This is an excerpt from a journal I wrote.
Ah. Here we are. Choice topic. But today will not be a day that I waste and repeat words in order to get to that endearing, (admittedly irritating), word count. Oh no. Today is an observation. And my observation is that there were some things that went unsaid in the last journal that must be continued into this one. So, here we go.
Have we ever taken a look at the number of dress code rules that apply only to one gender? Have we ever compared numbers on how many of the dress code rules apply to both sexes, and compared them with the number applied only to men? Compare that with the number of rules only applicable towards women?
You know what sucks sometimes? Dress codes. Specifically, dress codes for women. For years it has been the fingertip rule. It was three inches above the knee. Back to fingertip length. Then it was to the knee. Now, here we are with our final, (but most likely temporary), rule: to the fingertip, with opaque leggings or tights underneath. Without opaque tights or leggings underneath, it is to the knee.
Now, I don’t really see a huge problem with that rule. Admittedly, I came up with that rule over the summer at a student leadership camp and suggested it to our principle.
But you see, I do see a slight problem with the measurements. Honestly, to me, that would be only slightly degrading to have to kneel before my male principle while he holds a ruler up to my legs, to see whether my skirt length is “3 inches” above my knee. How does that apply when shopping for skirts? Really? Am I supposed to bring a ruler with me to H&M? Do I need to bring measurement-equipment when I go to Forever 21? I think we are above that.
But there comes a line when dealing with dress codes. In my humble opinion, not all the blame should be placed on the woman. Could not a man lust after a woman when she is wearing, let me think… literally a giant potato sack? Are we to say, “Well, it’s her fault. Did you see what she was wearing?” That perpetuates rape culture. I’ve thought it before, I will say it now. If a woman is raped, I believe that none of the blame is on her. By definition of rape, she was not asking for it. She did not want it. She did not invite it.
So, this started out as a simple bell-work about a dress code for my english class. Just busy work as our teacher prepares to teach her class. But it turned into something much more.
Why isn’t consent something that is more widely discussed? Consent is so, so, so important. If you don’t have consent, it’s a no go, and that really applies to any physical contact. Now if you are on a first date, you don’t necessarily have to ask the girl you’ve been dreaming of for the last two months point blank if you can hold her hand while you walk through the park. But if she is jerking her hand away as you reach for it, maybe she’s not all that into it. If she is shrugging off your arm as you are attempting to put it around her for the fourth time, ease off a little bit. If she says that she doesn’t want to come inside, if she says she has a headache, if she says she is tired, back off.
A woman should not have to feign illness to get out of an uncomfortable situation.
These things might not seem connected. How can a dress code promote rape culture? Well, it doesn’t, until you look at the intent behind it. Because there is a difference between promoting modesty and promoting a lack of self control in young men. I dress modestly because first of all, I do my best to understand that it is hard to be a man of God in the world we have today, and I want to help my brothers-in-Christ as I can. I dress modestly because I want people looking at my face and thinking about the things I am saying, not looking at my neckline and thinking of my supposed promiscuity. But there is a difference between a woman choosing to dress modestly with good intentions and a man in authority imposing misogynistic guidelines onto already self conscious young girls.
*As always, these are just my personal opinions and are not meant to challenge or offend anyone. I post to rant, to vent, to express my opinions, and to speak my mind even if no one is around to listen.