You'd think as a place of learning that a high school would be the last place that shamed girls for the clothes that they wear. But as more and more high schoolers speak out, it's becoming an epidemic.
The latest to join the dress code shame parade is Carey Burgess, a student at Beaufort High School in Beaufort, S.C. According to a Facebook post, she wore the below outfit to school and was publicly humiliated by a teacher for doing so.
The skirt that sat just above her knee was the reason she was asked to go to suspension and then home. In other words, leave school, the place where she's supposed to be learning.
Instead of taking the covert form of oppression, Burgess shared her story to Facebook on Oct. 20, where it got more than 11,000 shares.
"As I was walking down the hallway, I heard a voice behind me. 'Your skirt is too short. You need to go to in-school suspension and then go home,' " she wrote. "Thank you, Mrs. Woods. Thank you for teaching me that looking good for school is NOT appropriate. Thank you for letting me know that while I may think that I am dressing up for my Teacher Cadet lesson, I am in fact dressing to go to a night club or the whore house."
She then used sarcasm to tackle the hypocrisy of school dress codes, which unfairly target young women and impose certain judgements on them simply because of the clothes that they wear.
"Maybe our society isn't yet advanced enough to handle 3 inches of my thigh. This is a patriarchal society and I am a woman. I have to be kept in my place, or I may do something that is so rarely seen in Beaufort High School — learn," she wrote.
The post in full:
Today, I wore this outfit to Beaufort High School. About 20 minutes into the day, my friend and I were excused from class to venture to the vending machine because our teacher was planning to do nothing all class period, as usual. On our way back, I learned something very important about myself: I am a whore. As I was walking down the hallway, I heard a voice behind me. "Your skirt is too short.You need to go to in-school suspension and then go home." Thank you, Mrs. Woods. Thank you for teaching me that looking good for school is NOT appropriate. Thank you for letting me know that while I may think that I am dressing up for my Teacher Cadet lesson, I am in fact dressing to go to a night club or the whore house. Thank you for bringing me to tears in front of my friends and classmates because you do not have the decency to pull me aside and explain the problem. Then again, I did not have the decency to put on real clothes today. So maybe I am in the wrong. Maybe our society isn't yet advanced enough to handle 3 inches of my thigh. This is a patriarchal society and I am a woman. I have to be kept in my place, or I may do something that is so rarely seen in Beaufort High School- learn. You saved me, Beaufort High. As Student Body President, junior marshal, and a recipient of the Palmetto Fellows, I was heading down the path of hard drugs (good thing you're testing next year!), strip clubs, and sugar daddies. I don't where I would be without your misogynistic views. How could I go on without a certain math teacher making sexist jokes all class? How could I survive without my science professor letting me know I am an inferior woman? Yes, I am a woman. I am woman with thighs, a butt, and a brain. I am bigger than Beaufort High School. All of us are. Maybe instead of worrying about my skirt, Beaufort High should take notice of its incompetent employees, and sexist leaders.
Burgess isn't the first and won't be the last, but what is certain is that dress codes are becoming more controversial.
On one side of the spectrum, there's the camp that students should learn early on how to dress professionally, and then there's the other camp that believes dress codes unfairly shame girls and takes away from their education.
Many rallied this September under the hashtag #IAmNotADistraction.
As Time writer Laura Bates put it:
"When a girl is taken out of class on a hot day for wearing a strappy top, because she is ‘distracting’ her male classmates, his education is prioritized over hers."
Many female students echo that sentiment.
"Don't take girls away from their education just because what they are wearing," much bigger fish to fry.