Teenage girls are frequently subjected to slut-shaming dress codes — sexualizing them without their consent, and prioritizing the apparently “uncontrollable” hormones of teenage boys over a girl’s ability to comfortably receive an education.
It feels like another infuriating dress code policy goes viral every week, and the most recent flawless takedown of inherently sexist dress codes was executed by an Australian mother of a high school girl.
Catherine Manning’s daughter is a student at Kambrya College, a secondary school in Victoria, Australia.
Approximately 70 Australian schools, including Kambrya College, have been found to be targeted by a horrific website sharing thousands of stolen sexual images of teenage girls. The administration of Kambrya College discovered that the website had outreached to boys at the school, and they had started sending images to the site without the photographed girls’ consent.
Kambrya College responded to this despicable act by calling two separate assemblies: one for the school’s boy students, and one for their girl students. But as Manning writes in her now viral Facebook status, the teenage girls; “short skirts” were blamed for the boys’ disgusting behavior.
You absolutely must read the status in its entirety, but here is one of the most important excerpts:
“The problem is not with the girls and the length of their skirts, nor whether or not they choose to share photos with their boyfriends or anyone else. It’s with the boys themselves; their sense of entitlement and sexist attitudes towards women and girls, their lack of respect, and the trust they CHOOSE to break.
Twenty-four hours later, and I’ve received messages from the girls telling me they are feeling extremely uncomfortable at school. They feel judged and victimised by school staff, like all eyes are on them, and they don’t feel comfortable around their male peers. They feel their school has sexualised and demonised them, and compounded the problem by sending a strong message that it is them, the girls, who are responsible for the boys’ behaviour, and that the boys are the victims here.”
Manning told APlus that her daughter and her daughter’s friends angry and passionate responses to the assembly motivated her to speak out.
Her incredibly important status has been liked over 24,000 times, and shared over 14,000 times so far. And according to Manning’s most recent status, things are starting to change:
More proof of how vital it is to speak out. Thank you, Catherine Manning!