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14 Times Dress Codes Were Fucking Absurd In 2016

Just. Let. People. Where. What. They. Want.

1. When boys weren't allowed to wear long hair or earrings like the girls.

California's Clovis Unified School District failed to pass a motion that would allow boys to have long hair and wear earrings to Buchanan High School — so students responded by wearing clothing generally considered atypical for their gender, with girls in button-down shirts and boys in dresses. They also started a petition against the restrictive dress code, which has garnered nearly 3,700 signatures.

2. When a trans teen was sent home for wearing the uniform that aligned with her damn gender.

3. When girls weren't allowed to wear their hair natural.

Her name is Zulaikha. She's 13 years old. She's been in detention for her hair before. She is the future.

South Africa's Pretoria High School for Girls demanded this year that black students straighten their hair and not wear dreadlocks ahead of their exams — just one example of the school's alleged racist practices. In late August, students protested the rule, which was subsequently suspended.

4. When a budding writer messed with the wrong pants.

Huge crowd at the yoga pants parade in Barrington. About to hit the road.

In October, Rhode Island newspaper The Barrington Times published local man Alan Sorrentino's tirade against women in yoga pants — and while he was in no position to enforce a dress code, his words echoed those of plenty of schools that do. A few days later, hundreds of women gathered — in their yoga pants — to march through his neighborhood in protest of not only Sorrentino's letter, but of constant policing of their bodies and clothing. Sorrentino responded by calling the piece satire and posting a giant "free speech" sign on his house, proving he understands neither.

5. When cheerleaders were expected to take the blame for a boy's "impure thoughts."

6. When girls had to reiterate that they weren't a "distraction."

Students in two @FCPSMaryland schools claim dress code promotes shame among girls: https://t.co/OLFipRxp48

The #IAmMoreThanaDistraction campaign, named in response to events like the one mentioned above, has picked up steam over the last few years — and this year, a group of students wore oversize yellow T-shirts bearing the phrase #IAmNotADistraction to protest dress codes at Maryland's Urbana Middle School. Why the yellow tees? That's what their principal has students change into when they're dress-coded.

7. When a shirt asserting that black lives matter was apparently too much to handle.

Facebook: permalink.php

When Buckeye High School sophomore Mariah Havard, of Arizona, was forced to remove her Black Lives Matter shirt because it was "creating a distraction," fellow students staged a walkout. For her part, Havard says another Buckeye student told her "Black lives don’t matter," and that students are allowed to wear T-shirts bearing the Confederate flag, which has long been considered a symbol of racism.

8. Oh, wait. That happened multiple times.

9. When whole cities denied Muslim women the option of modest swimwear.

#WearWhatYouWant protest in London best for kids and setting the bar high for the aesthetics of all future protests.

This year, France continued to clamp down on religious expression by enforcing a burkini ban on a number of its beaches. In response, people in burkas and bikinis joined forces in front of London's French Embassy in August to stand up for women's freedom to wear what aligns with their faith and makes them feel good.

10. When a woman fought being kicked out of her university's gym because...MRSA?


When Grace DiChristina put on a short t-shirt to work out at Santa Clara University's gym earlier this year, she was just trying to keep cool. But staff at the facility called the top "inappropriate," DiChristina says, and asked her to leave. A school spokeswoman ultimately claimed the shirt was unsafe because it exposed DiChristina to MRSA — a skin infection that could just as easily be transferred via her hands or other exposed skin. Logic.

11. When a young woman was forced to get on her knees to have her skirt measured — and went public about the degrading incident.

Seventeen-year-old Amanda Durbin wore a dress with leggings to her Kentucky high school, where she was made to kneel on the floor so her skirt could be measured. After asking to have her parents present for the measuring, Durbin lost two hours of the day intended for providing her with education, instead sitting in the principal's office.

12. When the harm behind policing girls' wardrobes was so apparent, a group of high school students decided to make a film about it.

View this video on YouTube


A group of male and female Brooklyn Tech students appeared in #SkinOutSpeakOut, a documentary to protest dress codes that disproportionately impact women while perpetuating the idea that they're distracting to men. The film, produced by BT student Avery Kim, was screened at festivals across the United States.

13. When a sexist senator told women what to wear — and was made to rethink his policy.

14. And finally, when the high heel double standard met its match.

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