In news that shouldn't surprise anyone, the Utah school which claimed it photoshopped girls to show less skin in order to comply with the dress code allowed pictures of shirtless boys exposing their underwear in a previous yearbook.
The fallout from a school's incredibly misguided decision to edit female yearbook pictures to show less skin continues.
Last year's Wasatch High School yearbook included a page called "Wasatch Stud Life," which featured photos of male students pulling up their shirts and showing their underwear. Wow. It's like they invented this double standard in a lab to make the most ridiculous double standard of all time. Via the Salt Lake Tribune:
Midway parent Melissa Milam asked her teenage son how he felt about Wasatch High's modesty guidelines, cited amid national attention as the reason girls' yearbook photos were altered to cover shoulders and raise necklines.
He responded by opening last year's yearbook to a page titled "Wasatch Stud Life."
Boys in the photos are sleeveless, with shirts pulled open to bare chests, boxer shorts are showing and a tattoo is on display. "Studs doin' what studs do best!" the page proclaims.
In case that's not enough proof of the school's flagrant disregard for their own rules, the student who had her tattoo removed didn't even violate the code, by their own definition:
Sophomore Shelby Baum found her photo scrubbed of a tattoo on her collarbone that says, "I am enough the way I am." The school district's dress code, written in 2002, allows tattoos as long as they are not so "conspicuous, extreme or odd" that they draw undue attention or disrupt the learning atmosphere.[...]
Baum's mother saw irony in the fact that the school "erased" the positive message in her daughter's tattoo.
"That's what's so insane," said Bobbi Jo Wilkerson-Westergard, "The school just said 'No, you're not. We're going to edit you.' "
Hey, Wasatch High School administrators—your hypocrisy is showing. Big time. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, "a statement on the high school's website apologized for inconsistency in how students' portraits were altered and said the Heber City school and Wasatch County School District are re-evaluating the practice. But it also noted a sign warned students as they were photographed that dress code violations would be edited."
For the last time, it's not that you have a dress code that you want to enforce. It's that you single out girls in your enforcement practices because of the implication that their clothing choices and bare skin might generate sexual desire in men or young boys. Let me be absolutely clear about this, lest there be any confusion—there is absolutely nothing wrong with having a dress code or setting a standard for professional attire. The issue is when that standard is solely built around the idea that women are the ones who must be responsible for covering themselves because they create a problem for the men who see them.
When you operate as an institution where a few inches of chest on a young girl are so problematic they must be covered up, but teenage boys are allowed to boast about "stud life" and show off their exposed chests, tattoos and underwear that's proof that you aren't concerned about the professional appearance of your students.
When a dress code is written or enforced only to punish women for possibly arousing or distracting men, that's bullshit. That's sexism at work, folks. Plain and simple. No matter how many times you scream "BUT PROFESSIONALISM" it doesn't change the reality that women, time and time again are the ones who are forced to feel ashamed about their bodies under the guise of things like school dress codes or "professionalism."
"Professionalism" doesn't excuse sexism.