Erykah Badu missed the mark on some recent tweets. Here's what we can all learn.

Here's why Badu's comments blame the victim, not the assaulter.

Erykah Badu is known for being an amazing performer and outspoken artist.

Photo by Rachel Murray/Getty Images for All Def Digital.


However, the singer recently shared a series of concerning tweets about sexual assault in response to a story about school uniforms.

Badu’s discussion of male and female sexuality was sparked by an Auckland school instructing female students to lengthen their skirts so male teachers wouldn’t be distracted. Many were understandably outraged.

In a disappointing series of tweets, Badu told more than 17,000 Twitter followers why she supports lengthening school uniform skirts to make young girls less distracting to their male peers.





To which the internet was like:

GIF from "How to Get Away with Murder."

Badu's words reinforce a dangerous line of thinking, particularly for black women.

A 1998 study found that 7% of girls surveyed in grades 5-8 and 12% of girls in grades 9-12 said they had been sexually abused. Another study from Black Women's Blueprint found that 60% of black girls reported having experienced sexual assault before reaching the age of 18. According to the Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs (WCSAP) for every black woman who reports her rape, at least 15 remain silent.

Those numbers are disturbing, and those facts only become worse when women are told they are responsible for preventing their own assaults, rapes, and even murders.


"[U] have yet to explain how longer skirts would protect and not subject young women to the sexism of society," one person tweeted at her. To which Badu did acknowledge that men should be held accountable for managing their own reactions and behavior.



However, even with Badu’s acknowledgement of men's responsibility here, her tacit approval of a plan that asks girls to take equal responsibility for preventing themselves from being preyed on by men — adult men — is still problematic.

Her words reinforce the idea that girls are responsible for whether or not a man preys on them.

Protesters demand change on perceptions of rape and sexual assault. Image via iStock.

Like so many other women — and especially black women — I grew up with warnings to "be careful around men" and "not to wear certain things" as early on as childhood. These men that we were supposed to be wary of could be any men — from a man we encountered in the waiting room at the doctor's office or on the street waiting for a bus to even men in our own families.

The idea that revealing clothing makes a person more likely to be sexually assaulted is a myth that has been repeatedly debunked. While these points of caution are certainly well-intentioned, cautionary tales from parents trying to protect their children, telling girls to cover up so men aren’t tempted only serves to assert power to the claim that adult men are uncontrollable humans.

We validate the idea that a male desire for young girls is just a fact of nature, and by doing so, we don't just put girls in danger — we reduce boys and men to thoughtless, unrestrained beings with no free will.

When Badu tweets that it is “in his nature” for a heterosexual man to be attracted to a young woman in a short skirt, she gives power to dangerous men.

She justifies the actions of people like accused killer James Dixon, who admitted to brutally and fatally beating Islan Nettles earlier this year because of what she was wearing and the fact that she was transgender.

She implies that María José Coni and Marina Menegazzo, two young women traveling in South America who were murdered by two men who gave them a place to stay, asked for their deaths.

It implies that Anita Hill, who was sexually harassed by her boss, then-SCOTUS nominee Clarence Thomas, must have been at fault somehow, not the other way around — and that her account of what happened was invalid.

Actress Kerry Washington and professor of law at Brandeis University Anita Hill. Photo by Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images.

It suggests that the 11-year-old Texas child who was gang raped by 18 men is to blame because she was wearing makeup, not because those young men targeted her.

It implies that these women and girls would be better off taking precautions to ensure they do not become victims — as if their attackers wouldn't find other victims instead — rather than teaching men and boys they are responsible for their own behavior.

This line of thinking tells women around the world who have been assaulted in bars and clubs, churches and businesses, schools and homes, places of danger and places of comfort, that their rapes may be justified if the conditions are right to tempt a man. We invalidate and mock their experiences when we assert that their lives and their ability to say "no" really don't matter when a man’s “natural instincts” are involved.

In the past, Badu has used her artistic platform to call out misogyny in the hip-hop industry, which makes these tweets all the more confounding.

She has also spoken out many times about the unfair criminal justice system. To use her same voice and platform to blame young girls — school-age girls — for being distracting to their male classmates and adult male teachers who supposedly are incapable of retraining themselves against such temptation is dangerous.

Seeing these tweets from her — tweets that reinforce a misogynistic culture — is extremely disappointing and completely uncharacteristic of the typically badass, woke, and talented artist.

So, no, Ms. Badu. Let’s stop telling girls to dress differently. Instead, the next time a school decides to ask all female students to dress a certain way so as not to distract their adult male teachers (who, surely, are capable of exerting self-control) or male classmates, let’s remember why treating female bodies like they’re to blame for the actions of men is a slippery slope no one wants to fall down. Doing that is much more effective in the long run.

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Should a man lose his home because the grass in his yard grew higher than 10 inches? The city of Dunedin, Florida seems to think so.

According to the Institute of Justice, which is representing Jim Ficken, he had a very good reason for not mowing his lawn – and tried to rectify the situation as best he could.

In 2014, Jim's mom became ill and he visited her often in South Carolina to help her out. When he was away, his grass grew too long and he was cited by a code office; he cut the grass and wasn't fined.

France has started forcing supermarkets to donate food instead of throwing it away.

But several years later, this one infraction would come back to haunt him after he left to take care of him's mom's affairs after she died. The arrangements he made to have his grass cut fell through (his friend who he asked to help him out passed away unexpectedly) and that set off a chain reaction that may result in him losing his home.

The 69-year-old retiree now faces a $29,833.50 fine plus interest. Watch the video to find out just what Jim is having to deal with.

Mow Your Lawn or Lose Your House! www.youtube.com

Cities

The world officially loves Michelle Obama.

The former first lady has overtaken the number one spot in a poll of the world's most admired women. Conducted by online research firm YouGov, the study uses international polling tools to survey people in countries around the world about who they most admire.

In the men's category, Bill Gates took the top spot, followed by Barack Obama and Jackie Chan.

In the women's category, Michelle Obama came first, followed by Oprah Winfrey and Angelina Jolie. Obama pushed Jolie out of the number one spot she claimed last year.

Unsurprising, really, because what's not to love about Michelle Obama? She is smart, kind, funny, accomplished, a great dancer, a devoted wife and mother, and an all-around, genuinely good person.

She has remained dignified and strong in the face of rabid masses of so-called Americans who spent eight years and beyond insisting that she's a man disguised as a woman. She's endured non-stop racist memes and terrifying threats to her family. She has received far more than her fair share of cruelty, and always takes the high road. She's the one who coined, "When they go low, we go high," after all.

She came from humble beginnings and remains down to earth despite becoming a familiar face around the world. She's not much older than me, but I still want to be like Michelle Obama when I grow up.

Her memoir, Becoming, may end up being the best-selling memoir of all time, having already sold 10 million copies—a clear sign that people can't get enough Michelle, because there's no such thing as too much Michelle.

Don't like Michelle Obama? Don't care. Those of us who love her will fly our MO flags high and without apology, paying no mind to folks with cold, dead hearts who don't know a gem of a human being when they see one. There is nothing any hater can say or do to make us admire this undeniably admirable woman any less.

When it seems like the world has lost its mind—which is how it feels most days these days—I'm just going to keep coming back to this study as evidence that hope for humanity is not lost.

Here. Enjoy some real-life Michelle on Jimmy Kimmel. (GAH. WHY IS SHE SO CUTE AND AWESOME. I can't even handle it.)

Michelle & Barack Obama are Boring Now www.youtube.com

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via EarthFix / Flickr

What will future generations never believe that we tolerated in 2019?

Dolphin and orca captivity, for sure. They'll probably shake their heads at how people died because they couldn't afford healthcare. And, they'll be completely mystified at the amount of food some people waste while others go starving.

According to Biological Diversity, "An estimated 40 percent of the food produced in the United States is wasted every year, costing households, businesses and farms about $218 billion annually."

There are so many things wrong with this.

First of all it's a waste of money for the households who throw out good food. Second, it's a waste of all of the resources that went into growing the food, including the animals who gave their lives for the meal. Third, there's something very wrong with throwing out food when one in eight Americans struggle with hunger.

Supermarkets are just as guilty of this unnecessary waste as consumers. About 10% of all food waste are supermarket products thrown out before they've reached their expiration date.

Three years ago, France took big steps to combat food waste by making a law that bans grocery stores from throwing away edible food.According to the new ordinance, stores can be fined for up to $4,500 for each infraction.

Previously, the French threw out 7.1 million tons of food. Sixty-seven percent of which was tossed by consumers, 15% by restaurants, and 11% by grocery stores.

This has created a network of over 5,000 charities that accept the food from supermarkets and donate them to charity. The law also struck down agreements between supermarkets and manufacturers that prohibited the stores from donating food to charities.

"There was one food manufacturer that was not authorized to donate the sandwiches it made for a particular supermarket brand. But now, we get 30,000 sandwiches a month from them — sandwiches that used to be thrown away," Jacques Bailet, head of the French network of food banks known as Banques Alimentaires, told NPR.

It's expected that similar laws may spread through Europe, but people are a lot less confident at it happening in the United States. The USDA believes that the biggest barrier to such a program would be cost to the charities and or supermarkets.

"The logistics of getting safe, wholesome, edible food from anywhere to people that can use it is really difficult," the organization said according to Gizmodo. "If you're having to set up a really expensive system to recover marginal amounts of food, that's not good for anybody."

Plus, the idea may seem a little too "socialist" for the average American's appetite.

"The French version is quite socialist, but I would say in a great way because you're providing a way where they [supermarkets] have to do the beneficial things not only for the environment, but from an ethical standpoint of getting healthy food to those who need it and minimizing some of the harmful greenhouse gas emissions that come when food ends up in a landfill," Jonathan Bloom, the author of American Wasteland, told NPR.

However, just because something may be socialist doesn't mean it's wrong. The greater wrong is the insane waste of money, damage to the environment, and devastation caused by hunger that can easily be avoided.

Planet

The world is dark and full of terrors, but every once in a while it graces us with something to warm our icy-cold hearts. And that is what we have today, with a single dad who went viral on Twitter after his daughter posted the photos he sent her when trying to pick out and outfit for his date. You love to see it.




After seeing these heartwarming pics, people on Twitter started suggesting this adorable man date their moms. It was essentially a mom and date matchmaking frenzy.

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