The U.S. Open tennis champion’s biracial identity is inconvenient in a racist narrative that turns Serena Williams into a stereotype.
Posted onSeptember 20, 2017
A school in Illinois is showing the potential of Oregon’s gender-neutral dress code model.
Posted onSeptember 2, 2016
September 1, 2016
Alisa, a seventh-grader, told a story of a friend who was pulled aside one day for wearing a skirt deemed to be too short. The friend sat in the principal’s office for hours while the staff tried to get ahold of her parents. She missed important classwork, and worse yet, felt humiliated by the ordeal.
“The only reason I go to school is to get my education,” Alisa told the board. “When I get dressed in the morning, my intention is not to provoke or be sexualized. My intention is to feel comfortable in my own skin.”
Sophia, also in seventh grade at the time, spoke last. “My problem with the dress code is that 100% of the students that get sent home are female. … In a way, you’re telling [a girl] that boys are more entitled to their education than she is. And I don’t think that’s acceptable.”
They were absolutely right. Because if you’re a preteen or teenage girl in America, you can get a dress code violation for almost anything: showing your midriff, shoulder, collarbone, leg, bra strap, or, in some cases, for just wearing something as harmless as spaghetti straps.
Girls who violate their schools’ dress codes are accused of being distractions and are often humiliated in front of their classmates.
They’re then either sent home to change (missing valuable class time) or forced to cover up with “shame clothes,” like old sweatpants that have been lying around the guidance counselor’s office for who knows how long.
This has been a problem for years, and a particularly frustrating one to solve. Almost everyone agrees schools need some kind of dress code, but almost no one can agree on what that should look like.
Posted onMay 9, 2016
Alissa Adams is a senior at Desert Ridge High School in Mesa, Arizona. She is one of the students who took offense to a sexist poster the school librarian put up last week that compare girls to a piece of “meat” and boys as “wolves.” The poster implied that when girls dress scantily to be “cute,” then boys see them as “meat,” and then those same boys/”wolves” go on to get lousy grades because they were distracted. In the end, the poster suggests the girls end up with said “loser” boyfriends “because they thought you looked HOT.”
It’s not the first time males and females have been described as “meat” and “wolves,” and though it can be a joke to some, it was not funny to Adams and some of the other students, male and female. Nicky Woolf with The Guardian spoke with Adams who said she was in disbelief when she first saw and read the poster which clearly implied the way girls dressed would/could be a cause for boys to fail. She asked the librarian to take it down. The librarian refused. Adams took to social media. Before tweeting it out, Adams wrote the twitter hashtag #feminism on the poster, adding:
“So it’s the girls’ fault, right?”
Adams said her tweet received thousands of supportive comments. There were some negative sprinkled in — some that implied Adams was too young and would better understand the poster when she got older. She retorted:
“I’m pretty sure I can understand a sexist poster now.”
The next day the school poster was removed. Adams felt like it was a “win.” A spokesman for Gilbert Schools said that once the poster was brought to the principal’s attention, it was taken down, adding it was “not reflective of the spirit and community of Desert Ridge High School or the Gilbert Public Schools District.” Well, that’s good to hear.
Cheers to Alissa Adams and all the students at Desert Ridge. There is hope for a promising tomorrow with young people like this. And how great it is when social media is used for the good.
Of course, there are no dress codes for boys, only for girls. As one student said: “Somehow my shoulders are sexualized. Like it’s my responsibility to make sure the boys’ thoughts are not unclean.”