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I almost couldn't believe this story when I read it this morning. Almost. But when it comes to women's bodies and puritanical pearl-clutching, there's not much that surprises me anymore.

Here's a very brief synopsis of the story as reported in the Washington Post:

A high school swimming champion in Alaska exited the pool after beating her competitors, but instead of being awarded her hard-earned first prize, she was disqualified. Why? Because her swimsuit was riding too far up her butt.

Yes, seriously.

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Parents whose children attend James Madison High School were taken aback when they received a letter from Principal Carlotta Outley Brown outlining a strict dress code they needed to adhere to while on school grounds.

“We are preparing your child for a prosperous future,” Brown wrote. “We want them to know what is appropriate and what is not appropriate for any setting they may be in.”

The list of banned items was pretty extensive. It included satin caps, bonnets, shower caps, hair rollers, pajamas or any pajama-looking attire, jeans “torn from your buttocks to all the way down showing lots of skin,” leggings “showing your bottom and where your body is not covered from the front or back,” very low cut or revealing tops, sagging pants, shorts or jeans, Daisy Dukes, low rider shorts, undershirts on men and dresses that are “up to your behind.”

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A North Carolina school required girls to wear skirts as part of their uniform. Two years ago, three female students decided to take a stand against the outdated code.

Keely Burks, 14, and the oldest of the three, created a petition asking her school to change its policy requiring the female students to wear skirts or risk punishment, which under the school’s policy could include calling parents, removing them from class and possibly expulsion. She herself had been punished for wearing shorts and was forced to “sit in the office all day” until her mother came to pick her up.

Burks explained that wearing skirts was a burden early on in her education. They kept her from sitting cross-legged like the boys, do cartwheels at recess or play soccer.

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