Hold on to your yoga pants!

There are dress codes that deal with the "curvature" of students' breasts? Or the definition of their "backsides?" We know slut-shaming is an epidemic, but this is shocking.

Last month in New Jersey, Readington Middle School banned girls from wearing strapless dresses to an eighth grade dance, explaining that strapless dresses “distract boys.”  Faced with immediate protest and backlash from parents and students, Readington decided to compromisby allowing girls to wear single-strap or see-through-strap dresses. 

This incident is just one of many across the United States where girls are slut-shamed through their schools’ dress codes.  Girls, and not boys, are being told what not to wear because school officials and adults don't want them to look “inappropriate” or "distracting." 

A recent ThinkProgress article highlights five recent examples of school dress-codes that restrict clothing choices for young women and girls:

  1.  A middle school in California banned tight pants, leggings, and yoga pants.  Say it ain't so!

Last  month, Kenilworth Junior High School in northern California told girls to stop wearing  pants that are “too tight” because it “distracts the boys.”  All female students were rounded up for a mandatory assembly where they were told by school officials that they  were no longer allowed to wear leggings, yoga pants, or tight-fitting pants.  Later, the assistant principal played the distraction card in a voicemail to parents: “The guiding principle in  all dress codes is that the manner in which students’ dress does not become a distraction  in the learning environment.”

2.  A Minnesota high school emailed parents to ask them to cover up their daughters

In  his email to parents, Minnetonka principal David Adney urged parents to talk  to their  daughters about wearing yoga pants, tight-fitting leggings, and other spandex-like pants which, when worn with T-shirts, expose “more leg and backside” that leaves  “their  backside too closely defined” and can “be highly distracting for other students.”

 3.  An Ohio high school turned away two girls from prom for being “improperly  dressed.”

  Laneisha Williams and Nyasia Mitchell were stopped at the entrance of  their  prom for wearing dresses deemed “too revealing” by school administrators.   Neither  girl felt she was violating the school’s prom dress code, which does not accept  dresses  that show cleavage or are very short in length.  However, as school administrators  stated, girls were only allowed to wear dresses that had “no curvature of their breasts  showing.”

 4.  In Georgia, a kindergarten girl was forced to change her skirt because it was deemed  too short and a distraction to other students. 

The girl’s mother told local news that her  daughter had to be outfitted in someone else’s pants, without parental permission, after  the principal decided that her skirt was too short.  The girl wore this skirt with opaque  leggings underneath, and had worn this outfit just one week earlier without any  incident.

 5.  A California high school sent forty girls home from a school dance after reportedly  “degrading” clothing inspections.

Capistrano Valley High School turned away  these  girls for wearing dresses that were either too low cut or exposed their midriffs.   Apparently the girls were required to raise and lower their arms and turn around for  male administrators’ inspection.  However, Capistrano Valley High principal disputes  this claim.  You can see image examples of the girls’ rejected dresses against the image  guidelines provided by the school here

 

These examples of gendered dress codes are symptoms of the rape culture that's so deeply rooted in our country.  This victim-blaming attitudes not only reinforce ridiculous ideas about women’s bodies as inherently distracting, but also the idea that boys and men cannot control themselves. It’s lose/lose!

Schools are teaching students that sexual harassment and crimes happen because of a woman’s “inappropriate” or “suggestive” clothing, rather than teaching students to respect other people’s bodies, personal autonomy, and clothing choices. That's what's shameful.  

Source: ThinkProgress

Images via: The Saxon Scope, SanClemente Patch

Tagged in: slut shaming, dress code   

The opinions expressed on the BUST blog are those of the authors themselves and do not necessarily reflect the position of BUST Magazine or its staff.




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