Boys Stand with Girls Against Sexist Dress Code

When more than 20 girls were sent home on the first day of school for violating an outdated dress code, the boys stood with them — shoulder to shoulder.

When girls returned to San Benito High School in Hollister, Calif., on August 14th, they received a bit of a rude shock. According to one student, more than 20 girls were sent home on the first day for wearing off-the-shoulder tops.

While the style was technically against the school dress code, students claim it had been allowed fin the past.

“The dress code policy hasn’t been an issue the past two years I have been here,” one anonymous student told Yahoo. “Off-the-shoulder is a very big trend in the fashion industry right now,” she adds. “It’s not harming anyone physically….I think it is ridiculous how we have to fight against [the administration] to wear a shirt that is not harming anyone.”

The next day, the girls rallied and decided to protest the outdated and sexist dress code by wearing off-the-shoulder tops again And this time, they were joined by the boys.

Two senior boys named Aydrian and Brody wore off-the-shoulder shirts on Monday. On Tuesday, senior Andrei Vladimirov joined them. All were sent home, along with more than 40 girls. And just listen to what Andrei told The Huffington Post:

“I felt bold and subversive, as I actually, physically oppressed something that I saw as wrong,” Vladimirov said, adding, “But this story isn’t about me, it is about those who are actually affected by dress codes.”

“What I find problematic about this [keep kids safe] response is that if someone did try to assault a woman, the responsibility should lie solely on the attacker, not the victim,” he continued. “A woman never ‘asks’ to be objectified, assaulted or raped ― and such thinking is what creates harmful consequences. Women deserve to be treated with respect ― and to be treated with respect is to be given the freedom to express one’s self, and hold agency as an individual.”

“The notion that women should clothe themselves because it is ‘distracting to men’ undermines both the agency and volition of women ― which has long been suppressed ― and the maturity of men, and reinforces the idea that all men are only concerned with sex,” he concluded.

Wow.

Another male student pointed out the apparent hypocrisy that the girls have been allowed to wear off-the-shoulder tops in official yearbook photos in years past.

Perhaps the best part of these minor acts of civil disobedience is the response of the school’s administration. Rather than digging in their heels and cracking down on infractions, they are using this as a learning opportunity.

“The students have been really good — really respectful and cooperative in terms of talking to us,” Principal Adrian Ramirez told Yahoo. “I’ve had 20 to 25 students who have come in to meet with me in small groups or individually and it’s been a good process in getting their insights in regards to some of the issues.”

Ramirez met with the Associated Student Body group on August 17 to announce that he will assemble a committee of students “to start a conversation regarding dress code. I already have several students who are interested in being a part of it. The goal is to make sure they are heard and can express their opinions and concerns.”

While we don’t yet know the resolution, we  must commend the girls, their male allies and the administration are handling the issue.

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John Marcotte

John Marcotte

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