Canadian 11th grader Lindsey Stocker was in trouble. She wore shorts to school, and was told they were not appropriate. She was asked to go home and change, or face suspension. She refused, and printed up posters instead. Her posters read:
Don't humiliate her because she's wearing shorts. It's hot outside. Instead of shaming girls for their bodies, teach boys that girls are not sexual objects.
She's right: Guys need to know that girls bodies are NOT sexual objects, and they need to be able to control themselves. It's not -- or shouldn't be -- a girl's job to dress so that men will be able to "control themselves." Men should have control of themselves, in all ways, period -- as should women.
But this isn't about "shaming women." It's about a high school 11th grader who violated her school's dress code simply because she didn't want to follow the rules. The school's dress code, according to the Beaconsfield High School website, says:
Students must dress appropriately for school. Ripped or torn clothing, short shorts or skirts, T-shirts with unacceptable language or promoting violence, drugs or sexual innuendo, halter tops/tube tops/bikini tops, visible underwear, low-riding pants, excessive cleavage, outdoor clothing and attire exposing the midriff are all forbidden in school.
She was asked to change to comply with the rule, and she blatantly defied the administrators. The rule didn't say she couldn't wear shorts, but that she couldn't wear "short-shorts." I don't see anywhere there it states that these rules simply apply to women. These rules apply to men as well. We have a dress code at my school that is pretty much the same as her school's, except we have no tank top rule and a more particular shorts rule. The shorts rule is that your shorts must at least be as long as your fingertips on your legs with your arms hanging down by your sides, for both girls and boys. I personally don't find this sexist or shaming or anything other than a rule to be followed.
The outfits my friends and I are wearing for a party are perfectly appropriate -- for a party. However, they wouldn't be OK for school. Our school dress code states that there should be no shorts that violate the "shorts" rule, no tanks and no spaghetti straps. I'm fine with that. I'm not being humiliated or harassed. I'm just observing the rules.
High school is the training ground for adult life. A real life with responsibilities that won't always consider your tender feelings when rules are made. Many jobs have dress codes, even uniforms, and if you don't comply, you lose your job. It's not shaming or bullying or harassment if you are asked and expected to follow rules. In this case, the school is asking all students to dress with respect and in a manner in which the school would like to portray itself. High school is not just a place where you learn how to be yourself, it's a place where you learn to function in society and like it or not, society has rules. Being asked to follow rules isn't harassment. It's life.
This was originally posted on my blog: Losergurl.com.