Target: U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan
Goal: Create equal dress code standards to end sex shaming incidents throughout the nation.
Female students are being pulled out of their classrooms because the way they are dressed is allegedly “distracting” to male students. These female students are sometimes even sent home due to their “revealing” and “distracting” attire, and this sends a message to girls of all grade levels–they are at fault for attracting the unwanted attention of male students, and are fully responsible for any acts of assault men commit.
Experts say that sex shaming or “slut” shaming, the practice of punishing or making character judgments about people (usually women and girls) based on their sexual activity or on assumptions about their sexual activity, happens in schools if the dress code and its enforcement are focused mostly on making sure girls’ clothing isn’t “distracting” to boys. They also say that it is gendered and sexualized bullying and those students who suffer from sex shaming can eventually suffer from depression, suicide, and loneliness.
Sign the petition below to demand that dress codes across America no longer shame girls for being female.
Dear Secretary Duncan,
Forty-six percent of girls currently in middle and high school have been shamed for their dress at least once. Many female students do not want to go to school after they’re harassed and find it hard to study afterwards.
They are forced into a school environment that focuses solely on the comfort of their male students, constantly being told that they are violating the dress code because they are wearing their uniform improperly or wearing clothes that are “revealing” and “distracting” to the male students. Though it is claimed that a school’s dress code is made to help students focus on learning, violators are denied their right to learn by being pulled from the classroom entirely.
The logic behind dress codes is flawed. A women’s studies professor at the University of Michigan has proven that girls are sold uniforms that cover less of the body than typical boys’ uniform, thus making them more likely to be targeted for dress code violations. This sends the message that women are responsible for any unwanted attention they attract. It sends the message that boys can’t help themselves, which is a toxic message to send.
The gender inequality in dress codes gives way to sex shaming, rape culture, and sexism. I demand that rules be placed to make sure dress codes are enforced in a way that does not solely target girls.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Hannah Peters