School dress codes aren’t only sexists, but there’s also racist and islamophobic.
I (First Nations, Mohawk) used to have hair past my chest but my middle school forced me to cut my hair because “boys couldn’t have hair past the tips of the ear” (I’m not a boy either, but they assigned me ‘boy’ as a gender) but even when I begged them to let me keep my hair because of spiritual beliefs, they forced me to cut it. A classic move of the white school system against native children. I got a referral everyday for the 65 days I refused to cut my hair. I cried for two weeks after the principal took scissors to my hair. I’m still growing it back.
My best friend (who is an aboriginal Egyptian) was once told to remove her hijab (also a gift I had given her) because “hats weren’t allowed” (a mixture of racism and islamophobia), she reluctantly took it off.
In middle school again, my friend Nemo ( First Nations, Navajo) was told she couldn’t wear her traditional clothing on her 13 birthday, celebrating her reaching puberty. She was sent home and forced to spend her birthday alone while her parents worked.
Tomorrow is my 18th birthday, an important life event in Mohawk culture (becoming an adult) and I want to wear my traditional clothes to school, especially because I’ll have to celebrate all alone this year since I live far away from my nation. Even though my school doesn’t have uniforms or a strict dress code, I’m afraid they’ll tell me that my clothes or very light face paint are “distracting” and tell me to take off my traditional jewellery (headband, choker, bracelets) or wash off the face paint.
I’m sure these are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to racism in the school dress code, and general school systems. White culture is enforced in everything from the dress code to the curriculum.
many european countries explicitly prohibit wearing headscarves like the hijab in schools, too
Oh my god. And I thought school dress codes were only sexist. This is a whole new level.
don’t forget african-american students being sent home for or forbidden from wearing their natural hairstyles