Short skirts don’t harm girls, rules do

School principals who introduce dress codes for girls are causing long-term harm without even realizing it. A recent article in the Vancouver Sun (by Byrony Gordon, 26 Oct 11) titled “Skirts haven’t been dangerous for 6,000 years” almost gets this important point. It is true that most teen girls wake up one day and realize just how few freedoms they really have.

They correctly rebel in the only way they know how – through such things as short skirts and black nail polish. And in an effort to “protect them” from men who might treat them as sex objects, school principals not only control girls even more (by demanding a particular way to dress), and curtail their limited power, but to add insult to injury, they do not engage the girls (and boys!) in a truthful conversation about the real problem: a sexist culture. In case you have not noticed: the debates over mini-skirts and burkas are very similar. Both punish females for male behaviour. If you want to solve the short skirt problem, free girls to be all that they can be and stop pornography, the sexist beauty industry, stereotypes in media and sexist attitudes –  that truly hold girls back. When you are done this, and then turn to girls.

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