Our Town—Teens Mobilize & Message

Watch the video here

So proud of these girls in our town who are pushing back on being blamed for “distracting” boys with their outfits, and getting punished for it. Punishments include having to wear a huge Scarlet Letter-ish “shirt of shame” for the rest of the day, totally covering their bodies.

But I’m thrilled that this group of girls has mobilized to protest this code and punishments. They are utilizing the online communications tools that make now organizing so much easier to build and scale. And they know how to message! Check out the hashtag #iammorethanadistraction.

“They are composing a list of issues to address with the school administration and are organizing a silent protest by wearing #iammorethanadistraction t-shirts. These amazing girls realize that they have the power to break down what appears to be outdated patriarchal mores by speaking up and demanding the equality they deserve,” reports one local dad.

This issue was highlighted big-time by the recent Santa Barbara rampage—as attention has shifted to how the misogyny embedded in our culture leads to violence against women, in numbers that are shocking.

Kudos to our girls—who are joining their sisters across the nation in fighting back. #iammorethanadistraction is a fantastic response.

But our girls are just girls. It’s up to us  adults to push responsibility back where it belongs—on a system and society that normalizes violence against women.

Even better, campaign your school board to stop “blaming and shaming” girls. Thanks!

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Nancy Schwartz on June 18, 2014 in Advocacy | 6 comments

  • I personally have such mixed feelings about this. As a life-long feminist, I absolutely agree that girls shouldn’t be punished or otherwise shamed or demeaned and told whatever reactions boys have to their clothing is *their* responsibility, leaving the boys themselves out of the equation. (And yes, where’s the shaming for boys wearing their jeans and pants below their a**es?? Seriously? *No one* wants to see your Calvin Kleins, bud…)

    On the other hand, the very short shorts (which tend to show off a LOT more than only legs) and the skin-tight spaghetti-strap tanks (for example) are specifically designed to draw the eyes of others. Girls should be able to explore their self-confidence and body-comfort without having to show off everything they have to do so. IMO.

    Their sexuality is not the only thing they have to offer to the world and to potential mates; why do we (adults, society, media, clothing manufacturers, etc) encourage them to emphasize that so much, in their clothing choices?

  • Sarah Weissman

    but if a girl has an option between short shorts and pants, we can’t blame her for wearing short shorts. Yes, products are hypersexualized. ALso dangerous is how people equate “she wanted attention” to “she should have expected to get raped.” I absolutely know that’s not what you mean, but others walk a fine, fine line and that’s a dangerous path to go down.

  • Sarah Weissman

    YES. Adding something that these sorts of shaming and dress codes are what lead to victim-blaming in situations where a woman’s been raped. “Well she was wearing this and men are animalistic…” “What was she wearing?” It starts here, which is why many women BLAME THEMSELVES for what happened.

  • I appreciate you saying you know that’s not what I meant, but I do want to emphasize I’m *not* trying to place blame on girls; rather on society’s mores that teach girls that their bodies are what’s valuable about them, and showing as much as possible is the way to show that value. Hope I’m being clear, here. Perhaps I’m revealing much more about my *own* body issues in this discussion!

  • Sarah Weissman

    I believe we agree at the core issues :)

  • John Brown

    With all due respect, the fact remains, however, that boys and girls are different in some respects…For teenage boys with moderate to high testosterone levels,
    – girls actually glow.
    – girls who show lots of skin sometimes produce an electrical shock.

    Naturally, boys with high testosterone levels find the glowing and electrical shocks to be distracting, particularly during classroom lectures. Please keep in mind that the glowing and shocks continue 24/7, as long as young women who are showing lots of skin are present.

    Both the glowing and the electrical shocks are generated by the testosterone and brains of the boys. The boys don’t have any more control over the glowing and shocks than girls have control over their monthly periods.

    Please remember that only twenty years ago that girls were able to dress comfortably in school and yet showed a lot less skin than girls show today. And yet, both girls and boys were able to get educations, graduate from college and become doctors, lawyers and so on.

    I know you don’t want to hear this, but boys deserve a good education just as much as girls…So, maybe today’s girls should dress the way their mom’s dressed twenty years ago? Or, maybe girls should dress like boys? Or, maybe uniforms are the way to go. Uniforms certainly save money spent on clothing.

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