Dear Mr. or Madam President,
Within the past five years, women around the world have been banned from wearing certain clothes, forced to leave school or even humiliated in front of others, all because their clothing is distracting to men. Women's clothing has evolved over the years, and not just through style, but through what we are allowed to wear as teenage girls at our schools, churches or where we work. As a seventeen year old girl, I have been restricted to what I am allowed to wear in several places, and all reasons have been because authority figures have told me it can be distracting for boys around me. Men's clothing has not been restricted nearly as much as women's clothing in several situations. The restrictions on women's clothing have been pushed too far and have caused women to be offended and humiliated all around the world.
I have been restricted to what I wear on my school campus, and around my church congregation. At my school, girls are not allowed to wear tank tops, jeans with embellishments on the bottom, or jeans that show our ankles. Though I am not sure how exposed ankles or jean embellishments should be distracting, the restrictions just make me feel more self conscious about my body and what I wear. The only restrictions for boys at my school is a rule against wearing hats and having facial hair. While women don't wear hats as much as men or have facial hair, the restrictions set for boys at my school are not as strict or restrictive as the ones enforced for women. At my church, it is seen disrespectful or rude if girls wear a dress too revealing or too short, while men are allowed to wear shorts or tight pants that do not seem disrespectful. I am not the only girl who has been restricted to what women wear either, though.
Monitoring what women and girls wear is a common practice in schools, churches, and places of work. Many women in our country are told what they can and can't wear. In her article listing several things women have been prevented from wearing, Rossalyn Warren, senior reporter for Buzzfeed, said that a student "... was told in front of her class that she would have to change out of her shorts or face suspension from school." She continues to say that the student responded by, "... [printing a poster that said] 'Don't humiliate her because she is wearing shorts. It's hot outside. Instead of shaming girls for their bodies, teach boys that girls are not sexual objects.'" I think the student's response was a very accurate way to stand up against these restrictions and how we are being affected just so our clothing won't affect boys. Warren gave another example of shaming women for their clothing when she explained that a 17-year-old girl was shamed at her prom because her dress didn't fit the "fingertip length" dress code requirement. Warren explains that "Dads chaperoning the event had her removed in case she gave boys 'impure thoughts.'" In this situation, a girl had to leave her own prom 'in case' a boy got impure thoughts, not because something did actually go wrong. Restrictions on women's clothing have not only been a problem in our country, but also around the world. Warren continued to provide examples of other situations where women are shamed as she said, "A pastor in Kenya banned his female congregants from wearing underwear to church as he believed it prevented them from feeling closer to God." CNN writer Lauren Said-Moorhouse explains the controversial ban of burkinis in Nice, France and how, "Armed police officers forced a woman at a Nice beach to remove some of her clothing as part of the French city's controversial ban on the burkini." She continues to explain that the photos of the woman, "...show officers, armed with guns and batons, standing around the woman, who was lying on the beach in a blue headscarf and a matching top." She was forced to remove the burkini as it increases growing terror concerns; yet men are not restricted on the beaches of Nice. There are several other examples of women who were harassed or banned from wearing certain clothes around the world, but some people think it should continue.
Although most people think restrictions on women's clothing now are too strict, some people think these restrictions should be enforced more. Though I agree that there should be restrictions on what women wear, I think most of the restrictions that are enforced now go too far. Clothing has been restricted for over a century. Tim Lambert, London history blogger and researcher says that, "[In the 1900's,] Women wore long dresses [because it] was not acceptable for women to show their legs." Although those restrictions are not enforced as much as they were in the 1900's, the reasons we are restricted now I do not understand. Some people think that women's clothing can be distracting while men are driving, and that women should be restricted to what they wear in their cars or around public areas. I think some women wear clothes that are too revealing, but we should not be told what we can or cannot wear in our own cars or around town. I believe women should have the same restrictions as men in school campuses, work offices and churches. If we are all restricted the same, no one should be able to look at another person as a sexual object.
The restrictions on women's clothing have been pushed too far and have caused women to be offended and humiliated all around the world. In the end, I believe women and men should have equal restrictions, not exactly the same ones. I also believe a woman's clothing should not be distracting to a men's education, as we should not be looked at as a sexual object because our "ankles are too revealing" in a school zone. Women around the world are sexualized, harassed, embarrassed and self-conscious now around the world from restrictions enforced on what we put on our own bodies.