jessica valenti

Scroll to Info & Navigation

Female bodies as “distracting”: Another quick thought on dress codes & sexism

I’ve been amazed at the number of comments that just don’t get it over at my post at The Nation on the way dress codes can discriminate against women. (And the way school administrators and faculty can use said code to sexually harass young women.)

What’s been truly interesting to me is the way that commenters continue to make the same argument that Stuyvesant’s principal did: that the way some young women dress is “distracting.” That men can’t help but look at these young women and their supposedly scandalous attire - and that this overwhelming desire to ogle young women means that school work isn’t being properly paid attention to. 

This “distraction” standard for a dress code sets up a model in which the default student we are concerned about - the student whose learning we want to ensure is protected - is male. It presumes that female students are a distraction to male students’ learning, and therefore it’s young women’s actions that must be policed.

But what about the way that the young women of Stuyvesant are being “distracted” from their studies by a school that harasses and slut-shames? What’s more distracting - glancing at a girls’ legs or being pulled from class, humiliated, and made to change outfits before you’re allowed to learn?

Notes

  1. imjustawkk reblogged this from jessicavalenti
  2. undulatingobscurity reblogged this from jessicavalenti
  3. hapdagger reblogged this from renious
  4. velinaivane reblogged this from renious
  5. redphonebox reblogged this from jessicavalenti
  6. pleath reblogged this from jessicavalenti
  7. anastasiabryce reblogged this from theatomfamily
  8. acidentalee reblogged this from jessicavalenti
  9. once-adreamer reblogged this from jessicavalenti
  10. theatomfamily reblogged this from jessicavalenti
  11. adalaemarie reblogged this from duhkneees
  12. duhkneees reblogged this from jessicavalenti
  13. memento-mori-infinity reblogged this from jessicavalenti
  14. allllikat reblogged this from jessicavalenti and added:
    I have ALWAYS thought this phenomenon of accusing little girls of “distracting” boys with their clothes was FUCKED UP.
  15. keeparminside reblogged this from jessicavalenti
  16. whyiseveryurltakenwtf reblogged this from jessicavalenti
  17. assbuttofgallifrey reblogged this from jessicavalenti
  18. eposthuma reblogged this from jessicavalenti
  19. giraffer reblogged this from jessicavalenti
  20. lloyd-the-barista reblogged this from jessicavalenti
  21. garbage-patch reblogged this from heal------mywoundse69gocrazy
  22. flirting-with-insomnia reblogged this from jessicavalenti
  23. heal------mywoundse69gocrazy reblogged this from jessicavalenti and added:
    YEAH THIS
  24. positively-jaded reblogged this from jessicavalenti