Dress codes are getting called out much more frequently these days for being sexist – and rightfully so. Strict restrictions regarding what’s acceptable to wear are much more frequently placed on girls than boys, and these restrictions are often made based on the assumption that if a girl in class isn’t dressed modestly, boys will be distracted from their studies. Not only is this offensive to young girls, who are being sexualized from a younger and younger age, it’s also offensive to boys, as it suggests they have no will power or control when it comes to the opposite sex. That’s why one mom, Dr. Catherine Perlman, has written an open letter to the principal of her daughter’s school after her daughter was sent home for a dress code violation that seems, to be honest, pretty egregious.
Many dress codes have something called a finger-tip rule for shorts and skirts, which basically means that any skirt or pair of shorts that’s shorter than the fingertips will be considered an offending garment, and if caught wearing one, the wearer will either be sent home or forced to wear “loaner clothes” to cover up. During middle and high school, teenagers’ bodies are constantly changing, and arbitrary rules involving fingertips and lengths of shorts are totally outdated – not to mention the fact that forcing young women to cover up for the sake of “not distracting boys” during the summer months is sexist and cruel. When Dr. Perlman’s daughter was found wearing shorts just shy of the tips of her fingers, she was made to cover up with oversized mesh shorts for the rest of the school day. Dr. Perlman responded to this decision with an open letter shared to , in which she invited the principal of the school to take her daughter shopping.
In the letter, she noted that it’s pretty hard to shop for her daughter. She doesn’t like to wear anything pink or purple or frilly, has particularly long arms and legs (fingertip rule, be damned), won’t wear items of clothing with visible logos, and gets overheated in pants. She challenged the principal of the school to find something for her daughter that she’d wear that would also fit the requirements of the school dress code (which apparently also excludes tank tops). She also mentioned that because her daughter is continually growing, they’d need to stay within a reasonable budget.
She ended the letter by saying, “P.S. I forgot to thank you for making it clear to my daughter that her body is somehow a distraction, either to herself or to the boys. I thought she might have missed the message earlier in the year when the gym teacher told her she couldn’t wear yoga pants because the boys aren’t able to control themselves. I appreciate how hard you are working to drive the point home.” This highlights something important – as teens are growing, changing, and learning to become comfortable in their bodies, we should be doing everything we can to help them in that process rather than discouraging them or making them feel like their bodies are something to be ashamed of. At this point, it seems most dress codes need a complete overhaul before they hit this mark.
More on dress codes:
- Malaysian Girl’s Story Goes Viral After She’s Forced To Withdraw From A Chess Tournament For “Violating” The Dress Code
- DressLikeAWoman Is the Internet’s Response to Trump’s Alleged Dress Code for Female Staffers
- This Hero Sixth-Grader Protested Her School’s Sexist Dress Code – by Breaking It
Rapper and Singer Lizzo Talks Bodysuits and Body Image: