A high-school student’s experience with her institution’s ‘sexist’ dress code is highlighting a double-standard when it comes to coronavirus mask policy that online commentators are blasting as ‘idiotic’.
The story was shared to Twitter by an enraged mother on Wednesday, who revealed her teen daughter had been sent home for a dress code violation just one week before her school refused a mask-wearing order, arguing they had no way to enforce the mandate.
“Last week my daughter was sent home from school to change a pair of shorts she was wearing they said were too short,” mum Kristine wrote on Twitter.
“This week the health district issued a mandatory mask in public order and the schools said they don’t have anything they can do for noncompliance.”
15-year-old Eliza was sent home for presenting to school in the following pair of denim shorts, despite the school saying it would be impossible to force student’s to wear masks just one week later.
Kristine tells Yahoo Lifestyle she immediately withdrew her daughter from school after they ignored the mask-wearing order, and says she notified the school counsellor who processed the withdrawal of the ironic double standard.
“While I was talking to the counsellor I mentioned to her how ironic I found the situation—I know they can enforce it but choose not to because my daughter was sent home the week before over shorts,” she says.
“She said she’d pass on the feedback to admin.”
In the US public schools do not have uniforms and often include a strict dress code.
In recent years those dress codes have come under fire for what many argue is a sexist skew towards over-policing young women’s bodies and sending them home over minor infractions like spaghetti straps, or ‘short’ clothing.
‘Inconsistent’ standards on modesty and masks slammed on Twitter
Many couldn’t believe the school would police students in the interest of modesty, but wouldn’t do the same in the interests of health.
“They can police female bodies all day long, but they can’t enforce masks to save lives,” one response read. “Because they’re cowards. Afraid of letting women live their lives and afraid of admitting science is right.”
“Policing the behaviours/clothes of girls is easier than policing behaviour in the interest of public health—during a pandemic,” another baffled observer wrote. “Insanity. And so telling.”
Some pointed out that policing a few students violating dress codes was easier than making an entire school wear masks, but others couldn’t move past the prioritisation of modesty over health.
One person called the situation ‘disgusting’ while another said it left them ‘seething with anger’.
“Look, Kristine, what should schools prioritise—students' safety, or their fashion choices?” was one sarcastic response. “It's not like protecting their lives is more important than protecting their "modesty" or that your daughter's well-being matters more than someone's feelings.”
“That would be ridiculous.”
Mask-wearing as US cases explode
The US has so far recorded 6.7 million cases of coronavirus, making it the world’s worst-hit country according to figures from John Hopkins.
An estimated 197,000 people have died from the virus in the United States, compared to a global toll of 943,000.
The World Health Organisation has stated that mask-wearing should be enforced wherever there is widespread community transmission.
“Governments should encourage the general public to wear a fabric mask if there is widespread community transmission, and especially where physical distancing cannot be maintained,” the guidelines read. “Why? Masks are a key tool in a comprehensive approach to the fight against COVID-19.”
Their fact sheet outlines how, when and why to wear a mask.
It’s not the first time a dress code has sparked fury, in Australia a woman was recently booted from a gym after a school group complained about her inappropriate’ attire.
In a confusing tale, Sydney-sider Gabi Watson went to the gym in perfectly normal workout wear - a crop top and scrunch bum bike shorts - but was shocked when she was asked to leave due to her outfit, after a staff member asked her “are you wearing a g-string?”.
Gabi was initially told a school teacher supervising a gym class had complained, but later found out it was the gym staff who decided her attire was unacceptable.