Dress codes and who you gonna blame next?”
Last week’s paper had two letters on dress codes which, while important to discuss, contained statements hard to swallow whole. Here are examples:
First, “the social interaction choices we provide” -- We provide? Who is the “we?” How do “we” provide these choices to our kids? Aren’t these choices imposed by consumerism turning everything it can into a product, including physical beauty? Why is that “we”?
“Do we, as a society, tell girls . . .” -- Again, “we” are not our society, “we”, you and me, have no control over media and advertising messages.
“We shoot ourselves in the foot by making respect and sexuality mutually exclusive categories.” -- When and how do “we” do this? “We” don’t do this at all. We’re at the mercy of social media, Facebook, Instagram, TV, celebrity culture, and marketing companies. It is them; this should read “they”, not “we”.
“How about we create a real social discussion that allows women and girls to be perceived as physically attractive while still being respected and taken seriously?” -- Where have you been since the ‘60s and women’s lib?
“As a mother, what I try to convey to my kids is that they are worthy of respect no matter what they are wearing” -- Wonderful in its simplicity, but are you giving your boys this message, too? And why do you think we live in a vacuum, that no one will misinterpret or even twist bare shoulders, for example, as an attempt to attract attention?
And “hypersexualization” of girls is not something “we” do, nor the school admin. It’s capitalism at work, selling, and selling-via-sex is most effective! Why aren’t these letter-writing mothers putting their fingers on the real problem: capitalism?
Or, “On ne devrait jamais dire à une femme quoi faire avec son corps.” I hope these ladies stick to that view, when a prostitute shows up on Front Street and willingly offers her wares, or their daughters decide a racey tattoo would look good.
Lastly, my experience with school uniforms sidestepped all this anguish and self-blaming, and I believe not one of us felt oppressed.