Boys across Montreal decided enough was enough when it came to sexist dress codes, and, in protest, began wearing skirts to school, and I am SO here for it. Many private high schools in the area have dress codes that designate skirt length for girls, with no equivalent restrictions for boys, so the guys took it into their own hands.
The reasoning behind the dress code is a time-old sexist policy: what the girls are wearing could distract the boys
Those protestings make the very appropriate rebuttal that that should be on the boys, and, as young men, they feel that they will not be particularly distracted. While this is a movement I applaud, not everyone was equally impressed. Some protesters were even pulled aside by administrators and asked about their sexual orientations and gender, a completely inappropriate question to ask based on an article of clothing. I'll say it once and only once: Clothing is bits of cloth sewn together. It has no gender.
Dress coding is still a big problem, and not just in Montreal
Many schools across the US continue to dress code their female populations despite rising discussions of the policies being sexist. Modesty in school is one thing, and schools have the right to mandate a certain level of decency if the community values it. However, codes that only restrict girls provide unfair limitations to their self-expression that their male classmates do not face. Furthermore, sending a girl out of the classroom for a dress code violation based on fears of disrupting male students is both heteronormative and ridiculous. In doing so, the school is saying that the potential distraction of a boy is more important than the education of the girl, who is being pulled from her class, therefore stopping her ability to continue learning.
Dress codes are also outdated and impact those who identify as gender-fluid
I don't know about anyone else, but I've never heard of a guy talk about how attracted he is to shoulders. Tank tops do not strike me as disruptive classroom behavior. The same goes for bra straps: it's not a secret that girls wear bras. Why should they be forced to pretend as if they don't?
Additionally, dress codes are often written for just two genders, male and female, creating difficult challenges for transgender and gender-fluid students. This can result in the feeling of a less-than-supportive environment and, as the Montreal student protesters pointed out, a feeling that they can't necessarily wear what they're most comfortable in to school.
Finally, even if a boy was to get distracted, that's on the boy, NOT us
Not the girl. It is time to stop putting the weight of so many problems on the female participants. Yes, you can help yourself. What someone's thinking is not controlled by anyone else. And don't get me started on saying things are unfair to male teaches. Do you hear yourself? Ew. Here's a PSA: If you're teaching minors and them wearing certain clothing is distracting to you, I think it's time for a career change.
At the end of the day, schools should be for education, not regulation. In Montreal, it is the boys who decided to protest, a great example of male allies and moving past things like too-short skirts or an inch of mid-drift being seen as distracting. So here's to the students protesting for change, and here's to ending sexist dress codes.