In our experience, if you tell someone you’re working to change school dress codes, they’re most likely to respond in one of two ways. They might share an experience of being shamed for their attire or their general appearance. Or they might ask “What if everyone comes to school naked?!”
This past weekend, a friend of the End Dress Codes collective mentioned our work at a party. In response, a fellow partygoer shared the following anecdote: as an adolescent, her body began to develop earlier than most of her peers’. During the summer before she began high school, she went on a whitewater rafting trip with other youth. In the middle of the trip, a male chaperone took her aside and told her that it was inappropriate for her to wear a tank top — she alone would have to wear a more substantial shirt. She spent the rest of the trip feeling singled-out and ashamed.
We wish we could track down that male chaperone and recite the title of this Jezebel post to him: “Large Busted Women in Tank Tops Are Only Too Revealing If You’re And A-Hole or a Pervert“!
From the comments:
This exact scenario has happened to me my whole life. I have a very distinct memory of wearing a tank top in high school gym and being told never to wear it again. I pointed out a girl in the class wearing the same exact shirt, and was told “it’s different on her”.
I also once got pulled into the vice principals office in middle school for a dress code violation because a sliver of skin on my side showed when I raised my hand in class. As I was being escorted there, we encountered another, much tinier girl in my class in the hall. She was wearing a full on belly shirt. Like, could see her belly button while she was standing there with her arms at her sides. My vice principal spoke to her, asked how her day was going, then continued to drag me to her office to change into the xxxl gym shirt that was given to dress code violators to wear for the rest of the day.