It’s 2019, but there’s still an immense amount of scrutiny, sexism, and double standards when it comes to the female form. Women’s bodies are often deemed threatening or “inappropriate”—while simultaneously being hyper-sexualized (often by the very people who feel “threatened” by them). This can have a devastating effect on women’s personal and professional lives. Recently, a middle school teacher in Long Island was fired when students obtained a leaked topless photo of her—but she’s fighting back.
BuzzFeed News reports that in January, Lauren Miranda, a math teacher at Bellport Middle School, was called into a meeting with the school’s principal. When she got to the office, she reportedly found a group of mostly male administrators looking at a topless photo of her, which she had sent to a teacher she was dating in 2016 who worked in the same school district. Miranda was accused of sending the picture to students and was pressured to resign. However, she refused, saying that she wasn’t responsible for the leak. She was soon suspended, and later fired.
According to The New York Times, the district superintendent wrote a letter stating that he decided to terminate Miranda partly because she “caused, allowed, or otherwise made it possible” for students to get the topless photo. He also reportedly claimed that she had “failed to take adequate precautionary measures” to prevent the photos from leaking (even though she says she only sent the picture to one person, and that person violated her trust).
As a result of her firing, Miranda is suing the district for gender discrimination. She and her lawyer told the Times that a male teacher would not have faced similar punishment for taking a topless selfie. The Times notes that she is seeking $3 million and asking to return to her job. Miranda told BuzzFeed that she didn’t regret taking the picture, and argued that her chest should not be seen as shameful or sexual.
We hope that Miranda wins her case. And at the very least, we hope this situation inspires a larger conversation about the extreme double standards faced by women when it comes to their bodies.