Beauty is Being Sexualized in Schools
News stories break daily about girls being sent home from school for breaking the dress code. Girls are forced to leave prom, leave class, or wear sweatshirts in hot weather, as school boards prioritize girls' portrayal to educating boys on how to treat their female counterpart. Not only is this a sexist behavior, but is misleading to young women.
At this age, girls are trying to find their personal style and boost their confidence. They want to be defined not by their gender, but choices. Unfortunately, the educational system does not promote individuality; their clothing choice supersedes their voice, intelligence, and talent. A shown shoulder leads to forfeiting their right for in class-time, thus consistent education.
It takes a long time for a young woman to love and accept her body the way it is, and it is often an accomplishment for some to wear a tank top or shorts in public. Given that knowledge, it does seem inacceptable for school boards to restrict the organic development of womanhood, and even more so on the basis of girls’ bodies being too distracting to their male classmates.
However, the latter argument does make a touch of sense if a girl were to wear lingerie, a shirt promoting violence, or a vulgar outfit. Collarbone, bra straps, thighs, or cleavage to be too distracting for male students promotes the radically sexist idea that protecting girls is done through their attires as compared to educating boys on how to properly behave.
Photo via Conant Crier
Rather than letting everyone be or teaching boys to control their impulses, the school disrupts class to send a young and now embarrassed girl home. Not only does this distract students more than anything else, but it now makes her feel singled out, victimized, and ashamed for simply being a girl.
Girls who are put in those situations are not actually dressed inappropriately, being the shocking part of these stories we continually hear. In fact, they are dressed appropriately for the weather, for their age, and for their taste. These girls are comfortable in what they are wearing and that should matter.
Photo via Seventeen
Are boys really distracted or are the teachers, the adults, sworn to protect these kids, the ones being distracted? Is the system lacking creative approaches to educate kids at-large? These stories are covering the reality that the educational system in the US and many parts of the world is in a downward spiral.
Photo via Her Campus
While girls are told they must wear a bra, as to society nipples are sexual objects, showing straps are a no-no. At some schools, girls cannot wear leggings or skinny jeans, and also shorts or skirts. Girls go through hell during high school to fit in and feel comfortable in their own skin. There is enough bullying and body shaming occurring, for schools' codes to become an additional cause of pressure and girls' decreased confidence.
Photo via Dialogusci
A story about a young boy putting his hand up a female student’s skirt should ultimately result in his suspension, not her punishment. Excusing a males’ ogling or sexual harassment due to a girl’s choice of clothes ultimately excuses the male of any responsibility for his behavior. These rules tell young students that boys are not to be held accountable, but rather girls are punished for the crude thoughts that boys are assumed to have.
A good amount of male students have stepped up to help their female classmates fight this ridiculous sexism. They have now been making a statement with their own form of protest, exposing their shoulders with the same tops the girls have been sent home for wearing. While boys and girls are not treated equally at school, there seems to be a consensus from both genders that these dress codes are over sexualizing young girls and promoting rape culture (the lack of exposure to womanity). And rather than creating a safe and equal place for all students to learn, school boards are making both education and self-confidence that much harder to come by.
Photo via India.com
It does not stop with sending students home from class, after-school programs, or dances. It has become such a phenomenon that yearbook photos are being edited to the school’s liking. The photo below shows a girl wearing a simple black top that exposed what looks like a tattoo. The edited yearbook version concealed this, stripping away part of her identity.
Photo via Archive
Parents all over the country are standing up against this, with some choosing to homeschool their children to protect them from such sexist regulations. The question is, if both students and parents find these dress codes to be sexist, unnecessary and unfair, why are they still being upheld?