I’m writing in as a concerned parent. My daughter, 11, is attending a local middle school. She is in the sixth grade and loves school. She loves to read and has always done well in school. Up until this week she had been coming home so excited to tell me about her day. But this week she came home disheartened and ashamed.
My daughter is very modest and doesn’t like showing a lot of skin but regardless of this she, and the entire female student body, were taken out of class to attend an assembly where these young girls were lectured on dress code. This lecture left girls feeling ashamed and threatened. They were told their bodies are considered a distraction and that they were “pushing it” so from now on, they would be given in/out school suspension if they were caught in violation. They were also told that certain kinds of clothing (for example, leggings) don’t leave anything to mystery and they should want to “save that for marriage."
Mind you, these girls are between the ages of 11-14. I also could care less if they were 18. By allowing this, the school is sending a message that girls are responsible for how a boy behaves and we are encouraging the mindset of “she was asking for it." These girls were also reprimanded for speaking up about the sexist nature of this assembly. They were dismissed when asking questions to clarify the rules, and they were told it wouldn’t matter if they told their parents because it’s not up to parents and their parents can’t do anything to help them. I refuse to accept this treatment for our daughters. Right now, these girls get up in the morning to get dressed and either feel stressed that they may be seen in violation, or feel they have to give up their right to express themselves to keep from having their education interrupted.
Boys just get up and get dressed. They don’t have to worry about what they wear and its effect on their education. They also don't get pulled out of class to be lectured on their behavior or the way they dress. Our daughters deserve better than this. I refuse to sit idly by while my 11-year-old is unnecessarily sexualized and being held responsible for the behavior of men/boys who can’t control themselves.