There are so many stories in the news about students complaining about being policed in school for how they dress. Most of these stories come down to specifically how women are policed—an offending bra strap poking out from a dress will send you home, something that’s too form-fitting will get you sent to the Principal’s office. Often, it’s not the article of clothing that’s “upsetting” but the body beneath it—and this all feels incredibly sexist and misogynistic.
TikToker @chan42911 recently posted a video about dress codes and misogyny, and it’s pretty popular with over 3.3M views.
In the video, she explains how dress codes teach young girls “that their bodies are property and inherently sexual.”
The video was in response to another TikToker who asked people to share things that are “incredibly misogynistic but everyone ignores and pretends like it’s normal.”
“Dress code is one of the earliest symptoms of rape culture in America,” she said. “Rape culture is victim blaming and blaming a woman for an assault that happens to her or other victims (it doesn’t just happen to women.”
“Dress code at its core is grown adults sexualizing little girls (7-17 years old) and blaming them for distracting male classmates.”
“So what happens to a little girl who wears shorts that are a little too short because it’s all she can afford? She gets punished for it.”
“She gets told that it’s her fault and she needs to change so that other people don’t sexualize her.”
School dress codes are often very arbitrary and boys seem to get a lot more leeway. Additionally, the same outfit on one girl might not set off alarms for a school official whereas if a different, more developed girl was wearing it, she might be called out for being “too sexy.” School should be a place to learn about the world, not learn about how your body is identified as problematic.
Featured Image: TikTok