Two weights, two measures: it took guys to wear the skirt in class for the cause of the dress code, defended by girls for years, is finally heard. And while guys are praised for their daring, girls are still sent home when they reveal a little more thigh than allowed.
Marie (not her real name) was sent home on Tuesday because her dress was too short. However, the student of 5e secondary school, who requested anonymity for fear of reprisals from the school, had put on her dress in order to send a clear message: she wanted to denounce the hypersexualization of girls who find themselves trapped by a dress code that is too strict . On that day, several boys wore the skirt and the girls, the dress.
“After only a few minutes of class, supervisors came in with rulers to measure the length of the girls’s dresses,” explains the student from École des Sentiers in Charlesbourg. The girls refused, on principle. “It came to reinforce the legitimacy of the movement that we wanted to denounce,” Marie said on the phone.
The management told them to change or go home. “They didn’t even listen to our arguments, didn’t even try to understand our point of view or discuss. That’s what made me angry the most, ”said the young girl, who walked home with her friends rather than changing.
“Yes, school is a place of learning and it’s okay to have rules, but you are able to decide how you want to dress,” she says confidently.
Emma (not her real name) was also sent home because of the length of her dress. She too requested anonymity. “If I’m not allowed to come to school just because I’m showing off my legs, it just goes to show how inappropriate the dress code is. And it’s not just the length of the skirt that’s the problem: it’s the concept behind it. Preventing girls from wearing certain clothes because it will distract boys, that’s ridiculous! “
The management of the Sentiers school refused the interview request of the Duty for confidentiality reasons. The First Seigneuries School Service Center was unable to comment on these specific cases, but assures the service center schools have “nothing against the movement” of boys wearing skirts. On the contrary, says spokesperson Martine Chouinard, several schools have sent letters to parents telling them it was a good cause.
Critics to Jean-Eudes
The movement of boys in skirts also triggered a chain reaction at Jean-Eudes college. A few days ago, the college published a Radio-Canada article on its Facebook page featuring one of the boys from the school.
While this is clearly a female issue, it is the men who stand out as the “heroes” of the situation. Like what, even today, women still do not have a say in their bodies …
“Today, our students have used their creativity to question the place of the uniform in college,” we read on the Facebook page. We welcome this initiative as a desire to be part of a great conversation that goes far beyond the dress code. We salute the daring of young people who will always dare to question ways of doing things and traditions in order to create new ones, while respecting the vision of our institution: raising intelligences and hearts. “
This message was highly appreciated by many, but poorly received by others, especially by former students of the 2018 cohort who denounce the “hypocrisy” of the college.
“They pride themselves on giving an education that promotes openness, when they kept us from having those positions. To say today that this boy is turned on, when we girls have never listened to us on this subject, I find that completely hypocritical, “denounces Zoe Quiviger.
Both on social media and in interviews at Duty, young women talk about the “hunt for short skirts,” of the “humiliation” they suffered when they were called to the length of their skirt, of the ” walk of shame They had to go through every day as they had to parade past the supervisors who analyzed the length of the skirt.
In interview at DutySamie McNicoll, 19, thanks the boys for their support, which advances the cause, but finds that a boy’s word – or deed – seems worth more than a girl’s.
“I put no blame on these boys who had nothing but good intentions,” she wrote on her Facebook page. They are aware of their “boy privilege ”, used it as a weapon and honestly: thanks to them. It’s just that while this is clearly a female issue, it’s the men who come out as the “heroes” of the situation. Like what, even today, women still do not have a say in their bodies … “
Request for an apology
About fifteen former students wrote a letter to the management of Jean-Eudes, notably asking for an apology.
“Would it be too much to ask our former college to show good faith in publicly apologizing for its degrading and humiliating attitude towards students when it was about the length of their skirts in the past,” they write .
In interview at Duty, the director general of the college, Dominic Blanchette, replies that he has “always been open to discussion” and recalls that this is an “educational house” and that some control is required.
“I like to say that we must enter our educational institutions with practically the same respect as we have in our religious institutions,” says Mr. Blanchette.
According to him, wearing the uniform is not a real problem. “We did a survey last year on all aspects and only 7% of students said they were unhappy with the uniform. “
Finally, he maintains that it is “impossible to revisit the past”, that everyone has acted “in good faith” and that the college evolves with the times “with respect for the values which are dear to it”.