Imagine for a moment, what it’s like to be a girl. When I say this, I am not referring to drama or heartbreak, or that time of month. I am not talking about shopping or gossiping or betrayal. I’m talking about what it feels like to walk down the halls and feel the stares on you, what it’s like to hear the obnoxious cat-calls and whistles from boys; and even judgemental whispers from fellow girls. But worst of all – to feel your heart sink and your confidence crumble away as a staff member tells you that your favourite shirt is “too revealing” or “inappropriate for school”. Many of you, after hearing this, may think that I’m nothing but a stubborn feminist. I would rather be this, than be completely complicit in my own dehumanization
When I was younger, I was considerably fearless. I would walk into school without a care in my mind, without a single negative thought. Without the persistent nagging in the back of my mind, telling me that boys were staring and girls were judging. I would walk into school in a dress – and I would have never thought that it could ever be more important than my education.
Every day, girls are getting dress-coded for wearing clothing that they like and are comfortable wearing. If you don’t know, dress-code, by definition; “Is a set of rules specifying the required manner of dress at a school or office.”
Today, I wish I was as audacious as I was before. I wish I had the courage to walk through the halls and feel confident with every step I take.
But I’m not.
I can’t wear a dress out of annoyance and even fear that some boy as well as a staff member may call me out on it. In the summertime, girls tend to wear less clothing. And they believe that it’s okay – because nobody wants to suffer through the boiling heat outside and the stuffiness of inside a classroom in 35 plus degree weather. Yet something as simple as a bra strap or “too short” shorts can ultimately send a girl home if she doesn’t have anything to change into. By dress-coding a girl, you’re letting her know that her confidence is irrelevant. It doesn’t matter if it took her years to feel this way in her own skin. You’re also letting her know that her body and her choice in clothing is more important than her actual education.
If a girl is finally comfortable in her own skin, why are you shaming it?
Girls should be able to dress in clothes that make her feel comfortable as well as confident. She should not feel ashamed for showing her shoulder. I don’t even know when and how shoulders became sexual, as they aren’t even a genital.
Why is it that you “promote” feminism and urge girls to feel confident in themselves, and then knock them down and slut-shame them up to the point where you make them feel shameful and embarrassed for having a proper human anatomy? You are making me feel apologetic for how I was born, rather than making me feel apologetic for not studying for a test.
So why is it considered okay to target and punish girls for dress-code violations, but not boys? Boys can low-ride, and show their arms, shoulders, or legs – and nobody would bat an eyelash. You don’t see staff members giving them calculating looks or hear girls whistling at them. But, God forbid, a girl showed her shoulder, right? You say it’s a professional place … or does that rule only apply to girls as well? Boys are never told to “cover up” for showing their body parts. They are seen as human. Yet when a girl wears a skirt, she is classified as a “slut” or promiscuous.
A girl should not be walking down the hallway feeling raw and vulnerable, like a piece of meat.
I’m so sick of adults as well as boys telling girls that they’re “asking for it”. NO. NOBODY asks to be raped, violated and left in a vulnerable state. No girl asks for fear in the back of her mind when she goes out at night. No girl asks for any type of sexual attention whatsoever.
And STOP telling girls that “Boys will be boys.” NO. I shouldn’t have to hide myself out of sheer embarrassment because “boys will be boys”. Don’t tell me I “distract boys”. I’m sorry, but I don’t remember my shorts giving you an F on your test. When you tell me that my choice in clothing distracts boys, you’re putting their education and “special needs” before mine. It is not my fault that they get distracted. Boys not being under control of their hormones is not my, as well as any other girl’s problem. You are making me feel guilty and ashamed for other people’s lack of self-control. And I can assure you – every girl you ask will tell you that she seeks comfort in the clothing she wears, not sexual attention.
Stop blaming girls and start realizing that it’s the real violators who need to be blamed – the ones who sexualize our bodies. Stop making me as well as other girls feel like this is our fault. It’s not.
I am a 15 year old girl. If you’re making me feel apologetic and shameful whilst sexualizing my body parts, then YOU are the problem.