Thursday, March 26, 2015

Middle School Girl Shaming

There is a growing trend in the schools of America which I find troubling…Actually, there are quite a few, but for the sake of this post I'm going to concentrate on just one:


My two Middle School daughters attend a public school in the Valley of the Los Angeles area.
For those of you unfamiliar with the geography of LA, the "Valley" is just over the hill from the coastal city area, sandwiched between the San Fernando mountains. This valley is known for a warmer, almost desert-like climate, similar to Arizona with less dust storms and monsoons.

During the summer months (May through September), where the city area of LA gets temperatures of over 100 degrees maybe one or two weeks out of the entire season, the valley spends the majority of the time around that temp. 80 degrees is a cool summer day. Anything over 100, and residents of the valley will still have outdoor soccer games and gym class. It's not until we hit 105 and above that we start to pull back.

During the winter, the valley lives in the 60s and 70s, sometimes 80s, and my daughters spend their time YEAR ROUND wearing tee shirts and shorts. In fact, when we took a trip to visit family back East, I had to go on a special shopping trip, looking in stores all over in an attempt to find long sleeved shirts that weren't paper thin.

I'm not giving you a lesson on Los Angeles weather for no reason. The purpose for this rant is to address the public school's DRESS CODE, which violates children (well, mostly the girls, really) for wearing shorts that are considered too short [Stand with your arms at your sides - if your thumbs are lower than your shorts, you would be dress-coded - ie. sent to change into your gym shorts (black knee-length basketball shorts] or a parent would have to bring you a change of clothes, or you will be sent home]. Girls will also be dress coded for wearing tank tops with spaghetti straps (because, apparently seeing a bra is indecent), and also, there are hair restrictions as well.

That's right. The school has a say over how the kids get to wear their hair. For boys, there are no mohawks. For girls, there cannot be any dyed hair of an "unnatural color," and they are not allowed to have hair of two different colors.

Yep. You read that right, too. You can't have hair with two different colors.

Now, for me, that would be a massive problem because my hair is naturally TWO COLORS. I have brown hair that streaks blond on the top (thank you Valley for my free highlights), but I'm not in school so it doesn't really matter. What my daughter's school is apparently doing, however, is basically dress coding any girl who wears hair extensions different than the color of their natural hair.

Because hair of two different colors is "distracting."

I'm not even kidding.

Also, according to their standards, girls bra straps and thighs are distracting.

Now, if a BOY has frosted tips (which is all the rage out here in the valley), he doesn't get dress-coded - but girls DO.

Don't believe me?

Meet Jenny* [*name has been changed to protect the girl's privacy].
Jenny's in Middle School with my daughters and her mom is a hair dresser. Jenny loves to play with her hair color.

Jenny first came to school with purple hair - of which she got dress coded, so she dyed it black.
Then, for fun, Jenny dyed the tips of her black hair green - and she got dress coded.
Then Jenny dyed her hair all black again, and began wearing a clip-on blond hair extension.
And she got dress-coded - AGAIN, and AGAIN, and AGAIN.

Now, some of you more conservative parents might think - FOR THE LOVE OF PETE - just take out the hair extension and she'll stop getting in trouble at school. But Jenny and her mom feel differently.

They think (and I agree) that the dress code is sexist and ridiculous and 'No, Jenny should not have to change her hair because some arbitrary district rule states that hair of two colors distracts from the learning experience.'

You know what distracts from the learning experience? Getting in trouble for something as stupid as two-toned hair.

…Or for wearing shorts on a hot day.

…Or for wearing a spaghetti strap tank top when it's 100 degrees in March.

With so many issues with today's public education system (HELLO - I haven't even mentioned switching to Common Core IN THE MIDDLE OF THE SCHOOL YEAR -- oops, guess I just did) --
I fail to see how dress-coding girls in this way accomplishes anything but making them think that being hot and wearing the appropriate clothing for the climate is something to be ashamed of, and somehow MORE IMPORTANT THAN THEIR EDUCATION.

Look, I get it, if I see butt-cheek I tell my daughters they've outgrown their shorts and to go change, and I'm not really supportive of boys sagging their pants and showing everybody and the world their boxers - but in the grand scheme of life, what's more important? Their grades? Or their wardrobe?

Well, apparently in my school district, shaming girls is important.
Double standards, those are important, too.
Exercising control on how you raise your kids, ie. what they wear - that's "important."

By making a girl's wardrobe an issue, the school district is making it an issue!

Nobody cares but you. Seriously.

And if the district sticks by their assessment that a girl's bra strap is too distracting for the boys - to this I say >>


Never once has a Middle School boy, EVER, made any comment WHATSOEVER to either one of my daughters about how their wardrobe is "distracting."
In fact, the whole time I went to school, a boy never once said that to me either.

YOU, the DISTRICT, are CREATING the distraction.

And if it really, and truly is "distracting" for Middle School boys to see a girl's thigh - THEN HOW ABOUT WE TEACH THE BOYS TO STOP HARASSING THE GIRLS!

You are shaming the girls when they haven't even done anything wrong.

So, to this I say >>>

You wear that two-tone hair and I hope you grow up to question stupid authority every chance you get.

Okay, rant over.


P.S. And I haven't even mentioned how they aren't allowed to wear ball caps with any other emblem but the school logo - because yeah, there's SUCH a gang problem in the suburbs. o.O
Oops - guess I just mentioned it.