Each month we round up dress code (and dress code-adjacent) stories that we’ve encountered, or that we’ve been thinking about. (Revisit back issues from July, June, May, and April.) Please send us suggestions!
We can’t tell you what Toronto’s October 22 election will look like, but we can tell you what eleven of the 43 registered TDSB Trustee candidates think about school dress codes. If your ward’s candidates haven’t provided responses, we encourage you to reach out to them to ask what they think about revising the Appropriate Dress policy. Let us know if you hear back!
In tennis news:
Alize Cornet was hit with a code violation at the US Open for realizing her shirt was on backwards and taking it off to put it on frontwards.
The first code violation issued to a player is a warning so it didn’t cost Cornet any points, but the fact that it happened in the first place is a joke, considering male tennis players are allowed to take their shirts off and put on fresh ones as often as they want during a match, without leaving the court. They often sit shirtless during changeovers and between sets and no one is scandalized
Serena Williams was barred from wearing a catsuit at the French Open.
The French Tennis Federation president, Bernard Giudicelli, says the tournament that Williams has won three times is introducing a dress code to regulate players’ uniforms because “I think that sometimes we’ve gone too far.”
In an interview in Tennis Magazine’s 500th edition, Giudicelli singled out the figure-hugging black suit that Williams wore this year at Roland Garros and said made her feel like a superhero.
Giudicelli said: “It will no longer be accepted. One must respect the game and the place.”
Cornet thinks Giudicelli’s shaming of Williams is especially egregious:
“What Bernard Giudicelli said about Serena’s catsuit was 10,000 times worse than what happened to me on the court yesterday, because he’s the president of French Federation and because he doesn’t have to do that,” Cornet said at Flushing Meadows Wednesday.
The 28-year-old Cornet added Giudicelli “lives in another time,” while elsewhere the drive for sexual equality in tennis was “on the right path” with “everybody working in the same direction.”
“Then we still have some people, like, the president of my federation that lives in another, you know, time, and can still do these kind of comments. They are totally for me shocking, and, I mean, I’m just saying what I think.”
Amira Rasool puts Giudicelli’s comments in context:
For centuries, black women have been exploited and criticized for their appearance, and subsequently placed in lesser positions socially, economically, and politically. The exploitative measures that forced South African-born Sarah Baartman into performing at European “freak shows” in the 17th century, and required enslaved African women to serve as reproduction machines, have manifested today in more covert ways. In the case of The French Open, the tournament appears to sanction Serena’s use of her stellar physical makeup to fill arenas, but does not feel comfortable allowing her to do so outside the boundaries of Europe’s conservative and white-washed physical standards. This is made even more clear by the recent revelation that white female tennis players, like Anne White, have worn catsuits in the past without any consequences or grand criticisms. It’s clear that this catsuit ban is one of the many attacks on black women’s physiques…
If you prefer a response to Giudicelli that is soaked in sarcasm, here’s Laura Wagner:
AWOOOO! I guess Bernie thinks the baggy burlap sacks that all other women’s tennis players are wearing will protect men from being forced to objectify a woman’s body. Either that or there’s something else about Serena Williams that he thinks doesn’t “respect the game and the place.” But what could it be???
In Arizona, Valentino refuses to take off a bandana that other (white) students are wearing with impunity, so a teacher calls the cops. The cops handcuff him, charge him with disorderly conduct, and detain him for six hours.
The school policy that enabled the teacher to harass Valentino in the first place is not dissimilar from provisions that are common in TDSB school dress codes:
…the presence of any apparel, jewelry, accessory, or manner of dress or grooming that, by virtue of its color, arrangement, trademark, symbol, or any other attribute indicates or implies membership or affiliation with such a group [is prohibited].
In Houston, an elementary school sought to inspire students with the timeless words of Sydney Biddle Barrows:
Again: this message is spread in TDSB schools, too.
If you’re looking for back to school style inspo, check out BbyMutha talking about her personal style!