The Detrimental Double Standard


Leila Stewart, Co-Editor in Chief

In the hormonal high school climate, sexual references and allusions are bounced along the walls of our school on a daily basis. These conversations happen within friends groups, on the sports’ fields, during extracurricular activities, and practically any setting involving a group of students.

Part of this can be attributed to maturity, or a lack thereof, but there is also a deeper, more problematic reason far beyond side-glances or raunchy comments.

Not only these conversations, but the attitude that they manifest are a reflection of the treatment and stigma towards women and femininity; that it should be subjected to subjugation and is genetically inferior.

Beyond the inappropriate talk, American rape culture is evident in our very own school dress code.

“Too much skin” is seen as a distraction because unlike most male bodies, women’s bodies are constantly sexualized and scrutinized under the public eye.

Back in middle school, there was an epidemic of students, specifically boys, who were caught taking pictures of girls’ butts and instead of putting restrictions on phone usage during school, they put restrictions on the autonomy of the girls’ bodies.

“Boys will be boys” they say, but many administrators have yet to consider the sentiments of girls because in our society we hold girls to a higher standard. We expect them to be mature, to be modest, to be conservative and excuse the behavior of boys under the presumption that they’re simply not there yet, or that girls mature faster, or some other excuse.

Regardless of who is more mature, the fact of the matter is that we focus on the appearance of the girls rather than the actions of the boys. With this ideology we are subconsciously teaching young girls that the way that they are treated can be dictated and justified by their outward appearance.

In American society, being inherently sexist is easier to justify than the idea that women’s bodies are not for male consumption.

Not to say that we should walk around in crop tops and booty shorts, but we should re-evaluate the way that we view these situations. The perverted thoughts or actions by others towards women are not a reflection of their value or in any way their fault.

Complaining about the strictness of school dress codes may seem trivial, but it’s not the rule itself that’s necessarily problematic but rather the sexist ideology behind it.

The clothes we choose to wear or not to wear are a part of the freedom of expression we were given in this country. When you put the idea in girls’ heads that their worth lies in the perception that others have of them, how could they ever be expected to truly accept and appreciate themselves? And if one does not see and act on their total potential, how can they ever succeed? Whether we are conscious of it or not, we are degrading our girls and implementing the detrimental mindset that they are merely objects of male affection versus individuals with thoughts, opinions, and aspirations that should be nurtured and cherished.

As Michelle Obama once said, “No country can ever truly flourish if it stifles the potential of its women and deprives itself of the contributions of half its citizens.”