Hollie Sikes, a high school student from Tennessee, is sticking up for her right to not sweat her life away during school hours. In a new petition posted to Change.org, Sikes details the sexist (and impossibly difficult to follow) dress code her school has, particularly their preference of shorts. School administrators asked Sikes and her fellow female students to only come to school wearing shorts if they were “fingertip length,” a near impossible length to find when shopping.
“I have decided to start a petition in protest to the irrationally strict dress code rules in the Knox County school system,” she wrote. “The general guidelines for students, majorly females, and the clothes they can wear in this school system is shocking and, frankly, quite disappointing. We cannot ignore the simple truth that clothing stores do not sell a wide variety of shorts for girls that are below fingertip length, if any, so young women are forced to wear long pants and jeans in 90-100 degree weather simply to avoid suspension.”
She continues, “Not only does this present health risks, such as nausea, overheating and even fainting, but it promotes victim blaming in the (unfortunately, extremely prevalent) case of sexual harassment among students. In conversations with many teachers and male students I have been told time and time again that shorts above fingertip length do not present a distraction in class, disproving the major theoretical excuse for why the fingertip rule is in use. Going off of this, are we as a county seriously willing to send a girl home and deprive her of her education simply because her shorts are ‘too short’?”
Dress codes are put in place for good reason, but when only one gender is expected to meet certain standards, where do we draw the line? Several of Sikes’ supporters agree. Her petition already has 3,038 supporters out of its 5,000 goal, many of which have posted passionate commentary.
“The dress code for Knox Country is completely outrageous. Girls are not allowed to have any freedom to wear what they want. I understand some restrictions so girls don’t show butts and boobs but shoulders, really?? Guys aren’t supposed to show their shoulders but if they do its not as big of a deal as if a girl did it. And teachers are allowed to have their shoulders showing which is not fair,” supporter Bryanna Gillenwalters wrote.
“Rape culture is real. Instead of telling girls to cover up, maybe you should tell boys that the female body isn’t a sexual object,” Catherine Miller added.
“I’m a guy and I could care less if they wear shorts in class. No girl should have to wear pants when it’s pushing 90°+ by mid school day,” Jacob Mester said.
What do you think? Sound off in the comments below.