It seems like we've been hearing way too many of these types of stories lately. This week, Canadian teenager Lauren Wiggins received detention for wearing what teachers deemed an "inappropriate" dress that was "sexually distracting" for male students, according to BuzzFeed. If you're imagining some lascivious American Apparel-esque ensemble right now, go ahead and wipe that out of your mind because what Wiggins was wearing is not even close. Instead, the dress in question is an ankle-grazing, halter-top maxi dress.
That's right, despite what pop culture may have your believe, a dress that literally only leaves a young woman's shoulders exposed is apparently enough to send hormonal teen boys into a sexual tizzy.
After receiving a detention for the innocuous garment as it is in conflict with school rules, Wiggins quickly took to Facebook to protest her school's discriminatory dress code practices, particularly the language used to convey the reasoning behind her detention. The Harrison Trimble High School student posted a photo of her dress along with her three page, hand-written letter to her principle, saying:
Today I received a detention because the outfit I am wearing is considered inappropriate and a sexual distraction to the young men in my school. Enough is enough. I'm tired of the unjust standards that we as women are held up to. I'm tired of the discrimination against our bodies, and I'm absolutely fed up with comments that make us feel like we can't be comfortable without being provocative. It's time to change the worlds mindset. Now.
In the letter, she goes on to articulate the school's double standard when it comes to male and female dress and to outline how this type of accusatory, slut-shaming language surrounding female students' choice in dress directly contributes to the proliferation of rape culture. As Wiggins smartly puts it, "If you are truly so concerned that a boy in this school will get distracted by my upper back and shoulders then he needs to be sent home and practice self control."
It's great to hear an increasing number of news stories about young women standing up for themselves and their mode of dress in order to fight misogyny in all of its subtle, manifold forms. However, it's disheartening to know that Wiggins thoughtful, well-penned letter fell on deaf ears. According to a comment written by Lauren's father on the photos posted above, his daughter was subsequently suspended from school, allegedly for that letter and for attempting to have a dialogue with her principal on the subject.
The whole thing is already an absurd, upsetting affair, but when educators carelessly dismisses an opportunity to engage the student body in a real, educational dialogue around such a huge social issue, it's downright heartbreaking.
Bustle has reached out to Harrison Trimble High School for a comment on their decision and will update if they respond.
Images: Lauren Wiggins/Facebook