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The unfairness of school dress codes

These teens found a creative way to combat hypocrisy and sexism

This kind of story is a pretty tired one: girl goes to school and the straps on her tank top are just a little too skinny, and she gets detention or gets sent home. Or her skirt is too short, or whatever. There was just something about her outfit that was considered too distracting for her male peers.

The argument that students must dress a certain way (like with school uniforms) to maintain professionalism and to eliminate distractions, allowing students to focus on lessons and learning, quickly and easily slides into a discussion of what girls can and can’t wear. We never really talk about the fact that girls also like girls, or argue that a short skirt can be distracting for young woman. So why is it such an issue for boys?

This all just suggests ensuring boys aren’t distracted by a shoulder or two is more important than a girl’s autonomy, her self expression and comfort. It prioritizes boys' education over girls' education. 

Some teens, though, aren’t okay with sexist dress codes. They’re using the hashtag #IAmMoreThanADistraction to try and change the conversation about what girls can and can’t wear. With messages like “Why is it when he sags nothing happens but if her bra strap shows she is a violator?” they’re trying to reverse body shaming and policing.

Have you ever encountered hypocritical dress codes? What can you do to combat these kinds of negative messages in school?

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