Posted by: colettebelden | January 21, 2016

Take a Stand

I highly encourage all of you to watch this video about our society’s dress codes and how women are discriminated against on a daily basis. Laci Green makes so many bold and completely true statements about our societies accepted way of shaming girls from a young age about their bodies and telling them that they are meant for sexual desire and for men to gawk at. She lays out every aspect of female dress code in our society and why it is so flawed, and I love how completely realistic it is.

“Guidelines themselves aren’t the problem. The problem is when these codes target girls specifically because they tell you that your body is sexual and distracting.”

5 problems with the dress code trend are:

  1. “It tells girls, many of which are children, that their bodies are inherently sexual. Tells her she’s not entitled to decency and respect if her skin is showing… Tells girls that their bodies are more sexual than boys. That she is the object, and he is the subject. The consumer. Girls come to see their bodies through the lens of uncontrollable male desire instead of her own wants and her own needs.”
  2. “Tells boys, many of who are children I might add, that girls bodies are inherently sexual regardless of context. Teaches boys that its acceptable to disrespect girls and misbehave when they can see her skin. Instead of teaching boys that they are responsible for their own actions, it teaches them that girls are responsible for them.”
  3.  “Body shaming.”
  4. “Administrators are punishing girls with detention, public humiliation, expulsion, mandatory assemblies. These ‘accommodations’ for boys cannot legally come at the expense of girl’s education.”
  5. “The reality of middle school and high school is that everybody is distracted.”

Laci’s video speaks to me because, not only does she lay out all of the problems with societies views on girl’s dress codes, she also talks about active steps to change the way our society views of girls. She is a leader in that she gives a passionate speech with specific examples, but she also gives the audience a plan of attack in order to combat what society says. The last section of her video is labeled “Let’s Take Action” and she states that girls who are feeling victim to the dress code should speak up and protest, contact local administrators, the paper, and reach out to other students. She mentioned the the hashtag #immorethanadistraction as a way to get the conversation going on social media, which I believe is such a powerful phrase. It counters the commonly used argument that girls are a “distraction” to boys. We are more than a distraction, we are human beings who should be treated with the same respect boys without hesitation.

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Responses

  1. It is interesting how we can also relate this same idea back to the sports video of comments that would never be made to male athletes. It may be a double standard that exists, and it makes me think of the reading that discusses how the masculine traditions and practices are so ingrained in the culture of a company, such as with their executive retreats, or the way they make decisions. It’s possible that the dress code for girls is a lingering result of the way that women used to not have as much power, and may even have to compromise their own wants to accommodate others. This gets to the idea of the discrimination that isn’t as blatant anymore, but has changed forms and is much harder to detect.

  2. These dress code issues mentioned in the video were a huge problem in my high school. There was a time when one of my friends was wearing a white, short sleeved t-shirt and got “dress coded” because the faculty member could see the straps of the tank top she was wearing underneath the shirt. In middle school, I was told I needed to “cover up” because I was wearing a tank top, even though it fit the “2 finger rule” stating that the straps of the tank top had to be two fingers thick in order to be appropriate. During the years it is most important for both boys and girls to learn that all humans are equal, both groups are being taught that women are objects. This continues even beyond high school. At the on campus gym last year, one of my friends was told to change into a t-shirt that was more appropriate because her sports bra could be seen. She pointed out that the men at the gym were wearing the same types of shirts and they weren’t getting told it was inappropriate. Teaching children that girls are objects that starts all the way back in elementary school, is furthering the notion that as adults, women aren’t equal to men. By eliminating the idea that girls will distract boys in school with their clothes, our society will be able to take a huge step in portraying women as equal and not objectifying them.

  3. I think many of us can think back to examples of this, weather it be from high school or maybe last week on campus. There seems to be no escaping of this idea of “dress code sexism.” From a leadership perspective, I think Laci making these videos, although she probably isn’t the only one, shows great initiative and effort to getting the voices of young women heard. It was very startling to me that a kindergartener had to change because her skort was too short. Hello, there are shorts underneath people! Also, what is this saying about the leaders in charge who are making these comments? It seems like they should be standing up for equality rather than the shaming of just women and their dress code.

  4. I found this post to be very interesting and while it did bring up a lot of good points, I also think it’s missed some main points as well. I completely agree with the fact that the male gaze being extremely prevalent in American culture and that women are hypersexualized. However, I wish this video would have mentioned the hypersexualization of males’ bodies. Hypersexualization of both male and female bodies happens all the time in American culture. Think about the cover of Men’s Health magazine. It is always a toned, rather buff male and a lot of the time, that male is shirtless. In terms of the leadership perspective, I agree with lindseytate22 that Laci Green is taking initiative to draw attention to this issue. We have to start somewhere and YouTube is a good place to start and get awareness out there. This video has received over 845,000 views. Obviously there are people out there who recognize the issue. The question is, who is willing to take the initiative to enact change?

  5. School dress codes will always be a controversial issue in America. We are the nation of freedom and all things fair, yet students are not free to wear what they want. As this video drawls to our attention dress codes are also not fair because they target female students. However, I agree that there do need to be limits on what students can and cannot wear. In college mature adult students are free to wear what they please. Most of us chose acceptable clothing, but some do not. Not naming names, but I had a girl in one of my classes last semester wear a crop top to class for three weeks straight. She distracted me! Rules are not made because most people will misuse there freedom, but for the few who will. I do agree the dress code rules should be enforced equally for both genders. Laci brings up good points about how the current rules lead to body shaming and boys taking little responsibility for there part (“boys will be boys). Girls are not objects and changes do need to be made so that at a young age this idea is not ingrained into our minds. I like that she gives suggestion to make the necessary change and does not simply list the problems.

  6. After watching the video posted I did research of my own into dress code violations. Stephanie Hughes (pictured below), a Kentucky high school student, got reprimanded for having her collarbones exposed and then when she covered her collarbones up with a scarf her mother brought her, she was sent home because it wasn’t enough. To me a rule regarding collarbones is a little bit overkill.

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    /Users/AlexisSpain/Desktop/11898666_10205048473826905_8362071484895651630_n.jpg

    See at my high school, we had to change into our gym uniform when we were called out for improper attire. We were not allowed to wear spaghetti straps, pants/skirts/dresses anymore than 2 inches above our knee, or heels anymore than 2 inches high. I don’t know one female that didn’t get called out at some point or another, myself included. Honestly I felt they were stupid rules then and stupid rules now.

    Personally, I just don’t like the gender branding that takes place while enforcing the dress code. Females are more frequently called out than men when it comes to breaking the rules. In fact, the only rule that was in place at my high school for men’s dress code was that men could not sag their pants. That being said, I can’t recall any boy ever being reproached for his dress even though they often broke it. That is what truly angers me— the double standard on rules and regulation of dress, one gender being picked on more than the other. It just reinforces the patriarchal notion that men are above not only formalized rules, but above women. What kind of example does this set for young adults preparing for college and the real world? Not a good one. I would say that the unfair bias towards calling out women’s dress, because women are oh so sexualized at 14 and 15 years old, is darn right silly. Yes hormones are raging and bodies are changing, but that doesn’t mean that one gender should be objectified. After all as the video noted: “girls have sexual feelings too”.

    All of this being said, below attached is video appropriately named “girls fight back over school dress code” that addresses some of the ways that young women are taking control of how girl’s dress in school arenas are seen. I find campaigns such as these vital to combating the blatantly sexist dress codes in affect, or rather the sexists that are delving out the dress code citations. This type of leadership is righteous. This type of leadership is needed.

  7. I agree that there should be some type of dress code in place for minors. However, one that is far less extreme than the ones that are in place today. Girls should be able to wear weather appropriate attire and feel comfortable. They should be allowed to wear tank tops without the “two finger rule” and shorts that are above the knee. The problem is not what girls are wearing, but instead how they are treated for what they wear. If children were told from an early age that what they wear does not define them and did not learn to view girls as sexual objects instead of people, then we would be better off as a society.

  8. This was a great post, especially since it included Laci Green, who is really changing the game on Youtube and MTV. She really is a wonderful example of not only a woman reshaping the word feminist but also being a leader in her own business. She sets her own work schedule and talks freely and openly about what she chooses.

    I’ve never went to a school that didn’t have a full school uniform, so this type of “dress code” is completely foreign to me. It’s very strange to think that girls have to miss school because of the choice of top they wear today. I would think that some female administration would speak up on the behalf of the young girls.


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