I am the youngest member of a senior leadership for a large inner city comprehensive school. The head brought in a consultant to work with the senior team. After my meeting I saw him and the head in the corridor and he said to my head “Ah I met this charming young lady earlier. I never forget a lovely face. What a bright spark – but she is fiery!”. I cannot conceive of a male colleague being described like that.
I’ve seen girls get dress coded by female teachers who they then ask a male teacher if their outfit is too sexualizing. This can go from shorts, or shirts that are maybe an inch above the end of their jeans. Even today i was dress coded because my shorts were too short (even though they went passed my fingertips, the rule at my school) because, and I quote this from a teacher, “Boys have enough distractions as it is. They don’t need to see legs too.” Dress codes are sexualizing women and what I’ve noticed is that it’s not even the male students at our school sexualizing women, its the teachers and the staff. I see boys wearing t-shirts that have women in only their underwear and get away with it, but girls get yelled at for wearing spaghetti straps.
Today, my friends and I performed a dance to the song Single Ladies by Beyonce. We all loved the song and were so happy to perform it. After performance, which was so much fun, a teacher told another teacher “This is a christian school not a strip club”. We were all fully clothed and wore gold hoops. Beside what does it matter what we were wearing? A thought came to me after school today, if we were all boys wearing that and dancing to Beyonce we would’ve been thought of as funny and not sexual. Just because I have a woman’s body doesn’t mean it is inherently sexual. A woman shouldn’t have to be modest to be respected. Another teacher last year said that she could name the girls who were going to be raped in the future by the way they act and dress. This is just some of the sexism that exists in schools. There is so much more. It is a sad world we live in where we have to fight for equality. All of this is such a travesty. We need to change this.