Today I am proud of the students at Lucas Secondary School.
A protest was organized in response to one girls experience of the school's dress code rules. Laura Anderson was asked to go home and change before returning to school on Monday because she was wearing 'distracting' and 'inappropriate' clothing. This distracting outfit consisted of jeans, with rips in the knees, and a tanktop that did not cover her shoulders.
When other students found out about this, they were not happy, because they could not understand what was inappropriate about Laura's outfit.
The reason I am proud of these students, is because they have followed Laura's example of maturity. They did not organize a protest where all the girls showed up to school in their beach clothes. Instead, they decided to wear similar outfits to that which sent Laura home. The pictures of the protest are peaceful and the students hope to spark conversations with their administration about the dress code and why this situation is unfair.
Some responses online to the #MyBodyMyBusiness have baffled me. People have commented that young girls should be taught how to dress for the workplace. They have said that if these girls have no role models how will they ever learn? They have said that there are more important things to fight for than "fashion rights".
The issue here has nothing to do with fashion rights. The issue is that so often the dress codes that are enforced are mainly for women to abide by, and the reason is often because "the boys will be distracted if the rules are not followed." Of course there should be a certain amount of professionalism and appropriate dress for the men and women in school. No one here is asking to be allowed to wear their underwear to school. The problem is when we teach young girls that just by being a woman, you will attract unwanted sexual attention if you are not fully covered, the objectification and oversexualization of the female body is promoted.
I am proud of the young students at Lucas for their mature and peaceful response to this issue.
Listen to Laura's interview here.