Justice

Teens Are Fighting Sexist Dress Codes With This Brilliant Hashtag

August 21st 2015

By:
Laura Donovan

If you've ever been shamed or confronted because of your school's dress code, then you know it adds extra stress and anxiety about coming to class everyday.

Last year, young people all over took to the internet to challenge strict dress codes with the hashtag #IAmMoreThanaDistraction, which is making the rounds on social media again now that the new school year is in session for many.

As ATTN: has noted before, dress codes can come across as outdated and even harmful as they often order young women not to wear clothes that might distract their male peers from learning. Many take issue with this logic as it puts the blame on girls for boys' concentration issues. This is why #IAmMoreThanaDistraction has sustained popularity on social media and given young students a way to speak out on the issue happening at schools all over:

As the school-year wrapped up in late May, ATTN: reported on the viral hashtag #CropTopDay, which Canadian high school student Alexi Halket started after a male teacher said her shirt was too revealing for class. Using social media, Halket called on female classmates to wear crop tops to school in protest of the incident.

“I went in to the office and refused to change or cover up, and I was sent to the principal where we talked for over an hour and came to no conclusion except... that if I wore something like this again I would be called in to the office,” Halket wrote on a Facebook event page (which has since been deleted), according to BuzzFeed. “So PLEASE wear a crop top, sports bra, bralette, bandeau, or anything similar and stand in solidarity against the sexualization of women’s bodies on my birthday."

The campaign received a lot of traction online and soon enough, women all over the world participated in #CropTopDay by sporting crop tops and sharing photos of their outfits on social media:

Though not everyone who liked the hashtag shared photos of themselves in crop tops, they showed their support anyway with tweets. Many of them echoed similar sentiments to those tweeting #IAmMoreThanaDistraction, stating that it's not their problem if men can't control themselves:

Earlier this year, writer Maggie Sunseri released "Shame: A Documentary on School Dress Code" to expose issues with Kentucky's Woodford County High School's strict dress code, which requires that skirts and shorts be knee length or longer, among other things, and dress codes at large.


Last year, ATTN: contributor Sarah Burris wrote that it's unacceptable to enforce strict dress codes merely because boys could be distracted by classmates who dress a certain way. This, she argued, is similar to the argument that women who have been raped were "asking for it."

Women are often subjected to sexism, hypersexualization, catcalling, and gender-related bullying, among other things.

"The whole thing is outdated and sexist, and not just for women," she wrote. "If we use 'boys will be boys' as an excuse for bad behavior, we are saying that we expect bad behavior out of men and boys."

In other words, men and boys shouldn't be reduced to cavemen. They deserve more credit, and should be held to higher standards, regardless of a dress code.

 

Today the White House announced the launch of the #ItsOnUs campaign to stop sexual assault. In light of the fact that 1 in 5 women are assaulted while in college, we recorded a video with our friend Taryn Southern to highlight some stats on the frequency of sexual assault on college campuses. Please watch and encourage your friends to watch too. We believe all students deserve to know if their school is maintaining a safe environment. There's a bill that would require colleges to publish their sexual assault statistics online so that parents and students can make an informed choice when comparing universities. If you support this bipartisan legislation, you can add your name here: http://wefb.it/55F7C5

Posted by ATTN: on Friday, September 19, 2014