Letitia Chai, who studies at Cornell University in New York, decided to strip down to her underwear after she clashed with her professor in the week leading up to her final presentation.
According to student paper The Cornell Daily Sun, the professor said her shorts were “too short” during a practice run of the speech. Chai was wearing a blue buttoned shirt and cut-off jean shorts at the time.
“The first thing that the professor said to me was ‘is that really what you would wear?’,” Chai said.
She said she was told by Prof Rebekah Maggor that as a speaker, she was making a "statement" with the clothes she chose to wore.
Chai was "so taken aback", she didn't know how to respond at first.
"(Prof Maggor) proceeded to tell me in front of my whole class that I was inviting the male gaze away from the content of my presentation and onto my body," she wrote on Facebook.
Chai grew even more upset after a male student backed the professor and told her she had a "moral obligation" to dress conservatively.
When Chai fled the room, the professor followed her but she said she only made matters worse, asking her what her mother would think of her clothing choice.
Chai knew that as a feminist, her mother wouldn't have an issue with her shorts. Fuelled by anger, it was then that Chai decided she was going to "give the best damn speech of my life".
She came up with a brilliant clap back, storming back into the classroom to deliver her talk in her underwear. She decided she'd do the same during her final presentation, which was to be aired on Facebook Live.
Only that time, when she stripped off, she encouraged her peers to do the same.
"I am more than Asian. I am more than a woman. I am more than Letitia Chai. I am a human being. And I ask you to take this leap of faith, to take this next step, or rather this next strip, in our movement and to join me in revealing to each other and to seeing each other for who we truly are — members of the human race," she said while undressing," she told the audience before her, holding back tears.
As she spoke, about two dozen fellow students took off their clothes in solidarity. The video also went viral.
Prof Maggor responded to the incident in a statement to the Daily Sun.
“I do not tell my students what to wear, nor do I define for them what constitutes appropriate dress. I ask them to reflect for themselves and make their own decisions," she said.
But Chai said her intention was not to shame Prof Maggor - having deliberately chosen not to name her during her thesis presentation - but instead to raise awareness of the broader societal issue.
Chai's protest has divided the internet, drawing a mix of cheers and fist-pumps, as well as criticism from people who say Prof Maggor's comments were misrepresented.
And all this fuss over a pair of jean bloody shorts.
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