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Everyday Sexism Project: Dress Codes and Rape Culture

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Although, there is the popular belief that the school dress codes are active in helping to insure a modest and focused environment the rules that are implemented into schools have always been misogynistic. School dress codes are a 21st century oppressive strategy. The dress codes perpetuate the belief that women’s bodies are sexual objects, a distraction rather than a student. The imbalance between genders being policed is also very alarming. Possibly the most unnerving reason for school’s policing young women’s bodies is the schools concern for male teachers being uncomfortable around childrens ‘figures’, or in other words the pedophile’s, and pedolphile apologists.

The school dress code is the building blocks of misogynist thoughts, poisoning young people’s minds. The dress codes within schools are the red string of misogyny running through education, and tying into America’s misogynistic culture. Young women are constantly being deemed a distraction in the classroom. Young girls bra straps, shoulders and figures are thought to create a sexual hindrance for young men, and therefore are banned from sight. This presents the idea that not only are young men unable to control their sexual urges and pay attention, but also that a young man’s comfort is more important than a young women’s education.

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In the past few year’s several stories have popped up about demeaning dress codes. Recently several male students put up posters around school warning girls about the impact of their dressing choices. The letter was in response to someone else’s outrage at the blatant sexism of the school dress code. The responding letter states that young women are, “putting boys at risk of a distracting working environment” (Global News). The letter goes onto say that young women should, “value male education and dress conservatively,” as opposed to dressing like a, “THOT.” Which is an acronym for ‘That Hoe Over There’. The misogyny in this letter is the glaring evidence of what is taught to students throughout their school career. Several students participated in this message and believed that young women are in part- meant to serve to their every whim, to dress a certain way. In view of the fact that a mans education is of utmost importance and the value of young womens schooling is second rate. A very concerning impact of the school dress code is misogyny seeping into the students minds, influencing the way they act. The dress code has exposed itself to be a large contributor to the slut shaming and rape culture. This code teachers young men to view young women as objects, as a sexual distraction.

Impressionable students are taught that women’s skin is inherently sexual, and must be covered. Women’s bodies have been so sexualized by school’s that the original purpose of the most basic body parts are being turned into sexual triggers for young men. Shoulders, thighs, and waist, are all being condemned. They are the ‘holy grail’ of sins within the classroom. School dress codes are only contributing to the stigma surrounding women’s bodies. It perpetuates the idea that it is okay to make unwarranted suggestive comments about women. One mother, outraged at the school’s negative and sexist reaction to her daughters clothing choice, responded with, “shouldn’t the emphasis be on teaching our sons to be gentlemen and focus on their school work,” as opposed to ignoring young men’s inappropriate comments, and instead punishing girls for what they wear (HuffingtonPost). Many schools have a similar stance on this, instead of correcting the behavior of out of place young men, schools are cracking the whip onto the code, and enforcing the outdated rules. Young men need to be held accountable for their actions, otherwise another generation of men will grow into having ‘trumped’ views on women.

The imbalance between the genders being reprimanded for breaking the dress code is alarming. Girls are berated around every corner while young men are freely parading around in anything they please. Many young women are reporting young men wearing clothing with vulgar phrases and images, who seemingly never get chastised. One young women reported that she often sees her male classmates wearing, “shorts that are shorter than hers and don’t get in trouble (CNN).” If this is a common occurrence, and young women are still being targeted, clearly clothes are not the problem, rather the misogynistic views that cloud teachers vision. Another young woman witnessed her male classmate, “wearing a shirt depicting two stick figures: the male holding down the females head in his crotch.” On it said, “good girls swallow.” It was particularly upsetting because as she recalls, “teachers walked right past him and didn’t say a thing.” Boys will never be looked at in the same light girls are, they aren’t shamed for wearing spaghetti straps, or called ‘suggestive’ for having knee high socks on.

The dress code is catered to boys comfort within school. Young men are far more comfortable in their own bodies while at school, because whatever they wear is overlooked, whether it is appropriate or not. The pedophilic remarks made by male teachers is dumbfounding. Schools are condoning and validating adult males viewing young women in a sexual manner. Pedophile apologists are influencing people into victimizing pedophile teachers. School’s have established that a major reason for girls being dress coded is because their outfits are, “making male teachers ‘uncomfortable’”(Time).

Young women nationally have stories of teachers making inappropriate comments about them, or while speaking with them. One girl in particular, just 13 at the time, got an especially nasty comment. The girl’s teacher at the time told her outright that her socks made her look like a, “prostitute” (Time). The victim blaming taking place is astounding, schools across America constantly defend male teachers making sexual remarks, or unwarranted comments. Young women are being called ‘suggestive’, ‘provocative’, and ‘sinful’ by their adult male teachers. The watchful eye should be straying from young women and instead observing male teachers who are so interested in what young women are wearing.

The school dress code is an outdated structure. The code has transformed into a misogynistic rule of law. It is so imbedded into the society and school systems that it is almost a natural reaction to berate young women for showing bra straps. The schools in America need to rise above the restrictions they set for girls. Young women are punished for others lack of control over themselves. Righteous change is approaching, the victims of misogyny will show their strength. As Mitch McConnell ironically said, “She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless she persisted.” Women must persist, to break through this wall of misogyny. Women will have a revoloution, and exercise their battle cry.

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