Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Is Your School's Dress Code Sexist?

Just after Labor Day, I noticed a spike in visits to a Uniform Mom post that featured longer skirts for girls that would pass the "fingertip test".  The fingertip test is a commonly used way to determine if the length of a skirt or shorts is too short.  If a girl extends her hands down to her sides and the skirt is past her fingertips, it passes.  If it is shorter than her fingertips, it is considered too short and therefore a uniform infraction at many schools.  Sometimes, administrators make efforts at the beginning of the school year to set the tone with consistent enforcement efforts. In some cases, the school conducts some sort of mass inspection that usually results in headlines in local newspapers and on local news channels. Girls that receive warnings that their skirts are too short may be offered a change of clothes from a inventory of donated second-hand uniforms.  Other times, they may be isolated until a parent can arrive with a change of clothes that complies with code.

I thought that increase in traffic was an indication that your daughters' might be getting caught up in enforcement efforts that left you searching to find retailers that carry skirts that are long enough to pass the fingertip test. I was relieved to learn that this wasn't the case. But....

Instead, I stumbled upon a conversation regarding "slut shaming" that referenced the post.  Stelman, a writer for Addicting Info, a popular liberal blog, wrote a post that summarized recent examples of uniform policies and enforcement efforts that he found to be sexist because they selectively applied to only girls.

This lead me to a video by Laci Green, a sex education activist with a popular channel, Sex + on YouTube.  In her video on Dess Code Sexism, Laci says that the use of school dress code guidelines are not the problem, but she presents top five reasons dress code double standards are sexist. She raises many interesting points that should cause school boards and school administrators to pause and reflect on their own policies and enforcement efforts.

So what do you think? Does your school have any policies that contain these dress code double standards? Have you seen sexism in enforcement efforts or in comments by teachers or administrators? Share your thoughts or observations in the comments below.

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