It seems like there's a viral story pertaining to unfair dress codes weekly, where students take on administrations to create a less sexist learning environment. That's exactly what students in Florida are doing this week, where students started a "bracott" to protest their school dress code.
The "bracott" encouraged students to go braless, if they were comfortable, to protest the recent targeting of a fellow student, 17-year-old Lizzy Martinez, for a perceived violation of her school's dress code. It all started when Martinez of Braden River High decided to skip her bra one morning because of a sunburn on her shoulders. Opting for a long-sleeve gray shirt, Martinez went to school only to be pulled aside by the dean, Violeta Velazquez, to discuss her decision.
One of the teachers heard a group of boys laughing about Martinez's lack of a bra, and so Velazquez had her put on an undershirt and allegedly had her move around to see if her chest was "more secured" with the extra layer. Not satisfied with the results, she gave Martinez Band-Aids and told her to go “X-out her nipples.”
"Being told I was a distraction because I was braless made me feel like I am less of a person than the person who was momentarily distracted," Martinez tells Bustle. "Dress codes in general for girls put boys at an advantage because they are majority of the time based on not distracting boys... We, as girls, are told all the time how we should act, behave, dress, and think. We do not have to wear a bra if we do not want to, and we should be respected from everybody around us, if we choose not to do so."
Meredith Harbach, a University of Richmond law professor who wrote a paper on dress codes and sexualization, agrees. By imposing dress codes that specifically target girls for being "too sexy," it "deflects any and all conversation about appropriate mutually respectful behavior in schools between boys and girls," Harbach shared with The New York Times.
“Who is disrupted actually? It’s Lizzy. Whose learning experience is impacted?” Harbach asked. “It doesn’t sound like other kids had a major disruption, but she sure did.”
Which is where the bracott came in. Martinez started the protest where she encouraged girls to come braless to school and clip a bra to their backpacks. Martinez also encouraged the boys to help them stand up against the administration by sticking Band-Aids over their own nipples and on top of their shirts.
Martinez posted the boycott information on Twitter, writing "support the
#bracott" along with a poster image.
Others hopped into the thread with support, where one user wrote, "This is so great! I plan to participate in the
#bracott and will share info about it w/ all my friends. Thanks for your work, Lizzy."
Another commenter admitted she felt more comfortable with a bra on, but she wasn't turned away from the protest. As long as you believed it was a person's right to choose, you were part of the movement.
When Teen Vogue asked Martinez how the protest went, she said, “Almost every girl I talked to wasn’t wearing a bra.”
When Michael Barber, the school's director of communications, was asked for a comment by Teen Vogue, he said, "The day was completely uneventful and no Braden River High students were disciplined in any for anything to do with the alleged protest."
Bustle also reached out to the district for comment.
In case you need a reminder, teen girls will save us all.