A student decided to take down her clothes all the way to her bra and underwear during her thesis presentation as a protest against her professor’s comments that her choice of clothes was inappropriate.
Letitia Chai is a senior student at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, and she decided to take off her clothes during a presentation.
The presentation was even filmed on Facebook live in order to stand up against “oppressive beliefs and discrimination”.
The student decided to organize the protest after her teacher had allegedly questioned her choice of clothing during a test run of her thesis presentation and told her that her shorts are too short.
Chai wrote when describing the incident in a Facebook post that her teacher proceeded to tell her in front of her whole class that she was inviting the male gaze away from the content of her presentation and onto her body.
The student didn’t know how to respond at the moment, and said that some students in the class were also surprised by the teacher’s comment. However, one international student agreed with the teacher and told her that she had “a moral obligation to dress more conservatively” in respect for her audience.
After Ms Chai left the classroom, her teacher talked to her and asked her what would her mother think of her outfit.
Ms Chai wrote that her mom is a feminist, gender studies professor and she has dedicated all her life to the empowerment of people in all gender identities. So, she thinks that her mother would be fine with her shorts.
When asked what she was going to do, Chai replied that she’s going to give the best speech of her life.
Ms Chai invited others to support her on the day of her representation and asked them to take down their clothes to their underwear with her during her 15-minute address.
The event was filmed on Facebook Live, and Ms Chai removed her clothes, and some students joined her in support.
She told the students that this was a call for solidarity with students like her who had been asked to question themselves about their appearance for the comfort of others.
The teacher has since told local media that she doesn’t tell her students what to wear, but she asks them to reflect for themselves and make their own decisions.
The other students, however, have since said that even though they supported Ms Chai’s commitment to the cause of women’s rights, they feel that their professor’s words and actions were unfairly represented and taken out of context, and they described their teacher as “an outstanding member of the University and a gift to Cornell”.