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12 Times Badass Women Fought Ridiculously Sexist Dress Codes In 2015

Proving once again that females are strong as hell.

1. When a student body president took administrators to task about her own body.

mynameiscarey / Via

South Carolina student Carey Burgess didn't protest the times she was reprimanded for wearing forbidden colors (ahem) as per Beaufort High School's dress code, since those rules apply to all students. When she was suspended for wearing the, um, pretty damn conservative outfit pictured above, though, she went IN.

"Maybe our society isn't yet advanced enough to handle 3 inches of my thigh," Burgess said in an October Instagram post. "This is a patriarchal society and I am a woman. I have to be kept in my place, or I may do something that is so rarely seen in Beaufort High School — learn.

"How could I go on without a certain teacher making sexist jokes all class? How could I survive without my science professor letting me know I am an inferior woman? ... Maybe instead of worrying about my skirt, Beaufort High should take notice of its incompetent employees, and sexist leaders."

2. When Not "A" Distraction was the perfect mix of bravery and bookishness.

caroline.jpg / Via

When students at South Carolina's Charleston County School of the Arts observed their dress code being selectively enforced (read: basically just on women), they employed a classic example of the harm done by misogynistic and quite literally puritanical values — Hester Prynne — to help make their point. About 100 girls protested the code by wearing actual scarlet A's to school, showing their intolerance for sexist nonsense as well as their literary savvy.

3. When the "fingertip rule" chose the wrong sister to point at.

Do you see anything risqué about the above photo? You're not alone; Texan Erica Alyse Edgerly actually had to add a follow-up to her original viral Facebook post on her sister Macy being sent home from school to explain what exactly the Orangefield High School faculty found objectionable about the outfit. The answer? In a school where shirt hems are required to reach students' fingertips, "The front and back of her shirt were that length... But the small part on the sides was not."

"How about instead of body shaming women, school systems should start teaching 15-18 year old boys to stop degrading women with their eyes and contributing to the rape culture of today’s society," Edgerly wrote in her original post. "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.”

That's a point much more apparent than the problem with Macy's outfit.

4. When #IAmMoreThanADistraction proved women don't exist solely through a male lens.

5. When after winning the fight against a disproportionately enforced dress code at their school, three teens took their cause citywide.

Courtesy of Andy Villanueva

Project Slut founders Erin Dixon, Kerin John, and Andrea Villanueva successfully got their own school's dress code changed to prevent the unfair punishment of students of color, queer, and trans students, and students with more developed or larger bodies, but that wasn't enough. Earlier this year, the trio also announced a plan to work with the Toronto District School Board to develop more regulated and inclusive codes of conduct for all schools in the area that would increase consistent rule implementation as well as accountability.

6. When #IfAnythingSchoolTaughtMe explained the real problem with dress codes in education.

Twitter: @ExamProblems

Dress codes often result in girls being removed from the classroom and missing lessons, which is what made #IfAnythingSchoolTaughtMe such a powerful sentiment. Missed that discussion on the molecular structure of glucose? Don't worry, because at least you now truly understand how scandalous and unacceptable it is for women to show their knees in public. In an era when schools are increasingly stifling students, #IfAnythingSchoolTaughtMe was a welcome means of expression, generating thousands of posts across social media.

7. When one woman showed off the strong-willed head on her shoulders.

In May, Canadian student Lauren Wiggins was given detention for wearing the full-length dress pictured above, which was deemed a "sexual distraction."

"I’m tired of the discrimination against our bodies, and I’m absolutely fed up with comments that make us feel like we can’t be comfortable without being provocative," Wiggins wrote in a Facebook post about the incident, later adding in a letter to her principal, "If you are truly so concerned that a boy in this school will get distracted by my upper back and shoulders then he needs to be sent home and practice self control."

Um, yeah.


8. When a group of girls made clear that being comfortable wasn't a sexual act.


Leggings, yoga pants, and similar garments (worn almost exclusively by women) were banned at Massachusetts's Cape Cod Regional Technical High School ahead of the 2015 school year due to their "form-fitting" nature — seemingly without any consideration that they're simply comfortable to wear. The rules were ultimately altered following hundreds of students protesting the ban.

9. When #CropTopDay's message was short, but not sweet...

Twitter: @rachel_venneri

High schooler Alexi Halket started Crop Top Day — both an event and a hashtag used to fight the insistence that women shouldn't wear short shirts — after she was pulled out of class for wearing one at Toronto's Etobicoke School of the Arts. She created the movement, which thousands of people joined on and off social media, as a vessel for discussing how most dress codes are designed to sexualize and marginalize women's bodies.

10. ...and had a ripple effect that reached across borders.

NBC / Via

Maine teen Cat Just had always considered her high school's dress code suspicious, but decided to make a point this year after she says an assembly on it turned especially sexist.

Using a line from the code — "Clothing that exposes cleavage, the midriff, undergarments, or that is otherwise immodest or provocative is prohibited" — as a jumping-off point, Just and classmates staged their own Crop Top Day, which Just says went exactly as expected.

"A young woman was withheld from her classes. She was denied access to them for two and a half hours. She missed really important classwork, but then there was a man wearing a crop top all day long [who] was not spoken to."

Sounds about right.

11. When one very patient YouTuber broke it down for the people in the back.

Laci Green doesn't have her own school dress code to worry about, but she is concerned about how young people internalize the principles behind dress codes. In a video posted in March, Green breaks down not only the sexist nonsense, double standards, and harmful effects of most dress code rules, but also makes some very compelling points about what school administrators are missing. In other words, she's making this a teaching moment. You know, for teachers.

You can watch the whole video below.

View this video on YouTube

12. And finally, when the hilarious Megan McKay taught us the perfect tricks for getting around all those rules.

Sometimes the best way to win an argument is by showing your opponent the absurdity of their stance.

Skirt too short? Shorts showing too much thigh? Bra straps showing? Leggings making it apparent you have legs? Don't sweat what the principal's saying; just follow Megan McKay's helpful tips, and you'll be out of detention faster than they can say "blue and black" or "white and gold."

View this video on YouTube

Next time someone insinuates your looks should impact your access to books, you know what to say.

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