End the Sexualization of Young Women's Shoulders in Escambia County Schools
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My name is Hannah Grace Smith and I attend West Florida High School in Pensacola, Florida. Many of my classmates and I have found a part of the Escambia County School District's dress code that is incredibly sexist and unnecessary, and I believe that it should be revoked. The current 2016-2017 dress code says, "Clothing that exposes the entire shoulder, tube tops, spaghetti straps, or similar type of clothing may only be worn with a blouse or shirt". During my time in Escambia County school's, I have found that this rule in itself creates the distraction, not the women's shoulders. If administration didn't shout "SHOULDERS ARE A DISTRACTION" from the rooftops of our schools, many wouldn't even view them as a distraction. I know from personal experience that when a young women wears a shirt that exposes any of her shoulder to school, countless people yell "Dress code!" at her, simply because the rule is shoved in our faces day in and day out. If this rule simply didn't exist, there wouldn't be an issue.
I have been told by the administration at my school that by exposing my shoulders in public, I am "distracting the boys and creating an unproductive learning environment". However, this simply isn't true. Every young man that I have ever asked about the shoulder rule has told me that they don't see why it was created. They don't view shoulders as a distraction and shoulders don't prohibit them from learning.
This rule is also incredibly sexist in its implementation. Many boys wear "muscle shirts" or tank tops to Physical Education and mid-day sports practices with no punishment or consequences. They do this simply because we live in Florida. And in case you didn't know, Florida is hot. Most people would say that it is unreasonable to ban boys from wearing less material when practicing sports because they will overheat. Why isn't this the same for girls? Girls practice sports. They also go to Physical Education. It makes no sense to allow boys to get away with tank tops and not girls. However, this is not just a problem at West Florida. I have been told by a friend at Washington High School that boys are allowed to go to PE SHIRTLESS, but the girls still are required to cover their shoulders. It is sexist and simply unfair to ask a girl to cover up her body where it doesn't need to be covered in the hot Florida summer, but let the boys run around with far less clothing than the girls. This issue can be easily avoided if girls are allowed to expose their shoulders. While that little difference between a short sleeved shirt and a tank top doesn't seem like much of a change, one would be surprised at how it can help prevent over-heating.
In conclusion, I believe that the "shoulder rule" should be revoked all together. This rule is sexist, unfair, and unnecessary in Escambia County Schools.
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