High School Girls Demand to Know Why Bra Straps Are Disrespectful

Image via Getty Images.
Image via Getty Images.

In the age-old debate over whether boys go to Jupiter to get more stupider, whilst girls go to college to get more knowledge, warring boy-girl bathroom notes have sparked newsworthy discourse in a Canadian high school.

CNN reports that last week, a manifesto about the summer dress code appeared in the girls’ bathroom of the Wild Rose School of Breton, Alberta:

When you interrupt a girl’s school day to force her to change clothes, or send her home because her shorts are too short or her bra straps are visible, you are telling her that making sure boys have a ‘distraction free’ learning environment is more important than her education. Instead of shaming girls for their bodies teach boys that girls are not sexual objects!!!


Besides, it’s hot out. (And seriously, bra straps?) The feminist cry was swiftly rebuked on the walls of the boys’ bathroom:

When you wear little to no clothing and dress provocatively because it’s ‘too hot out’ or because you think it’s ‘attractive,’ you are putting boys at risk of having a distracting working environment and saying ‘Your clothing is more important than their education,’” it said. “Instead of dressing like a THOT [ed note: high school for “that ho over there”] value the male education and dress conservatively.

The 14-year-old sexism is obviously dumb, but it matters because the “value of the male education” carries over as subtext in the adult conversation. The school district says that students must dress “in a respectful way”–language which tends to be a theme in the periodic dress code debates, and the Wild Rose School dress code leaves the definition of “respect” pretty unambiguously gendered. No “cleavage,” “navels,” or “bra straps,” for example–and yet for guys, there’s no explicit mention of regions like “junk,” only “boxers.” Here are the guidelines verbatim from the school handbook:

1. All shorts/skirts must exceed the length of arms/fingers and the in-seam to shorts must be the minimum of one hand length.

2. Straps for shirts must be three fingers wide for males and females, and bra straps must be covered.

3. All navels must be covered.

4. Cleavage must be covered.

5. Pants/Shorts must be pulled up so that boxers/briefs are not exposed.

6. Images/words on tops/bottoms must be appropriate for a professional learning environment.

7. Hats are not permitted on either gender in school unless it is a designated “School Hat Day.”


To be fair, no hats for anybody.

Staff reporter, Gizmodo. wkimball @ gizmodo

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I have relatives who are high school teachers, and have had this debate with them. They’ll say things about how high school girls are all dressing “slutty these days” (ugh), their cleavage is too much, etc etc, they just want attention. And I’m like listen, WHY do you care? Why do kids have to dress professionally? They aren’t professionals. They’re kids. Also what is “professionally” anyway? Also YES they want attention, that’s the life phase they’re at, and so do most adults anyway. The teachers I know have argued that you should have to dress as you would for a job interview at school... but WHY? It’s not a job interview. Dumb dress codes like these also unfairly penalize women with some body shapes over others. If you have naturally larger breasts, you are going to have to wear a top with more coverage to keep your “cleavage” out of view. That’s pretty shitty. ANYWAY. This comment is not super coherent because this whole high school dress code situation gives me the rages.