School is meant to keep us safe and teach us the right lessons, but being told you can’t wear something for fear of provoking male lust, is just erroneous and narrow-minded

 

In sixth form at my school you can wear whatever you like, from tracksuits to actual suits — anything goes. However, there are two exceptions to this rule: shoes without backs, for example flip flops, because of health and safety reasons. And spaghetti-strap tops, for example vests, because … because … because? I have no clue. Well, actually that is not true. I do know why.

Due to the complete and utter over-sexualisation of men and women’s bodies, and unfortunately, increasingly girl’s bodies, any tiny flash of skin is seen as inherently sexual and not — oh I don’t know, because it’s hot outside. Interestingly enough, this ‘revealing of flesh’ has been so sexualised that any part of the body besides the actual sexual organs is seen as sexy. Therefore, even in a place of learning, study and development people, specifically adults, are obsessed with ensuring that nothing which could ever appear to be tantalising, is shown.

Teachers give many arguments to why what students wear is their business. The main one I hear is that it will distract male teachers.

First of all: WHY are they looking at schoolgirls’ breasts? Second, and this comes back to the mind-numbingly, so boring phrase which I just cannot comprehend why it needs to be constantly repeated: why are we still teaching girls to stop wearing certain things, and not boys to stop looking? Men and boys can help themselves, they do it every single day. They are not having to be yanked back by someone every time they see a woman. This idea of men’s rampant, uncontrollable sexual lust as a fixed reality is degrading and demonising.

Another argument is that these clothes are unprofessional. However, adults need to understand that school is school and not work. And although, yes, school is meant to get you ready for the ‘real world’ and work, it does not exactly function like either of them. You don’t get study periods at work, or pastoral care or homework for that matter. So, the argument that ‘you would never wear this to work’ is ridiculous and invalid. Plus, a lot of the time school doesn’t prepare for the real world. I for one have no idea how to pay taxes.

Teachers are meant to be role models. Someone students can look up to, go to for advice and help. They are not only there to get us through exams but to teach us life morals and guide us on a path. Therefore, the kind of ideas concerning clothing that they are giving to young girls are fundamentally wrong. These include: that their sexualisation is their own fault; that boys are stupid and have no control; and that their looks are more important than their education.

I mean, at least I do not go to an American school. More and more news articles pick up social media posts about this girl and that who has been sent home, missing her education, because her top was too low or her maxi skirt showed too much ankle!!

One teacher at my school, in particular, constantly tells me to pull up my top if I ever wear one that does not seal around my neck. Recently, I have stopped arguing with her. People around me ask ‘why?’. Question why I do not get annoyed or angry, don’t fight back. But in all honesty I cannot be bothered anymore. I am sick and tired of defending my body. Sick of my mum calling me a slut for having a rip in my tights, sick of friends telling me a male teacher answered my question talking to my breasts, and especially sick of this one woman, who calls herself a feminist, runs a  positivity group and cares deeply about self-esteem, embarrassing me about my own body.

Big f***ing deal. I have thighs, I have shoulders and I have breasts which means, OMG I have a cleavage and OMG I wear a bra with bra straps! But I go to school to learn and what I am wearing should not even cross anyone’s mind. It’s my business.