code states that women's dress is "inappropriate when it is sleeveless, strapless, backless, or revealing; has slits above the knee; or is form fitting. Dresses, skirts, and shorts must be knee-length or longer." The latter phrase is the bone of contention; as is evident in the photo posted above, Brittany's dress is above the knee, but she's wearing non-form fitting leggings beneath it. Because of the leggings, it would not have occurred to me that it might be an Honor Code violation, but a number of people believe the leggings don't matter; the length of the skirt alone still constitutes an Honor Code violation. The dress code was obviously written to discourage female students from wearing miniskirts, but leaves a grey area when shorter dresses are worn in concert with leggings. The male student apparently took Elaine Dalton's "Guardians Of Virtue" talk a bit too seriously.

This story has generated an explosion of feedback. An online poll posted by The Blaze indicates that 94 percent of respondents support Brittany. To date, 265 comments have been posted to the KSL Channel 5 story. The Salt Lake Tribune story attracted 499 comments. Comments tend to fall into three categories; those who support Brittany Molina, those who think she violated the Honor Code, and a few who take the libertarian line that since BYU is a private school, it can do what it wants. A sampling of all three types is provided below:

auz678jla at 8:59 PM February 16, 2012 (KSTU Channel 13):
First: The outfit is obviously against BYU honor code. The dress is a good 5 inches above the knee. Adding tights does not fix that. Its not an issue of covering up all skin. The issue is, the dress is too short, and when your sitting down, as the story states the student was, a dress can go up another two inches or so.

Second: The student who wrote her the note, felt uncomfortable. He stated it, then walked away, not wanting to cause any more drama. It could have been ignored, but he said something. People are saying because he was looking at her he's a pervert, porn addict, etc. All he did was give her his opinion on how he felt about her dress

Third: This should not even matter. The girl did not need to post this online. Just because she was called out on her outfit, she does not need to justify herself by having everyone say how horrible the young man was for giving her the note. If she did not believe what he had to say, she could have ignored it. It's a good thing he walked away, otherwise there would be name to the person people are bashing

Fourth: Everyone makes mistakes. The boy could have wrote the note in a nicer way, or simply ignored it. The girl could have ignored the note, instead of posting it online and making a small issue larger than it needs to be, or simply looked a little harder at her outfit before she put it on.

Michael_Leavitt at 8:46 AM February 16, 2012 (KSTU Channel 13):
I just watched your report and the BYU Honor Code states that dresses should be to the knee or longer and hers clearly is not. The addition of leggings does not lengthen the dress. This is a slam dunk clear violation and it surprises me why the Fox 13 commentary mentioned that it is up to interpretation. As a home inspector I find life is so much easier with black and white assessments verses treating everything as though it is gray. Why muddy the water when this is a clear violation as her dress is not knee length?

TonyRigley at 7:14 AM February 16, 2012 (KSTU Channel 13):
...BYU has the right to set whatever dress code they wish. If they so choose, dresses can be considered too short if they show more than two inches of leg, even if it's nylons, leggings or whatever it may be. If you choose to associate with BYU then you choose to live by their dress code. Personally, I don't see any problem with her attire (father of five girls). You need to consider what young girls sometimes try to wear...

DanielLee at 9:22 PM February 15, 2012 (KSTU Channel 13):
This is an example of going too far. This young woman couldn't be more covered up. Unless, she were waring a vale. People need to remember that we are responsible for our own thoughts and actions. If this is a cause for others to be uncomfortable. Then I would suggest they need to look with in themselves more closely. Instead of projecting their insecurities on others. Seriously, this is first step to fanaticism.

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