Women are not territory. We are not objects. Why haven't our schools, companies, or politics grasped onto that?

For America, it is not enough that women are constantly threatened, harassed, or oppressed. It is not enough that women can't feel empowered without someone feeling like they have to consult The Man. Women cannot be expressive sexually without being slut-shamed, yet they can be exploited by major companies in the same light, and have them label it "effective marketing". Women cannot even dress however they want, in fear of the harassment they might encounter no matter the environment. For America, and other countries of the world, it is not enough that women are shamed simply for being.

It's universally known that, no matter what someone does, they can't please everyone; women especially are familiar with that in reference to clothing. We cover up, and we're "too modest" or "no fun". We show some skin, and suddenly we're "sluts", "distracting", or "inappropriate". These labels and comments are not only extremely misogynistic but effectively perpetrating rape culture. They hide in the shadows of our environment with the deemed respective vernacular; because I associate someone telling me to wear proper clothing with skirts that go well below my knees and a shirt that shows no sign of skin; I find myself subconsciously afraid of showing my bra strap in public. All that an implemented dress code does is teach us that what we wear makes us nothing but a distraction.

From a young age, we're taught that women and girls are at fault for what happens to them. Confronting sexual assault is followed by questions regarding what state the victim was in, where they were, at what time, with who, what they were wearing. We're taught that our clothing, the pieces of cotton and linen and nylon we adorn degrade us to mere nothing. They teach us that the things we freely choose in hopes of showcasing individual expression are used against us to justify someone else's unruly and hurtful actions. Women are more than what they wear, because a person's attire won't stop anyone from hurting them.

Similarly, even when we're just sprouting into the real world, women are brainwashed with the idea that what they choose to accessorize with is somehow correlated to the insubordination of others; that someone being absent-minded should be blamed on them. Dress codes especially enforce this, considering how it's mostly targeting women and girls. Might as well write out that it's easier to blame someone else for their misconduct than be punished for it themselves. What should be noted is that her legs, shoulders, nipples, collarbones, knees, and stomach aren't the problem. The adults of companies and districts sexualizing them are.

A woman shouldn't have to be your mother, your sister, your aunt, your neighbor, your friend, or your co-worker for you to respect them. A woman could be a stranger, and regardless of what she wears, without consent she is still a stranger, and she also deserves respect. A woman could be wearing a leaf and she still deserves nothing but the utmost respect. Respect is not limited to how long someone's skirt is and nobody is limited to what a close-minded person may absorb. A person is not their clothing, and nobody but them is allowed to deem what is appropriate or not for their body.