Politics & Policy

School Dress Codes Slammed as ‘Rape Culture’

Come on.

The dress code at Orangefield County High School in California is being slammed as perpetuating “rape culture” after a girl was sent home for allegedly breaking the rules.

Macy Edgerly was asked to leave class for wearing a long shirt over knee-length leggings, prompting her older sister Erica to condemn school dress codes in a Facebook post:

“How about instead of body shaming women, school systems should start teaching 15 to 18-year-old boys to stop degrading women with their eyes and contributing to the rape culture of today’s society,” she wrote in the post, which had more than 90,000 shares at the time of publication.

I do think that her being asked to leave class for wearing leggings is ridiculous, especially considering that she was wearing a baggy shirt on top of them that covered everything.

Erica’s main problem wasn’t so much with this one school’s specific dress code as her idea that society focuses on how women dress rather than on how men view the way women dress. Of course, this kind of complaint isn’t new – it’s been a major feminist talking point for quite some time now. 

#related#I do understand why people would feel that it’s sexist to advise women how to dress rather than tell disgusting men to stop being disgusting. But what I can’t understand is how this became a “rather than” or “either-or” situation in the first place. Why can’t we talk about both? We should definitely be shaming disgusting men for being disgusting, but making girls aware of how disgusting men can be isn’t such a terrible idea, either.

By the way, calling a dress code part of “rape culture” — that is, saying that it actually contributes to sexual assaults — is taking it way, way too far. Having an opinion on a woman’s outfit is a far cry from believing that, if she were to be raped, it would be her fault because she wore it. 


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