This article from Time Magazine came at an interesting time and I happen to have far more than a Facebook update to say about this subject. You see, yesterday I was in the office of my son’s elementary school when two adorable girls walked in. They seemed completely confused, they didn’t understand why they were sent from recess to the office. Or maybe they knew why but just didn’t get it.
Turned out, someone thought the duo, dressed in warm weather attire, were wearing shorts that were against the school’s dress code.
When these girls walked into the office, the first thing I noticed was how cute they were and how age-appropriate their clothes were. So, I was probably as surprised as those girls when I overheard the reason they were sent to see the school principal.
Both girls had on rather conservative t-shirts. Their shorts came to mid upper thigh. Longer than most of the shorts I see wandering around my neck of the woods. I actually wondered where their mothers were able to find the longer shorts because I don’t love the ones my daughter wears. Now THOSE..are too short. As a 17 year old, however, it’s hard to find anything that isn’t micro mini-shorts.
I was so relieved when the principal sent them back to class because she didn’t find the shorts to be inappropriate. SO RELIEVED. Because, if what these darling girls were wearing was considered too short then I give up. High five to the principal of my kids school!
Which brings me to dress codes in general. A couple of years ago, I wrote a guest post over on Ricki Lakes blog which is no longer live. I wrote about dress codes and shaming girls. Because, it happened far too often to my daughters. Both of them. One of my daughters had to spend the day in an oversized t-shirt that had written on it, in bold letter decals, letting everyone know she broke the dress code. If that’s not shaming, I don’t know what is.
I remember when both my girls were in elementary school. Back when I used to be the one who bought their clothes. I never considered what I was buying them to not be appropriate because I thought I dressed my kids really cute. However, the school district didn’t seem to agree with me and it seemed like every other day I was going up to school with a change of clothes for my girls.
Then middle school.
And again in high school.
Yet, I’d watch the boys walk around with their underwear hanging out the back of their pants. Sagging, I think they call it. How is that any less distracting than a girl wearing a tank top with the edges of their bra strap showing? I mean…we can see these boys underwear.
The hypocrisy is staggering. Mind blowing. To say the least.
When it comes to girls and clothing, we are headed toward a day when the girls are going to have to dress like the boys so that they can be deemed appropriately dressed.
Here’s the thing, if the way a girl is dressed is considered to be asking for sexual harassment or worse, then something is wrong with the way some of the boys are being raised. I’d like to think my boys don’t look at a girl and think about raping them. Because, that’s not the way a civilized society, such as ours allegedly is, is supposed to behave. Listen, I’m not pointing fingers at ANYONE, I’m just making a blanket statement. Because, blame can’t be solely pushed onto the girls and the clothing they wear.
Sure, some girls are dressed way too provocatively and people can think whatever they want about how she looks. BUT..thinking, saying and doing are very separate entities. If a boy is thinking about saying or doing something and then acts upon that, that’s on him. Not how the girl is dressed because she certainly isn’t wearing a sign on her back that says #askingforit.
The school dress code enables a culture of excuses for the inability to control oneself. To me, that’s what it comes down to. Excuses for boys.
If I’m wearing a maxi dress and my bra strap is showing, that’s because I have no choice..the dress strap isn’t wide enough to cover my bra strap and, quite frankly, I hate strapless bras.
Women should not have to be forced to change anything about themselves to appease the lack of self control society is saying boys have.
Girls probably should choose to dress school appropriate meaning…leave their butt cheeks and belly buttons covered during school hours. But..boys shouldn’t walk around with their greasy underwear showing either.
If there is going to be any type of dress code, it shouldn’t just be the females it’s enforced upon. Because, equality y’all.
Boys should keep their shoes tied. Their pants up. Hats off their heads. And so on. Because girls might just get distracted by how disheveled they look, worry about whether or not they are being taken care of by their parents, and then fail that exam they are taking.
Okay, I’m being a bit flippant and I apologize.
I get parts of the dress code. No flip flops on either sex because those happen to be dangerous, especially in overcrowded school corridors. No unnecessary body parts showing is something I can stand behind.
When a school starts dictating how long hair should be and what styles are on the ok’d list, that’s going too far.
There are so many things kids need to worry about these days. Getting into college is harder than ever. Paying off that college tuition is nearly impossible. Why does anyone need to worry about whether or not they are going to get suspended due to what they are wearing?
That’s just stupid.
Why do girls need to worry about whether or not boys are being ‘distracted’? That’s really NOT the girls problem at all.
The way a girl dresses should not make them a victim.
The way a girl acts shouldn’t make them a victim either.
I can’t imagine any girl wakes up, puts on her clothes she laid out the night before and thinks ‘Gee, I hope I get harassed at school today.”
Which brings me back to the boys. And to society.
Just stop it.
Stop making excuses. Stop blaming girls for the ill behavior of some boys.
Not all boys look at a girl and want to do any harm.
So society on a whole, enough with this. Really.
It’s only called a ‘rape culture’ because somehow permission was given to call it that.
We need to change this dialogue and the tags that go along with it.
We need to be a bit more tolerant, we aren’t Puritans anymore.
Somehow, someway, we need to change this whole rape and dress code conversation into something more productive.
How? I have no clue.
Maybe it starts with conversations around the dinner table.
Maybe clothing designers need to step in and help, too.
Maybe we need to have faith in the fact that not all girls are ‘sluts’ and not all boys are harassing rapists.
Maybe the school’s need to stop shaming girls.
I don’t know.
I do know this though..
We, as a society, need to fix this. And, we need to fix it sooner rather than later.
Because, it’s not getting better, it’s getting worse.