A Student Teaches Her Principal

1. By demonizing developing girls and their bodies, you effectively reduce girls to roadblocks in boys’ paths to education and success. If boys are distracted by girls’ bodies in their fabulous shorts or incredibly comfortable leggings, you should address the fact that boys are demonstrating an inability to focus on their school work. Teach boys that they are accountable for their own sexual desire.

2.Your lectures and reprimands teach girls to enter the unspeakably painful process of separating our own selves from our bodies. We learn to deny ourselves wholeness. We learn to be ashamed of our flesh. We learn that our bodies are not our own. We learn that we exist only in relation to men — as appendages, as roadblocks, as objects. This horrifying lesson ultimately teaches us all that young boys’ bodies are worth much more than girls’ and women’s bodies.

3. Instead of wasting school as- semblies on lessons that uphold patriarchal, oppressive standards of respectability, teach students to celebrate and respect physical appearances that fall on a vast spectrum of race, gender, sexuality, religion, ability, etc. In short, stop traumatizing developing adolescents and start teaching them how to be inclusive of one another’s bodies and whole selves. 

Corinne Singer, in “An Open Letter To Principals Enforcing Sexist Dress Codes,” The F Bomb, July 25, 2016.