Boys protest school's strict dress code by wearing off-the-shoulder shirts
School dress codes seem to be a holdover from a previous age. Of course, in a learning environment, it makes sense not to show up naked or anything, but that's a far cry from legislating specific fashion choices, like bare shoulders, or showing ankles, or nonsense like that. The problem with these codes is that they affect the sexes differently.
Men may be banned from wearing sleeveless T-shirts, but women become unable to wear a wide variety of dresses, skirts, shirts and other apparel when shoulders must be covered at all times. Plus, it's kind of silly to imply that bare shoulders are 'distracting'. Dealing with the opposite sex in general is 'distracting'. Would you want to gender segregate classrooms just to keep people from worrying about their social standing instead of their studies?
Thankfully, at this school in San Benito, Texas, students of all genders seem pretty unified on the dress code issue. It all started one day when a girl was set home early from school for - gasp - wearing a dress that exposes her shoulders.
The school year started August 10th, and since then, school administrators have started cracking down hard on the dress code. At least 50 female students have been reprimanded for wearing dresses that expose their shoulders while at school. It's a total authoritarian network dedicated to policing clothing, in America, in 2017!
First, when they came for the off-shoulder dresses, I said nothing. Then, when they came for the sewing club, I said nothing. Then, when they came for everyone's clothing, it was too late.
So, a lot of young men came together to stand by their female classmates (maybe some were trying to cynically score dates?) and decided to wear dresses with their shoulders exposed in order to highlight the double-standard implicit in policing popular women's fashion styles in the classroom.
Now, it's worth discussing the gender politics of this whole situation, because there's a lot going on here.
First, of course, there's sexism. Feminists have made the argument for literally decades that blaming the way a woman dresses for male attention is sexist. This is true - it's a man's responsibility to act properly around women no matter what she's wearing. However, there's even more going on beneath the surface.
The politics of sexual attraction have exploded in recent years, digging into the absolute and ultimate minutia and holding everyone accountable. After all, if someone has a preference for say, Asian girls over black girls, that is considered a form of racist misogyny against black girls. It goes further - if you don't find a trans woman attractive, then you are also potentially anti-trans.
Feminists indict men for being too sexually motivated, and yet, men's sexual preferences are also criticized if they are not totally inclusive. If you're attracted to 'traditional' femininity, then that, indeed, is a form of microaggression against women who do not look traditionally feminine.
Whew. That's a lot, right? Girls, go out there and wear whatever you like. Men, go out there and ask out whoever you like. Or, go out there and be as inclusive as possible, and make sure you don't lean toward a problematic 'type'. It's up to you to decide!