OMG what is she wearing? She’s just asking for it.

When I was 17, I was privately and publicly shamed by an administrator in my school. A woman I respected and admired told me that I couldn’t dress like the other girls. Because I had a more voluptuous body, a body I was already ashamed of because it was bigger than most teen girls, a body that I’d kill to have back, but one that I didn’t understand apparently held power against horny teenage boys. (I’ll tell you a secret, though: it didn’t. My body was not what teenage boys were looking for. It was¬†something adult men found attractive, though. And I suppose THAT’S why I was told that my outfit was unacceptable.)

Rape culture and dress codes

What was I wearing you ask?

In the peak of the new Millennium, I could have been wearing a tiny crop top and tight flared jeans. Short shorts and a skimpy tank. A two-piece prom dress that left nothing to the imagination.

But I was stylish in my short overalls with thick straps and a fully covered abdomen. The problem was in the strapless tube top that covered my breasts and stomach. It gasp showed my shoulders. But not any more than one of the very popular camisoles of the time. Not any more revealing than anything any of my cheerleading peers, who were much thinner than me, were wearing on that warm May afternoon.

And I was called out. By a female administrator whose name I still remember with crystal clarity. Who tried to mark me as her equal in womanhood.

“Women like us have to be conscientious of how we dress. We can’t wear the same clothes as the other girls.”

She was nothing like me. Tall, thin, in her mid to late 40’s. She didn’t understand me. She didn’t know me. And she certainly wasn’t like me.

But she did have the power to make me wear an old hoodie from the bottom of my locker over my overalls the rest of the day. The rest of that hot, spring day in an un-air-conditioned high school.

And I did. Because I was terrified of getting in trouble (save all those tardy detentions). Because I believed in authority. Because, at 17, I was already ashamed enough of my body.

This is what rape culture looks like. Rape culture shames a woman or a young girl into thinking she can’t dress a certain way, because boys and men can’t control themselves.

Rape culture lets men like Brock Turner out of jail after 3 short months, even though he ruined a woman’s life. He violated her body, and because of his “bright” future, he got off easy.

Brock Turner is¬†out of jail. Do you remember him? You should. And you should probably stay away from him. Because he can’t control himself around women. And instead of the government keeping him away from and protecting us, we must do our best to stay away from him. We’re told to dress less provocatively and not to drink alcohol, instead of men like Brock being told not to fucking rape.

Well, I’m sick of this bullshit. For 16 years, I’ve held that memory of the school administrator telling me that “women like us need to be careful what we wear” for far too long. And school dress codes that favor boys, limit girls and promote rape culture need to disappear.

Let’s teach the right way to behave and stop worrying how people dress.

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!

Monday Memories: Dress Code Discrimination?

I read about this controversial dress code from Delightfully Ludicrous and I just knew that a rant had to happen.

So I thought I could make it more fun by offering you my very own dress code story and incorporating it into Monday Memories.

Monday Memories

So today, friends, Monday Memories is all about dress codes.

First and foremost, I want to state for the record that it’s a sad sad state of things when the dress code of a child in kindergarten is considered compromised. The fact that it needs to exist at all? Baffling.

I got in trouble in grade school for wearing a tee-shirt featuring Spuds McKenzie, because it represented beer.

But never in a million years would my mother have let me out of the house in a freaking push up bra at 7. Or a thong. A freakin’ thong. I see younger and younger girls at Victoria’s Secret every time I stop in. (Which is a lot, because I have an obsession. And it’s not with their underwear. Yoga pants. Yoga crops. Yoga leggings. Yoga shorts.) But these little girls are buying thongs.

I STILL don’t like thongs.

So back to dress codes. After watching the news clip of the little girl who got in trouble for wearing a hello kitty outfit with a skort and tights (for the skort being “too short”), I was appalled. And annoyed. Because school administrators are very picky about who has to turn their shirts inside out, who has to wear their gym clothes, who has to be sent home. I feel like they may have discriminated against this girl. Not necessarily because of her race, but for anything. Maybe the school didn’t like the way her mother dressed. Maybe the school admins didn’t like the mother. I don’t know, but I don’t like it.

It happened to me once in high school. Because I was the chubby girl. Now in high school, I wasn’t fat. But I was bigger than a lot of the other girls. One of my favorite go-to warm-weather clothing items (when I wasn’t wearing pajamas to school-which I did a lot) was a tube top and overall shorts. I know. Classy. But I liked it. I thought I looked nice. My mom thought I looked nice. The overalls had straps that fit the school’s dress code criteria and lots of girls dressed that way. It wasn’t revealing. At all.

But one day I got pulled to the side by an administrator who politely informed me that it was gym shirt or get sent home. I had a sweatshirt in my locker that I was able to throw over my outfit (though I was sweltering) and I made it through the day. She was discriminating against me, because I was the chubby girl with boobs. She basically told me it was because girls with chests shouldn’t wear clothing like I was wearing. There wasn’t even cleavage showing (well, not any more than the skinny girls showed, anyways).

dress code discrimination

This was not the set in question. This was actually MORE revealing than the one that got me in trouble. I wore this on the last week of school as a “Fuck You” to the administrator who called me out the first time. Guess what? No one said a word. So they pick and choose their battles.

I was pissed, but I survived. And fortunately so will the little girl in her Hello Kitty cuteness. Let’s just hope she doesn’t start shopping and A&F or Victoria’s Secret for bras and thongs next year when she’s 7.

Go visit Lily at It’s a Dome Life for more dress code memories!

So what about you guys? Ever felt like someone in charge was calling you out because you were different?

 

Hey! Did you know you can buy my book on Amazon? 37 women wrote about the struggle for perfection, and I'm one of 'em. Go check it out!