OLIVIA MORLEY Staff Writer
At my former high school, they instituted a new dress code rule during my senior year. If a skirt was shorter than a dollar bill’s length from the knee, we would be sent to ISS (in school suspension) for the rest of the day and we’d miss all of our classes. Apparently, my length of skirt is more important than my education. And since when is a dollar bill a measuring tool?
I’m a tall girl. I’m about 5’8” and it was almost impossible for me to find any kind of dress or skirt that would be the appropriate length on me. So one day in my senior year of high school, I walked into school wearing a gray t-shirt, a denim skirt and Sperries. It was Friday and I was going to a sleepover with two of my friends that night. I was in a very good mood as I went to my locker to get my textbook for math class. Then a teacher walked up to me and told me that my skirt was too short and I needed to go to the front office. All of a sudden my good mood evaporated. I was always a goody two shoes. I had never gotten in trouble like this before. When I got to the front office, I broke down in tears. I was a mixture of different emotions: embarrassed, angry and sad. I didn’t think my skirt would get in the way of me being a good student. But I guess I was wrong.
Thousands of high school girls across the U.S. go through this everyday. In Sept. 2014, a girl named Miranda Larkin wore a skirt that was considered “too short” and was forced to put on a “shame suit” for the rest of the day, which consisted of a neon yellow t-shirt that said “Dress Code Violation” and red sweatpants with the same phrase. School administrations use the defense that it “distracts boys from learning.” That’s insulting to both genders, assuming boys can’t control themselves and denying girls an education.
This is one of many examples of rape culture in the United States. We have been taught from a young age that “boys will be boys” and At girls will be told to protect themselves at all costs because there is no way to control the male gender. Except there is.
Why don’t we teach boys from a young age that girls are equal to them? Why don’t we get rid of teaching boys that they must be aggressive and girls be passive? The only way for all genders to have equal rights is to end rape culture.
Thankfully, when I got in trouble, I remembered I had a pair of jeans in my bag that I had packed for the sleepover. I was able to change into the jeans and continue going to class for the rest of the day.
If you want to read more about the ways to end rape culture, visit https://www.thenation.com/article/ten-things-end-rape-culture/ and http://www.bustle.com/articles/106844-8-ways-to-fight-rape-culture-because-too-many-women-suffer