A high school senior was recently sent home from an Orange County, Texas high school because she came to school wearing knee-length leggings.
Honor student Macy Edgerly arrived at school in Orangefield County, Texas, wearing leggings and a tunic that covered her bottom. However, after arriving to class she was asked to leave and change her clothes because she was in violation of Orangefield High School’s dress code.
When her older sister Erica became aware of the situation, she took to Facebook, posting photos of the outfit in an effort to make people aware of the “sexist” dress codes in schools, which she said contributes to “the rape culture of today’s society.” The post has already been shared over 88,000 times.
“How about instead of body shaming women, school systems should start teaching 15 to 18-year-old boys to stop degrading women with their eyes and contributing to the rape culture of today’s society,” wrote Erica. “Bottom line, girls cannot go to school in comfortable clothes THAT COVER EVERYTHING because school systems are afraid that hormonal boys won’t be able to control their eyes and minds. And that is such a bigger problem than worrying about clothing.”
According to the school’s handbook, leggings are only permitted if the garment that goes over them follows the “fingertip” rule, meaning the garment must fall “below fingertips when hands are held straight down at your side.”
When asked about the dress code, the Orangefield Independent School District has said it “strives to maintain a positive and successful learning environment for our students free from disruption and distraction.”
Erica went on to say it is statements like this that create the problem, although her issue is not with the school, but rather the idea that women need to cover up to reduce “distractions” for other, namely male, students.
“I understand that there are always rules that need to be followed, (and my sister thought she was following them) and the administration has a job to do,” Erica states, adding that the fact her outfit “was seen as inappropriate is the real issue here.
“Not to mention, when you send someone home because of inappropriate clothing, you’re taking them away from their education. So I guess it’s more important for boys to not have distractions (even when they’re aren’t any) than a woman’s education.”
Liz Dwyer of TakePart reports that this is not the first instance of a girl being targeted while boys tend to get away with breaking dress code rules like wearing shirts with foul language or baggy pants. Last summer, a high school principal in Oklahoma made female students cry when she ordered them to bend over so she could see how long their shorts were. A school in Utah photoshopped yearbook photos of girls they felt were dressed inappropriately last May.
The issue is one that stretches across the world. Students in London stuck a poster to the door of their school in protest of a gender-biased dress code which was found by writer Rossalyn Warren, who posted it to her Facebook page.
The poster reads:
“I’m sorry, can you see my shoulders? Men are never told that their arms, legs, or stomachs are a problems for other people. They are seen as human, and rarely seen as something there for your sexual exploits. We are thirteen through eighteen-year-old girls. If you are sexualizing us, YOU are you problem. Dress codes are perpetuating rape culture and oppressive objectification against young women.”