What should girls wear to school? Whatever they want. - The Orca
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What should girls wear to school? Whatever they want.

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School dress codes should be about respect – not punishing girls for being girls

The fashion police need to sit down. Chilliwack, I’m talking to you.

No one is questioning that teenage girls can = a fashion disaster, perhaps now more so than ever. That said, it is unequivocally ridiculous to try to change the dress code based on how a teacher might be tempted.

I’m going to cut to the chase here, the Middle on dress codes in school is this: same rules for boys and girls based in respect of the school.

That’s it.

The argument over attire is about how “distracting” a female student’s breasts might be to male students…and apparently some male teachers.

Girls should wear whatever they want to without fear of being assaulted by an untamed male libido.

Never, ever, should dress codes be based in ensuring that boys (and again – their teachers) aren’t tempted.

Having been a teenaged girl, I can tell you that my public school didn’t need to police my attire ever — my parents did that when they bought the clothes. Public school trustees should not be allowed to dictate what kids do or do not wear at a public school.

Here we are in 2019. Women are claiming equality in new ways, hourly. That we are being inundated by incredibly old school notions – and motions – from school trustees like Heather Maahs and Darrell Furgason is mindboggling.

Trustee Willow Reichelt made the original motion to have the district dress code policy cover all schools, rather than leave things up to each school, it passed because it’s the right thing for all.

At issue was the fact that ‘some schools’ were targeting girls. Reichelt pitched the policy should halt restrictions on skirt and short lengths, as well as spaghetti straps and visible bra straps — bra straps, are you serious? These girls could arrive braless, if they so chose.

Schools need to teach boys that regardless of what a girl (woman) wears is irrelevant, that person should be treated with respect.

Maahs and Furgason proudly trumpet their staunch religious beliefs as the basis for their platforms. In so doing, they’re targeting teenage girls square in the chest.

Oh how I wish I could have been present to rebut the argument that a tank-top equals a green light to be ogled. My counter would be: how about our schools are a place where kids learn that leering, lewd comments and cat-calls are inappropriate sexualized harassment?

That the men and boys are not the ones being “addressed” here is a serious issue. Furgason said that if dress codes were eliminated, male students might show up to school in swim suits and underwear. Really?

“Girls shouldn’t be allowed to dress provocatively for fear of boys (or teachers) being tempted,” said Furgason at a recent debate on dress codes.

Don’t change the dress code; change the bro code.

I saw a quote by Furgason that made my head explode: “Having girls with cleavage exposed, you may think that’s their right…” He went on from there, but it is irrelevant — Damn right it is their right!

Even using the word “cleavage” is archaic — they are called breasts, they grow at varying sizes during the teen years, and they are beautiful. Being a well-endowed/busty teenager, I can tell you that it’s hard enough fitting in to the latest fashions alongside your BFFs without it being a schoolwide controversy. Making it a big deal is the real damage. Stop it.

Now, if these body parts tempt you as a teacher, or trustee — I think you’ve chosen the wrong line of work.

If students are being lewd, that is a teachable moment. Those young men need role models explaining how it’s not appropriate to judge a girl by her cleavage.

I’ve never understood how some private schools dress girls in plaid pleated skirts while boys could wear walking shorts – yet girls are not allowed to wear those shorts.

I would have lost my mind if my high school years were spent in a skirt. I’m a tomboy, I wore my brother’s hand-me-downs.

There is absolutely Middle ground to be found on the dress code in schools debate: it’s called common sense.

There should be restrictions on some things in class: no inappropriate or politically charged logos, no hats or exposed underwear (bra straps are not underwear) and pants pulled up.

Come to school dressed for respect.

 

Jody Vance is a born and raised Vancouverite who’s spent 30 years in both local and national media. The first woman in the history of Canadian TV to host her own sports show in primetime, since 2011 she’s been working in both TV and radio covering news and current affairs.

 

SWIM ON