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Why Should We Hide?’ After #TeacherBae Goes Viral, More Images of Curvy Black Professionals Surface

Avatar • Sep 19, 2016

By now many people know about #TeacherBae aka Patrice Brown, an elementary school staffer in Atlanta who was penalized for posting professional images to her Instagram account that many deemed inappropriate. Brown has an hourglass figure, and the photos often showed her in curve-hugging outfits.

Patrice Brown/Instagram

Patrice Brown/Instagram

Patrice Brown/Instagram

Patrice Brown/Instagram

The debate about whether Brown’s clothing was appropriate waged online for weeks before Atlanta Public Schools stepped in, reprimanding her. It was a disappointing outcome for many black women who were rooting for Brown, and some saw it as an example of the double standard between black women and everyone else.

https://twitter.com/stackztootrill/status/775420004174934016

https://twitter.com/emmakretch/status/775472515821043712

Over the weekend, Facebook user Sherrell Hood, herself a curvy black woman, shared images of curvy black women professionals and asked ; ‘Why should black women have to hide?’

#NurseBae #OfficerBae #ITBae #TeacherBae
When will people realize that we were created this way.…Tf do we have to hide it for???!!!!! ?? And may I add that they all are qualified to do their jobs and they aren’t showing anything…but curves. ? Smh ? #Beauty #Curves #Melanin

The arguments men and women have made in support of #TeacherBae parallel arguments often made in defense of natural hair in the workplace, i.e. the way black women’s features are interpreted often reveal deep issues with society, and not with the woman herself.

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The coily, kinky and curly hair that grows out of our heads is often interpreted as unprofessional or untamed. But it isn’t. It is our naturally occurring beauty. Likewise, the curves of black women shaped like Brown are interpreted as unprofessional, attention-seeking or ‘thotty’ in the workplace. But why should they be, if it is how these women naturally occur?

It seems we are comfortable seeing black women shaped like Brown in music videos or flexing on Instagram. Why can’t we also envision them as professionals, community leaders and mothers?

Let’s keep in mind too that our First Lady, Michelle Obama, is not very far off from Brown in terms of her figure.

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And she has been been criticized by media that has, at times, derided her as ‘inappropriate’ or ‘fat’.

It boils down to this; if a black woman has hips, ass or breast for days, and people interpret that as inappropriate, is that her problem or is it theirs?

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Shero
Guest
Shero

Shes around KIDS thats why its a valid issue. Im also a curvy black woman and i know that there are times to show it and times to cover it.

VH
Guest
VH

Idk but aren’t kids supposed to be taught how one should dress in formal situations such as in school? I’m a shy person and I know others aren’t like that, but as a curvy person I still try to cover everything when I want to look professional in my job…

rkb555
Guest
rkb555

Are u one of the few on here with any commonsense. Thank you !

Bea
Guest
Bea

How do you cover it up? I honestly want to know.

rkb555
Guest
rkb555

By wearing something that less form fitting and skintight.

Guest
Guest
Guest

I agree. But that meme by Meshell N. explains is all. We are dealing with colonized minds.

Michele A. Yates
Guest
Michele A. Yates

I’m not saying ANYBODY (including the teacher) should hide; it’s just that her dress doesn’t seem appropriate for SCHOOL! Now, I could easily see her wearing this to dinner, or going dancing, etc., but, SCHOOL???? when you got to run after kids and pick things up off the floor and sit in those tiny chairs at story time (Not all teachers sit at their desks during the school day). Getting chalk, glue, paint, etc. on her clothes (she looks like she’s in an elementary school). IJS!

sceezone
Guest
sceezone

Do you realize unless she’s wearing a mumu, her curves will show?? She wore jeans and a tshirt and her curves did not change. Leave her alone!!

rkb555
Guest
rkb555

U gotta do better than that, There are plenty of clothing that can give her a more conservative look.

uhoh-ohno
Guest
uhoh-ohno

These people so desperately want it to be an either or situation. Wear MuMu or wear dress so tight you can see shape-wear to work, as if there’s no happy medium. Funny how Michelle Obama manages to look professional while doing FLOTUS duties without resorting to “teacher-bae” antics. I have yet to see her in a mumu.

Justice S
Guest
Justice S

I am sick of men and society just seeing my skin and my curves.They look straight at my ass no matter what pants or dress women of color wear.It ain’t the clothes it’s society and the men.

Tonya
Guest
Tonya

THANK YOU!!!! This is about men objectifying her body and their women getting mad about it.

CozyVon
Guest
CozyVon

ALL of this. And the sad thing is that a lot of the criticism came from other women of color. Basically just another form of body shaming, and I’m so over it!

theresa.
Guest
theresa.

I agree. There’s really not much that she can wear, that fits properly, that wouldn’t show off her curves in some way. People just have a problem with her body shape.

Ashley
Guest
Ashley

It’s not about being curvy.… that teacher dressed very unprofessional. Her clothes were way too tight, her tits hanging out, and not to mention her videos where she’s bending over and getting it on with the camera lens. Bigger and curvy women can dress well and not be discriminated against. I know, because I am a plus sized curvy chick. Then again, nobody is expected to have any personal responsibility and it’s easy wry one else’s fault. She chose to have a trashy image and it’s not about hidi ng, it’s about not looking like you sell yourself at night.

tara
Guest
tara

what in god’s name are you talking about?? Her dress covers her up to her neck! she does not have a trashy image, but you certainly have a trashy mind and mouth to post such a callous comment! Go forth and educate yourself Ashley, there’s a bigger world out there beside the imaginary one between your ears.

Mona
Guest
Mona

Actually additional photos show her cleavage.

Jakkrobbit
Guest

Where do you see her breasts hanging out? The only skin she has showing in these pictures is on her arms, legs, and face. You may be curvy too, but you’re demonstrating part of the problem right now. You saw a curvy woman in form-fitting clothes and compared her to a prostitute.

rkb555
Guest
rkb555

You hit the nail on the head. When folks dress provocatively, you will get commits like sarah’s which is why dress attire in an educational or professional setting should keep it conservative. You give the wrong image, you may give the wrong vibe, you may not be taken seriously, and you certainly become a distraction by putting the spotlight on yourself.

sceezone
Guest
sceezone

You’re lying. Nothing was hanging out unless you seamed it…and that sounds like a personal issue.

Earths_Child
Guest
Earths_Child

Where in any of these pictures are her tits hanging out?

Kiara
Guest
Kiara

Who are you to speak about a issue that black women encounter. It doesn’t matter if you are a curvy woman, this isn’t a curvy woman issue, this is a CURVY BLACK WOMAN issue. Know the difference.

rkb555
Guest
rkb555

This is about a being presentable in a professional atmosphere issue and if these photos are any indication, that is not conducive to an environment for learning.

Kiara
Guest
Kiara

Her boobs are not even out at all?

rkb555
Guest
rkb555

Ashley, while i agree what I see is not professional, u come off as some judgmental jerk. The woman’s size is not the issue. She actually has a bangin’ body and the distraction she presents is the issue.

Crystal
Guest
Crystal

I love what you are saying but can the curvy white and Latina and so many others get some love? This is a serious topic and it’s unfair. I have been reprimanded for wearing the EXACT same outfit as a slender non curvy woman. The excuse…well your curves make the outfit unacceptable. WHAT?!?! No thank you. It’s time curvy women are accepted and treated equally. Also time for the world to accept the beauty in being authentic. Rock your natural hair and look gorgeous! We are all humans and we all deserve respect. Sending love and support from a curvy… Read more »

Mary
Guest
Mary

They already do! As a matter of fact white and Latinas are applauded for it while black women are demonized for it. Stop making it about you!

IBIT
Guest
IBIT

Shaming as a form of social — or in this case, ethnic — control. It takes many forms. This is only one. Don’t fall for any of them.

Oratilwe
Guest
Oratilwe

I’m all for the writer’s view and I support it whole heartedly, this is just food for thought So, oestrogen (or estrogen for my American sisters) and progesterone work in certain ways in the body. And one of those ways is by “helping the body decide” where to store it’s fats. So because of these hormones, fats in most women’s bodies are stored in the chest, arms or upper back area (boob areas) and the thighs, butt and hip areas. That being said, if you have more of these two hormones you’re more likely to be built this way (the… Read more »

Xiaqua Lee
Guest
Xiaqua Lee

if it’s not our hair, it’s our attitude, if it’s not our attitude it’s being in touch with our history and culture, if it’s not that it’s how our features make us look ugly. but look better on no African people. The European mentality. Bring down others to pick up themselves. We’ve learn’t and i think most do not care to please

Lisa
Guest
Lisa

Seriously? You think this is a white black issue? This is jealous women ticked at their husbands commenting on this woman’s body. Plan and simple.

Daisy
Guest
Daisy

They are criticizing her curves not her wardrobe because she has an amazing figure and everything is covered completely minus her face and calves!

Fatima Hassan
Guest
Fatima Hassan

Obviously theirs.

Lisa
Guest
Lisa

I heard about this and while I do not know the make up of the school I believe it has more to do with a bunch of jealous moms (black and white) ticked off their husbands all of a sudden want to help out at school more.

Sonya Melton
Guest
Sonya Melton

Yes! So glad to know I’m not alone. I totally agree with this position on body image.

JLTR *CLUTCHES PEARLS*
Guest
JLTR *CLUTCHES PEARLS*

Um, theirs?

People like to interpret all kinds of things about women, take action based on THEIR own interpretations, then blame women for THEIR transgressions(see: most instances of sexual assault/rape, the “what was she wearing/doing?” question, and the ‘scale of attractiveness’, etc.)

In this case, this woman is being punished simply for having a certain natural body type that OTHER people consider sexual. She’s an elementary school teacher. These are just casual pictures of her at work. If you find these pictures sexy that’s your problem, not hers.

dedesantos
Guest
dedesantos

THere was backlash to teacherbae because she used the classroom as a photoshoot. i don’t think it was about her curves but the school reprimanded her because the photos were taken on school property and plus she’s not even a teacher she’s an aide.

crocusbag
Guest
crocusbag

Backlash from her employers was for classroom pics,
but the backlash from the internet was about her attire.

Both of which were jealous moves

Nkem
Guest
Nkem

I haven’t been following this story, but I would like to inject an alternate perspective here. In my very first job out of college, I got “reprimanded” because my clothing was too tight (I worked at an investment bank). I have curves, but I am definitely slim and compact (think teyana taylor with a smaller bust). I’m sure the fact that the teaching aide was getting attention for her body online probably left a bad taste in the school’s mouth, too. So race may have played SOME role, but I’m not really surprised that she was reprimanded for the pink… Read more »

Janet
Guest
Janet

I totally agree. People are jumping to the conclusion that its about race. It was the parents (aka jealous moms) who had a problem with her body.

Sandy
Guest
Sandy

Absolute jealously of those who have a problem with us black women with curves. They only wish they could be shaped as us. Imitated and can NEVA be duplicated.

Lisa
Guest
Lisa

I think its funny everyone think its white people that have a problem with her. I guarantee blacks started this.

Sabrina black
Guest
Sabrina black

She looks good and sporty. People need to get their priorities together. That’s how black women are built. Leave her alone.

rkb555
Guest
rkb555

It’s not her build that’s the problem. It’s how she presents it. A school’s number 1 priority should be education and everything in a school should revolve around it. Wearing tight fitting formed clothing showing your curves like u are at a club is a distraction. It takes the focus away from learning and not just with kids but other teachers as well. I also believe you come off less than professional looking and are less likely to be taken seriously or respected. Image is everything. Why? Because we all, whether we want to believe it or not, are judgmental.

ChristRose
Guest
ChristRose

There are other options for her to wear. A‑line skirts, jeans with a light cardigan over, a regular width cotton shirt vs the form fitting one. It isn’t about hiding your body, but I am pro modesty. No, not everyone will agree, but I believe the body is a temple, according to The Word. Not everyone needs to see our curves! I too am very curvy and know how to dress modestly. No, it isn’t about jealousy, no it isn’t about body shaming. But I guarantee you that if your son came home lusting after his teacher, you’d feel uncomfortable.… Read more »

Lele215
Guest

I think the issue was teacherbae was dressed like she was going to da club and not chasing around 9 and 10 year olds.

Janet
Guest
Janet

She looks fine. I mean what do people want her to wear a moo moo! Its her body so no matter what she wears its going to show her shape.

Lele215
Guest

Um no. You can go up a size and have your clothes tailored down to skim your body instead of cling to your curves. You can wear blazers and cardigans over your fitted pieces. You can wear a‑line or pleated skirts. You can wear a shirtdress and accessorize with a great belt. You can also pay attention to fabrics…lyra and spandex are rarely appropriate for professional work environments. Point two: why would a teacher wear stilettos to chase around kids all day.

rkb555
Guest
rkb555

Every surroundings has its place as to what you wear. None of these would be appropriate attire for a teaching atmosphere. It’s far too much of a distraction. It’s hard enough to get children to focus on their work.

Thatguy
Guest
Thatguy

I guess when you’re not born with natural curves like these beautiful women well what better to do than to lash out and call them unprofessional.

uhoh-ohno
Guest
uhoh-ohno

If you look at pictures of La La during her TRL days, you’ll see that those curves are bought and paid for.

TWA4now
Guest
TWA4now

She is beautiful and curvey. Know your work place AND WHAT you can and cannot wear. That’s all.

Lauray Co. Clothing
Guest

The real problem is that society sexualizes curvy bodies and women’s bodies in general. If a women with a slim figure wore these same outfits these pictures would have not gone viral. I can also conclude her curves have nothing to do with her ability to teach her students

-Lauray Co. Clothing
https://www.etsy.com/people/LaurayCo

Sabrina black
Guest
Sabrina black

Well, I can agree with that. It takes attention off of why you are there. I’m just wondering if another race would have done the same thing, Would she have gained the same uproar? I just want people to be fair. In her pictures, I don’t see no kids there so she probably was on break or it was early in the morning but either way, I’m pretty sure her intentions was less staggering. She is fully clothed and she’s not showing much but her cruves. Is that why women are mad? Plus, she’s a black woman. She has two… Read more »

sceezone
Guest
sceezone

and you’ve got to do better than that, even in more conservative clothing, her curves will show.

rkb555
Guest
rkb555

BS ! Plenty of clothing even for women with curves.

dani
Guest
dani

Why do people keep making this a race thing????? It’s not a race thing. Black women are not the only women with curves, and all black women don’t have them. If Kim kardashian or Kate Upton, had on some of these outfits teaching my kids, I would still have a problem. It’s inappropriate, no matter what race. Please stop making this a race issue. Curves are not the problem, but the way you dress them can be. Clothes fit women differently. If your more curvy, some things you just shouldn’t wear while your working. Period. Sorry, you may not be… Read more »

bosslaydee
Guest
bosslaydee

one of the pictures shows kim kardashian as one of their examples..

eljjai
Guest
eljjai

I really had no idea Mrs O was so thick! I’m loving it though.

Michelle M
Guest
Michelle M

While I would agree that women with curvy figures tend to get more flack for their attire in the workplace when wearing more fitted clothing, no one should be wearing skin-tight attire to work in a professional setting, whether that’s a school or a bank or an office. Big, skinny, thick, etc. To those who think that because her skin is technically “covered up” and that makes it okay, do you think that means that one can/should wear one of those one piece legging/jumpsuit things to work just because there isn’t any skin showing? If you don’t find that appropriate… Read more »

HoneyRose
Guest
HoneyRose

I don’t know…she looks cute but I wouldn’t have worn the second outfit to work. She can’t really do anything about having a curvy figure in jeans, but cage sandals and a bodycon dress (even a knee-length one) isn’t really work appropriate. Still, I agree she wouldn’t have gotten the same flack had she had a less curvy body.

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