Discussion Thread: Summertime School Dress Codes, Shaming, & Gender Policing

[Content Note: Misogyny; body shaming; gender binary policing.]

It's that time of year in the US, when public school is still in session and summertime dress codes are being enforced, which inevitably leads to stories like these:

Teen Girl Accuses School of 'Shaming Girls for Their Bodies' After Being Sent Home for Wearing Shorts.

Teen Girls Sent Home from High School for 'Distracting' Boys with Their Visible Bra Straps.

Many of these policies are inherently misogynist, unhold rape culture narratives about straight male people not being able to "control themselves" around female people dressed in certain ways, and also tend to reinforce the gender binary, often in very weird ways: Many schools have policies, for either or both students and faculty, that women can wear sandals but men cannot, and/or that shorts are prohibited but skirts are allowed—but only if female people are wearing them.

So, here's a place for discussion on school dress codes generally, and what your personal experiences have been with them, either as a student, faculty or staff member, or a parent.

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When I was in middle school, we had a no-shorts policy, no matter how hot it got and irrespective of the school not having air conditioning. This meant that on very hot days, girls often wore skirts to school (as long as they hit the knee!), which bred resentment among the boys, who were not allowed to wear shorts, nor skirts, nor even kilts. (Believe me, they tried.)

It was such a shitty policy, for a number of reasons, but that sort of enforcement of the gender binary in clothing is one place where young men get bullshit ideas about "female privilege." They didn't take out their ire on the patriarchal administration who refused to accommodate their legitimate requests to wear shorts, or to wear skirts themselves; they took it out on the girls.

Similarly, scapegoating boys for a failure to "control themselves" when girls wear totally appropriate summertime clothing does not endear boys to their female classmates.

Let kids wear what they want, and address any troublemakers or bullies by telling them to stop making trouble or bullying. FFS.

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