This California School's Dress Code Is Feminist AF

by Thea Glassman
Originally Published: 
Image via Getty/Halfpoint

One California school district is completely revamping the dress code for girls

There have been so many awful, sexist stories about the ways dress codes are enforced in schools. In April, a 17-year-old was forced to put band aids on her nipples because her teacher thought her shirt was too distracting. Just last week, a Texas high school showed a dress code video that only featured female violators. Also last week, a Missouri principal told students that they couldn’t wear clothes that reveal their breasts and butts, lest they distract their male classmates.

One California school district is about to take an important step in the opposite direction.

Alameda Unified School District has announced that they will let their students wear just about anything they want from now on. That means “midriff baring shirts,” tank tops, pajamas, hats, and ripped jeans. As long as the clothing “covers genitals, buttocks, and areolae/nipples with opaque material,” kids are good to go.

This decision is a direct response to the body shaming that dress codes thrust onto girls. “When you’re looking at things like how short are your shorts, are your shoulders showing, is your cleavage showing, that really means that girls are being punished more often and losing class time more often than a boy,” Susan Davis, a spokesperson for the Alameda Unified School District, told ABC7.

The school district also pointed to the emotional ramifications that body shaming dress codes can have on students.

“Measuring the widths of straps and lengths of shorts in class or pointing out that a student was showing too much skin was resulting in embarrassment and shame for students,” the updated policy noted. “Such feelings can make it hard for students to concentrate on learning and can create long-term issues with body image.”

This new dress code (or lack thereof) was inspired by Oregon’s National Organization of Women, which partnered with a group of Portland students who were protesting their school’s sexist clothing policies.

“The girls articulated…that they feel like the message they’re getting is that their bodies matter more than their education,” Lisa Frack, a former of the organization, told the San Francisco Chronicle. “Other people’s sexual thoughts are being impressed on girls who are just wearing their soccer shorts and going to math.”

Fingers crossed that more and more schools adopt this policy. That way, young women will stop having their bodies sexualized at school and young men will stop being viewed as oversexualized creatures who will implode at the sight of an exposed shoulder. Win-win.

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