#MyUniformIsNotYourCostume : Stop the selling of school uniforms in sex shops

#MyUniformIsNotYourCostume : Stop the selling of school uniforms in sex shops

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London Radical Feminists LRF started this petition to UK Sex Shops and Fancy Dress Stores

We are currently facing a long awaited reckoning in the UK within schools, as teachers and government ministers realise the extent of widespread sexual harassment and abuse of girls and young women. In a year where 97% of women in general have stated they have faced sexual harassment in their lifetimes, there has also been an increase in reporting of school-based harassment and abuse. However, this abuse does not begin and end within school walls. In 2018, 35% of school age girls reported to have been sexually harassed whilst travelling to and from school because they were dressed in school uniform. 

To repeat, they experienced this abuse because they were wearing school uniforms.

This harassment included groping, cat calling and wolf-whistling, all of which increases young women’s fears when out in public before and after school. This behaviour was recorded also as either experienced or witnessed by girls from the age of 8. That means that from 8 years old, girls are seeing the link between their school uniform, and the sexualisation they face.

If we want to make a society that is safer for young girls and women, we need to be addressing the causes of such harassment. In the UK today, ‘teen’ is one of the most popular categories on online pornography websites, and sex shops across the UK continue to stock school uniforms to be worn as sexual roleplay. LoveHoney currently stocks 28 products listed under ‘Sexy Costumes: Adult Student.’ Harmony lists 16 products, along with names such as ‘Teachers’ Pet’ and ‘Obsessive School Girl.’ The selling of these products sexualises school uniforms, as well as young girls and women themselves. 

How can we possibly create a safer World for young girls and women if we treat the clothing they wear to school as a sexual costume? How can we create a safer World for young girls and women if we accept that a suitable adult roleplay is to pretend one partner is below the age of consent by dressing them in clothing designed to look like that worn by young girls in 90% of British schools (especially true given students over 16 in Sixth Forms and Colleges are often not asked to wear uniform)? 

This is why we are calling on UK sex shops and lingerie suppliers to halt the selling of school uniform or school uniform inspired costumes. Our young women should be able to travel safely to and from school, not feel at risk because their school uniform is deemed by many to be a target for harassment. Our young women should be able to feel pride in their school uniforms, not feel as though wearing these puts them at risk of abuse due to unwanted links to pornography or sexual roleplay. 

Thank you.

London Radical Feminists.

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