Miu Miu and the historic fetishization of schoolgirls

Models walk down the Miu Miu runway wearing the 2022 Ready to Wear collection.
Miu Miu’s short skirts, loose ties, and muted khaki colors were emblematic of the company’s twisted sexualization of young school girls. (Photo courtesy of Imaxtree)

Miuccia Prada’s latest collection for Miu Miu’s Ready to Wear 2022 collection was a hit. The short skirts, slouched button-downs, loose ties and muted khakis emulate an action figure, badass vibe that would make anyone turn back for a second look. The sheer calf socks with chunky loafers even being on par with the mother brand, Prada.

One thing that was impossible to ignore, however, was how drastically different physical coverage was throughout the show. Some models exuded the laid-back, effortless look of cool schoolboys, while other girls were sporting ultra short skirts and super cropped button-downs and sweaters. But it made me feel a little uneasy.

Now, I’m not placing the blame on Ms. Miuccia Prada herself — if you are reading this by chance, I would give you an arm and a leg. Her RTW collection was about breaking barriers and breaking fashion norms by playing with hemlines and silhouettes. I loved the ‘cool girl’ vibe Miu Miu gave off throughout the entire show — the winding catwalk, the sultry sheer socks, muted colors and the evident homage to the Y2K trend of Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie-esque mini skirts. The neckties flirted with the idea of androgyny and genderless clothing that has been getting more spotlight in the fashion world. 

But at the same time, I can’t help but tie this to the way schoolgirls have historically been sexualized.

This overt sexualization of schoolgirls is not solely in the United States — it is a worldwide phenomenon. This is largely due to how schoolgirls and their dynamics are shown in mass forms of media. In pop culture, a myriad of examples of student-teacher affairs exist in shows such as the U.S.’s “Pretty Little Liars” and Thailand’s “Girl From Nowhere,” and comedies such as Adam Sandler’s “That’s My Boy.” It is even prevalent in books like Vladimir Nabokov’s “Lolita” and Japanese Anime (especially in the pornographic genre of ‘hentai’) as well as music videos such as Britney Spears’ 2009 music video hit, “Hit Me Baby One More Time.” 

But mostly, a large reason for this sick and pedophilic fetishization of women’s education is due to the porn industry. Porn already represents a false fantasy of what sex is and how sex can be, but there are so many categories in porn that have to do with women and their education. Whether this is the same trope of students and teachers or schoolgirls using their bodies as a means to get out of trouble from authority figures, it continues to hurt the progress of equality in the education system and expresses implicit sexism. 

After fighting so long for gender equality in education, which still hasn’t been globally achieved, it is frustrating that a hidden price of women’s education is the sexualization of it. Yes, intelligence is often seen as an attractive trait, but my literal education and attendance at an institution as a woman should not be the reason for your arousal. This also means that female education is not an invitation to keep producing and upkeeping the fantasy of this pedophilic fetishization. 

Let me say it again: My education and ability to be educated are not reasons you should be turned on.

In the 21st century, I would expect that we would stop this creepy sexualization amidst all the Hollywood scandals exposing celebrities like R. Kelly, James Charles and Drake Bell being charged with child endangerment and child pornography possession. But it seems our society has a little more work to do. I would say better late than never, but I think this is more appropriate. Chop chop.