Target: Principal Noseworthy of Menihek High School
Goal: Change sexist dress code and recant statements about girls’ clothing
As global temperatures rise, many people turn to lighter clothing to keep cool. However, high school girls may find themselves with harsh reprimands, detentions, or other punishments for wearing tank tops, showing bra straps, or wearing shorts because it may “distract” boys and male teachers. Menihek High School in Canada recently sent several girls home for exposed bra straps because they may encourage “unwanted attention” from male students or distract the boys from their studies.
This is a blatantly sexist code that assumes women and girls should be responsible for the actions of men and boys depending on what the women and girls wear. What a girl wears should have no impact on how she is treated; no one deserves harassment or any type of abuse for what one wears. In addition, the boys and men in the school should be responsible for their own behaviors towards the girls, as the girls have no obligation to dress for the males. The young female students should have the opportunity to dress appropriately for the weather of the incoming summer. Instead of being concerned about the girls’ clothing, the school should focus on education to prevent sexist attitudes and actions towards the young women.
The letter below requests that the school modify its dress code to not be discriminatory towards women. In addition, it demands that the school recant its sexist statements pertaining to the way the girls must dress as not to “distract” the boys.
Dear Principal Noseworthy,
I recently became aware of a dress code policy in Menihek High School that unjustly targets young women and girls. Sending home the approximately 30 girls for supposedly inappropriate clothing is plainly sexist and discriminatory against women and their clothing choices. With rising temperatures comes somewhat more revealing clothing, to cool off. Women and girls should have the same opportunities to wear similar clothing as men, without the negative repercussions.
The statement made by the school that bra straps and tank tops are “distracting” to the boys and male teachers is blatantly sexist. The female students are not responsible for dressing as the boys want them to, nor should they dress to keep themselves hidden from the boys’ view. The young men and boys at your school are very capable of containing their minds and bodies. Please revise your statement to the public to remove the sexism and admit wrongdoing in punishing the young women for their supposedly “revealing” clothing. In addition, remove the comments about how “boys will be boys,” which are also sexist and gives young men a pass to act as they wish towards their female students.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Marcela via Wikimedia Commons