Karen Fratti
May 22, 2017 11:56 am
Portland Press Herald/Getty Images

It’s springtime, which means that students everywhere have to get dressed in the morning at the crack of dawn and try to adhere to restrictive, often sexist, school dress codes. Which is exactly what why one mom stood up for her daughter when she was punished for not following the dress code at her school. Catherine Pearlman’s daughter, 13-year-old Casey, was sent home with a note saying that she was dressed “inappropriately” for two days and they sent her home in mesh gym shorts instead. Catherine was not having it, so she wrote a letter “thanking” the school’s administrators and inviting them to come shopping with Casey, to help her find outfits that she likes and that adhere to the dress code.

As anyone who’s ever been shopping as a 13-year-old knows, that isn’t easy. Finding clothes that are cool and that also fit on your awkward pubescent body, or trigger a breakdown in the dressing room, is not exactly a simple task. Everyone’s been there. Catherine wrote:

But it’s not that Casey is totally picky (though there’s that, too). Her 5’7″ frame and long limbs make it hard to find clothes that fit properly, her mom said. On top of all that, sending a girl home because her shorts are too short — they really aren’t — is just plain sexist.

Most school dress codes are pretty sexist.

Awesomely, Pearlman added, “I forgot to thank you for making it clear to my daughter that her body is somehow a distraction, either to herself or to the boys. I thought she might have missed the message earlier in the year when the gym teacher told her she couldn’t wear yoga pants because the boys aren’t able to control themselves.”

“I appreciate how hard you are working to drive the point home.”

Rock on, mom. She’s right. School administrators tend to use the excuse that short shorts or camisoles or anything that bares any skin at all is too “distracting” for horny young teenagers. But that’s BS and enforces the idea that a woman’s body is for the males to ogle or use. Instead of calling out boys who are too busy drooling on their notebooks in the middle of class over a bra strap and teaching everyone about consent and sexual objectification, they call out the girl for having a body.

Hopefully, the school’s principal gave the letter some serious thought. And will start teaching teen girls that their bodies aren’t something to hide or be ashamed of.

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