If a woman wears revealing clothing, men should have no fear if they get "busted for reading her advertisement," according to a book written by one of Manatee County's school administrators.
That's one conclusion in "The Man Code," a book Skip Wilhoit self-published in 2007 and which is now under review by the school district. The book touches on radical feminists, homosexuality, the best ways to dress, the ideals of being a man and other hot-button topics perhaps not suitable for work, much less a classroom.
Wilhoit is the district's safe schools, dropout prevention and student intervention specialist. In a recent interview, he said the book started as a rant to his then-roommate. It morphed into a 163-page volume after Wilhoit's roommate challenged him to write a book.
Superintendent Diana Greene said she was unaware the book existed. In a prepared statement, she said the book "warrants serious inquiry," adding that Wilhoit's past work and conduct would be considered during the review.
"The quotations provided to the school district by the Bradenton Herald, contained in a book authored by Skip Wilhoit, are alarming and troublesome," Greene said.
"I will say that during my five years with this district, my interactions with Mr. Wilhoit have been professional and I have witnessed the positive impact he has had on many of our students," she continued.
Wilhoit's main responsibilities include bullying prevention and character education, and he contributes to the district's conduct code, which includes the dress code. Though he wrote the book in 2007, when he was about 40 years old, it draws parallels between his past and current views.
In an interview with the Bradenton Herald, Wilhoit said he stands behind a section of the book that outlines "ComMANdments." Men, he wrote, should focus on respecting others, conserving nature, honoring commitments, working hard and being honest.
He labeled a host of other statements — for example, justifications for staring at women's breasts or heckling friends who act "gay" — as "tongue-in-cheek" jokes.
Attempting to reclaim a word that was "hijacked by the homosexual community," Wilhoit used the word "gay" to describe unmanly qualities. Acting or dressing in certain ways could lead men to seem effeminate and unworthy of reproduction, the book states.
"As men we are biological slaves in making sure this doesn't occur, so remember, it's not our fault because we're compelled to rag on anything gay," he wrote.
The book states early on that it was written for the "modern heterosexual man." However, Wilhoit made sure to specify that "homosexuals" are people and should be respected like anyone else — plus they leave "more women for the rest of us."
Wilhoit wrote that his career in education inspired the book's theme. People should be aware of "every kid's ever-mindful eyes and ears," the book states, adding that "far too many boys were growing up without proper male guidance."
"Don't get me wrong, I love the idea behind the book and have even thought about a 2nd edition," he said in a recent email. "I actually wanted to originally use it to form the basis of curriculum for young men (called Man Code 101)."
The book's positive messages, such as being courageous and stopping bullies, got lost in a sea of unsavory jokes, he said in an interview.
Its tone was "dark" and "negative," Wilhoit said, and he feared the book would stain his personal and professional relationships.
"It's a bunch of crap that could easily be viewed as insensitive, especially 12 years later," he said.
Send violators to Europe
"The Man Code" seems to encourage bullying as a response to rule violations.
Wilhoit said he started as a teacher and a coach at Manatee High School in 1994. He took a break to pursue other jobs, and he returned to focus on bullying prevention in approximately 2003.
He then wrote a book that mocks people for enjoying musicals, wearing tight pants, dancing alone, crying openly in movie theaters or owning "a little gay dog."
And nobody, he wrote, should wear a Speedo to the beach or engage in "inappropriate man-touching."
"The desecration of these fundamental regulations should be met with swift correction and or ridicule with those who continually defy these tenants being cast out of the club or simply being shipped to somewhere in Europe, where they'll probably fit nicely," Wilhoit wrote.
He also ranked each infraction. While "man-touching" is a Class One, non-negotiable violation, Wilhoit wrote that owning a small dog or wearing a pink shirt is a Class Three infraction.
While harmless on their own, lesser violations may compound and emasculate the offender, "inviting justifiable wisecracks from your friends and pretty much the rest of us."
Wilhoit wrote that women are often more fragile than men, meaning men can take harsher treatment "without generally having to worry about emotionally or physically damaging them in the process." And showing too much emotion is "clear grounds to be brutally razzed by any of your buddies."
In the follow-up interview, Wilhoit said his comments had no relation to bullying.
"Bullying is not dealing with friends," he said. "Bullying is trying to intentionally harm other people, and I don't think that was the intent of those at all."
Wilhoit is also involved with character development and social-emotional issues.
His book advises men to choose a masculine profession. If a man wants to be a nurse or preschool teacher, he should counter that profession with a manly hobby, the book states. Wilhoit recommended automotive repair or target shooting.
And if a man earns significantly less income than his female counterpart, "it might be time for Mr. Mom to strap on his apron," the book states.
Wilhoit also seemed to believe that boys should be exposed to sports and tools, not Easy-Bake Ovens and Barbie dolls.
"Can you imagine a world where men and women have the same expectations for emotional expression and guys everywhere start jumping back and screaming whenever they see a creepy-crawly bug or will cry on their buddy's shoulder when they become upset?" he wrote.
The book said a man should never compete with a woman if he might lose and embarrass himself, nor should he carry a woman's purse or buy her feminine products.
Men and women are equal partners in importance and intelligence, the book states. It goes on to say men are natural "builders, innovators, motivators, and risk-takers." The majority of women "have that nesting thing going on" and are more inclined to be homemakers and nurturers, Wilhoit wrote.
"Now before any of you radical feminists out there start griping over the oppression of women or their lack of opportunities due to so-called gender-typing, remember this: men and women are different," he wrote.
Another tenet of Wilhoit's book is that men should never hit women, and he expresses that belief in his own way. Men who date stronger women and then become victims of domestic violence should "sit back and take it like a man because you made the choice," the book states.
Wilhoit also wrote than men should avoid hitting women who appear to be different or threatening.
"Those scary or mean ones and even the ones who operate outside traditional gender norms by violently 'acting like a man' may well need a good smack down to remind them how they should behave, but it's not our place to deliver it," he wrote.
In the follow-up interview, he reiterated that much of his book is comprised of poorly written jokes.
"That was a joke about somebody who I knew, whose girl would just pummel them," he said.
Wilhoit is one of about 25 people on a committee that helps the district form its Code of Conduct, including the dress code, each year.
"The Man Code" includes a detailed section on what men should wear and how they should groom themselves. Rule No. 1: simplicity is key, because "the more fancy something is, the more girly it becomes."
The book advises men not to wear pastel colors or any shade of pink. No man's closet, the book states, should include poofy, frilly or sheer clothes. And nobody over the age of 10 or under the age of 50 should wear tighty-whities, Wilhoit wrote.
He wrote that a shower should take about five minutes, and the entire process of getting showered, groomed and dressed should take no more than 20 minutes.
Wilhoit also used the book to share his opinion on women's attire.
"It should be noted, however, that there should be no shame in getting busted staring at a pair of melons that have been laid out for the whole world to see," the book states. "Women understand the magical power that breasts hold over men, yet they purposefully wear clothing that has low-cut necklines or come with those cleavage windows which might as well be flashing a neon arrow, so why not indulge them?"
At the June 12 school board meeting, Wilhoit wore a pink dress shirt and violated one of his Class Three codes.
"See, I've grown," he said during the follow-up interview. "My girlfriend just bought that for me as a matter of fact — it's my first pink shirt."