“…The enemy is not lipstick but guilt itself;we deserve lipstick if we want it and free speech;we deserve to be sexual and serious or whatever we please.”Naomi Wolf
Its funny how a lot of people want to encourage body positivity, but also support dress codes.
Dress codes in schools, and sometimes even workplaces, excessively lean towards restricting what girls and women wear, not boys and men.
Are we seriously surprised that sending girls home for wearing spaghetti strap tank tops or shorts that hit more than two inches above the knees results in low self-confidence and body dysmorphia?
Are we shocked that reproaching women who wear anything but shapeless suits to the office results in victim-blaming in sexual assault cases because people think the woman was “asking for it” by wearing a mini skirt?
These dress codes reinforce the idea that the female form is something to be ashamed of,and that it is the woman’s job to cover herself up as to not be distracting to men and boys.
We get that we need to dress appropriately for different situations,like not wearing a strapless dress to the office,or a pair of underwear-length shorts to school,but most articles of clothing (like leggings) should not be any cause for concern.
I remember the first time I got sent home from school for a dress code violation. I had on my favorite a-line, red and white floral dress,white tights, and flats, so I was incredibly confused when my teacher sent me to the principal who told me my dress was an inch too short.
I didn’t understand then why that necessitated me being pulled from my class for two hours and feeling humiliated upon my return in a different outfit,and I still don’t understand now. If the point of school is to learn,the point of dress codes is to not distract from learning,yet we’re yanking female students from their classrooms for hours at a time due to dress code violations,aren’t dress codes completely illogical?
I was six years old when that happened to me,and obviously I didn’t think about the “appropriateness” of the length(it went to mid-thigh, by the way). I wore it because I loved it and it never crossed my mind that was inappropriate for school(it wasn’t).
Covering up her body is not something a six year old should be forced to think about,but so many of them have to.
So many of us struggle with feeling comfortable in our own skin, but we forget that the longest relationship we will ever have is the one we have with ourselves. If you are not happy with who you are, it makes it impossible to be happy in any other area of your life.
For a long time, I didn’t feel like myself when I interacted with people,and that projection of myself changed depending on who I was with. One day, it clicked that I don’t have to project a different “version” of myself every time I talked to someone new.
I just needed to be who I am.
This realization came after I went to college and was allowed to live–and dress–as I pleased. Its no coincidence that having creative freedom allowed me to explore and accept my true self. I can wear pajamas or a cocktail dress to class if I want to (I don’t), but knowing that I am free–and encouraged–to be myself has given me the confidence to fully express who I am,no matter the situation. I’m proud of myself and my body,and I think I probably would have gained that confidence sooner had I not been subject to a strict set of ridiculous rules when I was growing up.
If we want to cultivate a generation of strong women for the future, all girls should have the freedom to express themselves while they’re young.
As you get comfortable in your own skin, you dare to try things that are out of your comfort zone. Branching out is how you grow as a person, and girls and women should not have to wait until after high school or the weekends to do so.
Loving yourself for who you are and having the confidence to show that to the world is a huge step in life, and particularly in fashion.
Before we were given the freedom to express ourselves, we mostly stuck to clothes that were neither risky nor risque. Getting comfortable in our own skin was a phase of fashionability that we recently went through, and we’ve emerged more stylish and more ourselves than ever before.
“When you send a girl home from school because her shorts are too short or her clothes are immodest, you are telling her that hiding her body is more important than her education. You are telling her that making sure the boys have a distraction-free learning environment is more important than her education.In a way, you’re telling her that the boys are more entitled to an education than she is, and that isn’t acceptable.”