Prudish Parents Wig Out Over Teacher’s Bodybuilding Photos, Because Educators Are Not Allowed To Have Hobbies
It is no wonder the U.S. is running short on people who want to be teachers. Teachers are essential to the functioning of society, but you would not know it from the way we treat them. They are underpaid, underappreciated, and even in their off-hours they have to be constantly vigilant lest some pearl-clutching parent discover that the teacher has free time and go crying to the school board about role models and bad examples.
Utah middle school teacher Mindi Jensen actually seems like a very good role model. She is a divorced mother of four children, and in addition to being a dedicated teacher, she is a passionate fitness devotee. She’s a body builder who competes in fitness competitions, and that is pretty impressive for anyone, let alone a single woman with a full-time job and four kids to take care of.
To chronicle her bodybuilding process, Jensen maintains an Instagram account of her bodybuilding activities. I’m sure you know where this is going. Last week some parents found Jensen’s Instagram account and lost their minds, insisting that the fact that she is wearing a bikini and competing in fitness competitions is “pornographic” and inappropriate for an educator.
One week eeeeekkkk i’m so excited. This is just my start. Someday I’ll use these pictures as my “before” picture. I really am proud of myself, although I dreamt and wished I never thought I could do it. Skinny to strong. #goals #npc #npcbikini #teamheugly #myfirst #juststarting #momoffour #singlemom #lean #peakweek #fit #fitness #fitmom #momswholift #strong #worthit
Even though Jensen uses a fake name on her account, she said some parents found it and complained to the school that her behavior was “immodest” and “pornographic.” She said the school district gave her an ultimatum: Either shut down her Instagram, make it private, or be fired.
At first Jensen reportedly took her account private, but then decided she did not wnat to do that. And besides, if a parent did not want his or her child seeing the photos on Instagram, then that parent should be policing the child’s social media use, not the teacher’s. It’s not like setting one teacher’s account to private will stop a child from finding photos of other women in bikinis on Instagram.
“It’s between the parent and the child. Put restrictions on your children,” Jensen said. “If you are not comfortable with seeing me in my fitness uniform on stage posing then take that away from your kid. Don’t take it away from me.”
Jensen said that she got into bodybuilding to deal with depression after her breakup, and she feels that it has been very healthy for her. She says she frequently gets messages from other people about how her journey is inspiring them to exercise more and get more into fitness, and she did not want to lose that by taking her account down.
The idea that parents can have a say in what teachers do in their off time is ridiculous. Teachers will drink alcoholic beverages, use naughty language, and wear bikinis. Just because they teach your kids from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. does not mean you own what they do with the rest of their time.
According to Good 4 Utah, the district changed its mind and is allowing Jensen to keep both her Instagram and her job. Instead, the district will be having a meeting for parents to discuss appropriate social media use for their children.