Ok, I am pissed. The dress code thing has always been an issue for me, but we are at code-f**king-orange here, people.
That's right, girls are getting hazed and shamed. They are being kicked out of proms and are called skanks by those in authority -- the same teachers and administrators we trust to take care of our girls
How many young women need to be humiliated and left in tears before we collectively say "Knock it off!"?
To be clear, I like dress codes and I enforce them in my home. I talk to my kids about the messages their clothes send to the world and who they want to be and who they want to look like. I support school uniforms for schools deciding they need them.
I do not, however, support bullshit.
And, make no mistake: dress codes are increasingly becoming an excuse for sexualizing women and disgracing young girls for the apparent pleasure of those in power. It's bullshit.
So, people in positions of authority over young people: I will kindly ask you to just stop.
"Stop what?" you ask? I'm so happy you asked for clarification. Here it is:
1. Stop humiliating our daughters.
Yes, humiliating them. Stop pulling them out of a group to shame them. Stop conducting the "inspections" in front of others. Stop asking them to bend over so everyone can see how short their skirts are. These are young women -- not your playthings. And the claim that you "just want them to respect themselves" feels disingenuous when you treat them like cattle for sale. Just stop it.
And don't give me the old "Dress codes apply to both boys and girls" argument.
No they f**king don't and you know it.
Dress code violating boys in this situation were not sent home, made to put on different clothes, or singled out at a school assembly. Their only consequence: they were respectfully asked if they could adhere to the school's dress code in the future. Nice. By the way, kids, this is the way violations should be handled, regardless of gender.
My 16-year-old son regularly violates the dress code at his school, and is repeatedly vocal to teachers and administrators that no dress code consequences will come his way because he is a boy. So far he is right.
It is about curves and boobs and legs and butts -- on girls. It is a gender issue, so stop the bullshit.
2. Stop micro-managing decency.
Some of the newest garments to be flagged for dress code persecution are leggings and yoga pants.
What the f**k is that all about?
First of all, I have yoga pants that happen to be indiscernible from dress pants. And I have one kid who is so skinny that leggings look like regular pants, and I have another kid with legs so muscular they can only fit into pants made out of stretchy material. Soooooooo, what is this rule about, exactly? The shape of the pant? The fit? The material? Aren't we getting a bit ridiculous here? Are teachers now going to perform cotton/spandex ratio checks? Stitching/seam/pocket checks? This is getting weird.
Leggings are comfy and good for everyone, even those with tricky figures (hence my personal collection of Ray Liotta yoga pants). Leggings and yoga pants actually provide pretty good skin coverage. So why are we banning them again? Is it because someone has decided they are sexy, and so now we are sexualizing all those who wear them? Please don't strip us of our precious yoga pants. We need them.
This also inspires an "I'll show you" attitude; students will find a way to wear something that covers head to toe and isn't technically see-through (but kind of is... but not... but yes...). Overly rigid rules invite rebellion.
3. Stop teaching our sons they are powerless.
Although dress code restrictions and consequences don't seem to ever apply to boys, the reason behind them certainly does. Most dress codes are put into place for the purpose of making sure animalistic boys don't get distracted.
There are so many ways in which this is wrong. Let's cover the top three:
First, why why why do we think so little of our boys? What are they? Crazy unbalanced aggressors on the precipice of reaching a sexy-time frenzy the moment a female's lower limbs enter their sight?
Are they so unable to handle life that the sight of a bra strap might render them incapable of learning, or even functioning?
Seriously. Boys know girls have legs. And shoulders. Let's give them some credit.
Second, ripping dress-code-violating girls out of class and sending them home prioritizes the rights of the boys (to learn without distraction) over the rights of girls (to simply attend school). Shouldn't we hold the rights of our young girls to attend school just as sacredly as we do for our boys?
Third, any policy that delivers humiliating messages to females (while being completely silent to males) sends a strong message to both genders that men are weak (and must be protected and cannot be held responsible for their actions). And if men are not responsible for their actions, who is? Well, by process of elimination, it must be the women.
So when schools enforce dress codes through humiliation, what they are really doing is indoctrinating our young men and women into a mindset that is remarkably harmonious with rape culture.
It seems we have some baggage to unpack here.
Speaking of which...
4. Stop putting YOUR baggage on our kids.
If you're a school administrator or teacher and you get turned-on or flustered by an insufficient amount of cloth between you and a budding teenage girl, I suggest reevaluating yourself, not the school policy. Or maybe you should consider a different career, far far away from the schools that hold our vulnerable boys and girls.
5. Stop thinking this is yours to control.
Public school is where the dress code drama is playing out. Public school is obligated to provide an education to all. Even to those in booty shorts.
Seriously, what is the ultimate repercussion? Are we really going to kick out those who don't comply? You can make suggestions, but ultimately, I don't think it makes sense to expel someone over a few inches of cloth.
I guess you could always just participate in revisionist history and Photoshop all students to conform to your idea of what they need to look like, as a school in Utah did. Of course, they only manipulated photos of girls in the yearbook.
Ultimately, I am the parent. It is up to me to explain that the real problem with short shorts is that your sweaty thighs rub against the seat where other sweaty thighs have rubbed. That is super yucky and we all need to agree that dress codes protecting us from the ravages of unbridled thigh sweat are good.
But dress codes with no foundation in safety, which allow school authorities to feel superior as they target and shame the girls, are bad.