• Fri, Jun 8 2012

Stuyvesant High School Students Stage ‘Slutty Wednesday’ To Protest Dress Code

Earlier this week, students at New York’s prestigious Stuyvesant High School staged “Slutty Wednesday,” a protest in response to the school’s implementation of a new dress code. The code dictates things like no bare shoulders, no visible underwear, and skirt hemlines no shorter than the tips of the fingers.

Needless to say, a number of girls participated in the protest — in which they walked around lower Manhattan wearing revealing clothing and handing out flyers — but what this protest had that many similar, other protests were lacking was a distinct point of view from the boys.

According to the New York Post, young men who participated didn’t just do so because they felt girls were being treated unjustly; they felt they were being treated unjustly as well:

Boys complained that the administration’s apparent emphasis on keeping the girls well-covered was not only biased, but it also maligned the guys as horny teens who can’t control themselves when they see too much skin.

If this doesn’t make me want to stand up and cheer, nothing does. (It does, actually, make me want to stand up and cheer.) This stance reflects one of the primary problems with any law, rule or regulation dictating what women can and can’t wear: It takes all of the responsibility for appropriate behavior off of men, and places it on women. At its core, it says that women are responsible for men’s reaction to how they look and what they wear, rather than the other way around.

Not only that, but as these boys point out, it assumes the worst about men; that the mere sight of a woman’s skin (or hair, or nails, or what have you) will make functioning in society utterly impossible for them.

What’s extra interesting about this is that the principal of the school, Stanley Teitel, claimed that the reason they instituted the code is that some of what was being worn was a distraction:

“The bottom line is, some things are a distraction, and we don’t need to distract students from what is supposed to be going on here, which is learning,” Teitel told The Stuyvesant Spectator.

But if it’s not distracting the girls’ fellow students, well, one has to wonder, who is it distracting?

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  • Cheri

    I’m a slutty teenage girl. I like protesting things and shouting and wearing skimpy clothing, but I think it’s ridiculous that a school can’t have a very reasonable dress code without it being protested. Is asking (mostly) underage girls to not show their underwear such an outlandish and offensive idea?

    Just imagine this. You’re a teenager, walking down the halls of your high school, and you see someone’s crack hanging out. Is it distracting? Hell yes! Does that mean it is attractive, or it makes you horny? God no! Just because something is distracting doesn’t mean it’s distracting because it’s attractive.

    You also mentioned how this kind of thing is unfair to women and lets men off easy. I consider myself a feminist, but I feel this is misunderstood. If a boy was wearing a tight tank top and had the body of Gerard Butler I would be distracted. Very distracted. But in high school not many boys have the body of Gerard Butler and those that do don’t often wear tight tank tops. However, high school girls wear low cut shirts and disturbingly tiny shorts. If boys wore inappropriate, distracting things I would hope it would be enough of an issue to be banned by the dress code. If it wasn’t, THEN it would be sexist, unfair et cetera, et cetera.

    Finally, school is a learning environment, not a social one. The bare shoulders thing kind of sucks but you’re not in school 24/7. If showing half your thighs off is so important to you go somewhere else.

    Just what I think. Anyways.

  • MM

    Apparently our modern young ‘feminists’ get riled up by nothing more than their right to wear revealing clothes. I already felt that Slutwalk was popular in part for the wrong reasons.

  • Steve B

    It is a sad day when he best and brightest are offended by dressing modestly. I always though the purpose of school was to get an education, not exploite ones body.

  • Melanie Stayer

    I understand their feelings, but if they feel the need to protest something, how about the hike in student loan interest rates?

    I went to a very good Buffalo public school, and we had similar dress codes, enforced by a very mob-esque principal – no tank tops or bare shoulders (you know, because nothing gets the boys hornier than a curvy set of shoulders!), no sandals, flip-flops or open-toed shoes, no cleavage, and no skirts or shorts higher than four fingers from the center of the knee. (I actually knew a boy sent home for the last one.) The underwear thing wasn’t an issue… we had dignity back in 2001.

    These rules do seem kind of archaic, but basketball shorts were very
    short in the 70s, and that was acceptable, so this is a double standard. Rule-writers would never believe that girls seeing bare boy legs would send them into a sexual frenzy, so they should expect their gentlemen to know how to contain themselves.