The Ish with the Skinny Jean/Dress Code Debate

2016-5-25 Skinny Jeans

Today I read an article from the Washington Post about a school system in North Carolina that’s toying with implementing a new dress code that would bar anyone from wearing leggings or skinny jeans unless they’re wearing a top that covers their entire tooshie.

…to which I was like, blah blah blah how many more of the same article are digital journalists going to write until their fingers start bleeding out of protest? (I seriously don’t mean to diminish this argument. Of course I agree that telling girls to dress modestly is a huge way to control them/sexualize them/victim blame. But I’ve seen only those three arguments for like, two years now, and maybe school boards aren’t listening because the media isn’t telling them anything new.)

But this particular instance caught my eye.

WaPo tells us that according to Jeanette Nichols, vice chairwoman of the school board in New Hanover County, N.C. (the district in question, obvs), they’re thinking of this dress code because kids were bullying other kids for being too pudgy to wear skinny jeans and leggings.

“She was a bit overweight and she was being bullied and teased,” Nichols told the Wilmington StarNews.


Also interesting? New Hanover County actually opened the debate up to students and parents via Twitter, which is like, such a faux pas because doesn’t New Hanover County know that Twitter is where all trolls and harrassers live? But anyways.

Kids predictably jumped on the, “blah blah blah I can wear what I want/ I’m a feminist/ tell people not to objectify me,” bandwagon, which is like, whatever. Most of them look like they behaved with decorum, which is more than can be said for 99 percent of Twitter users.

One parent took the bullying bait, and astutely asked why the hell the school isn’t working on making the kids stop being such little assholes.

That was my first reaction, too. It’s kind of along the same vein of teaching people not to rape, as opposed to teaching them how to avoid being raped.

It’s a good argument, and an important one to point out to the school board. A ton of what sending kids to school is supposed to accomplish is teaching them how to function as acceptable human beings, right? Don’t make students wear baggy pants; baggy pants are tacky and I hate them. Tell kids to just cut the bullying shit, instead.

2016-5-25 You're Tacky and I Hate You

But I think it’s also important to quickly touch on one thing that really, really bothered me about this whole ordeal. Let’s break down the chain of events into simple steps:

  1. Person wears skinny jeans
  2. Other person makes fun of them for being chubby
  3. Teacher sees, tells school board
  4. School board says, “well, she shouldn’t be wearing skinny jeans, so we’ll make a rule to stop her from that”

Isn’t that horrible? Is the school board not saying that the bully is right? That because someone is a certain body type, they shouldn’t wear certain clothes? Like, okay, out with any sort of body positivity at this school, I guess.

Am I (and that mom on Twitter) the only one who’s disgusted that an entire school board is about to be super complicit in a bunch of bullying?

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