Students protest 'sexist dress code' with #showyourshoulders
When one student realized how sexist her Illinois school district's dress code was, she and her friends banded together to launch a social media campaign encouraging female students to #showyourshoulders.
The group of girls at McHenry East and West High Schools believe that the dress code teaches students that boys and men are unable to control themselves and sexualize women's shoulders when they are exposed. Sophomore Hailey Everhart, one of the students who launched the protest, told NBC Chicago:
"If you wear a sundress, the administration will come up to you and ask you to put on your jacket or leave class."
When Everhart asked some of her friends if they wanted to take a stand with her, they were all in. Sophomore Dani Herreweyers suggested that they create a Facebook group to promote their protest. The "about" section of the page reads:
"This page is to get the attention of schools that limit girls to what they should wear to school because we will distract boys from learning, when the reality is the schools should be teaching boys not to think of girls as sexual objects. The girls who made this page are from MCHS, a school that frowns upon showing shoulders, if you do, you will get yelled at to cover up, even if it's hot out and you're just trying to stay cool like everyone else. We would like to let the school (and all schools that have this rule) know we do not agree with this rule, we believe it is teaching girls at an early age that boys are always looking at their bodies. The dress code is shaming women for being women, that shoulders are in no way sexual. We still believe there should be boundaries, we are not trying to encourage girls to show more skin, but rather to be comfortable in their skin and what they wear. Girls should be able to feel good in what they wear, not be shamed for it!"
That Thursday, both male and female students were asked to attend school sporting bare shoulders in an effort to send their message to the faculty. They wrote on the Facebook page:
"If you get in trouble Thursday and are asked to change just simple say 'I am peacefully protesting and " am not going to change.' The most they can really do is make you sit in ISS, which won't even be terrible with the amount of people they will have to send there."
Taking the protest a step further, sophomore Emily Spooner took the campaign to Instagram by creating the account @showyourshoulders. The Instagram page features images of outfits female students have gotten in trouble for wearing. The girls also implemented the hashtag #showyourshoulders.
The school administrators released a statement saying:
"The dress code policy is conducive to the district as well as the students. It's unfortunate that some parents and students don't adhere to this policy."
What do you think of this school district's strict dress code? Let us know in the comments.
Watch this video to see how students at other schools are combatting dress codes that they consider to be sexist:
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