Beth Stebner
July 28, 2015 9:35 am

Consider this a fashion Catch-22.

A JCPenney employee says she was sent home for wearing shorts that were deemed, well, too short by her boss. The super weird part of this story? The shorts in question were actually purchased from the department store’s career section. Seriously, the career section?

JCPenney employee and feminist blogger Sylva Stoel said on Twitter that she was sent home for wearing “too revealing” shorts on a hot day at work.

“I bought (them) from the store I work at in the career section,” she continued, attaching a picture of herself in a sleeveless blue button down and a pair of red shorts.

“Boss sent me home for wearing “too revealing” shorts that I bought from the store I work at in the career section,” she tweeted.

She then said her boss sent her home, asking her how long it would take her to change into something more appropriate. An indignant Stoel said she was probably going to take the whole day, since she didn’t plan to return to her job. Stoel then took to Twitter, calling out JCPenney’s outdated employee rules.  

Stoel told Mic that she was never told by JCPenney that shorts were not allowed (she claims the only clothing items specifically banned were jeans, T-shirts, and “too short” skirts). She also definitely didn’t think an item of clothing purchased from the store’s career section would be considered inappropriate for work.

“I could’ve lectured [my boss] on feminist theory with an emphasis on body-shaming, but I doubted that my speech would be appreciated,” Stoel told Mic. “So, I saved that bit for Twitter.”

This whole debacle raises some important issues – first, that Stoel purchased these shorts from the career section of the same store where she is an employee. If it’s allegedly not acceptable for a JCPenney worker to wear it to work, why is the company peddling it to other working ladies?

Second, women are too often the target of dress code shaming. In schools around the country, girls are fighting back against rules that suggest female bodies should be covered up—to prevent “distraction”—instead of teaching males to treat women with respect.

That backwards thinking doesn’t do anyone—male or female—any favors. While Stoel’s boss’ hasn’t provided his reasoning, and JCPenney has yet to comment on the incident, Stoel’s tweet is a reminder that body-shaming dress codes can extend beyond the classroom. And speaking up and educating people on this issue can make a difference.

[Images via Twitter]