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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Students claim dress code perpetuates rape culture but burqas don't

Female students at Boston Latin School, a middle and high school, were upset with the enforcement of the long-standing dress code requiring them to wear the hems of skirts and dresses no higher than 4 inches above the knees, forbids gang-related colors, shirt-shoulder straps narrower than 3 fingers, and leggings worn as pants.

In a Change.org petition the students claimed the dress code sends the message that "we still live in a patriarchal society where men can decide whether a female's clothing is appropriate or inappropriate." It also claimed the dress code creates "a sense of shame towards girls bodies" and reinforces the notion that "yes, it is our fault when girls get raped because they should have covered up and avoided the situation by dressing in a way that does not attract another person."

After the petition went out, school administrators went back on part of the policy and now decided that leggings worn as pants will be permitted unless they are "sheer or see-through." The remainder of the dress code will remain and take effect on November 1st.

In January of this year, two students posted a YouTube video calling on classmates to discuss racial incidents that occurred to them at Boston Latin School. The activism by the students ultimately led to the resignation of the headmaster and another top school official due to claims that the school had not appropriately discipline white students who used racial slurs.

Fortunately for the students, there are no females in attendance at Boston Latin School who are required to wear burqas, hijabs or niqabs by their fathers' insistence because if that were the case, it really would be the video that caused the violence.

But I doubt the students would actually protest that dress code.