Chelsea Cristene penned this fantastic essay last summer, but its message is just as pertinent this year.
When schools encourage teenage girls to cover up, what message are they really sending? Cristene writes:
The other day while driving home from work, I saw a shirtless man who looked about my age—mid 20's—mowing his lawn. I did not roll down my window and cat call, or yell to him that I'd like a piece of that. I did not scoff in disgust, thinking that his lack of shirt was an invitation for me to comment on his appearance in a derogatory way or to view him as someone with no self-respect. He was a man mowing his lawn, sweating under the high afternoon sun, and dressed for the weather.
That is the difference.
We live in a culture that produces girls' tops with narrower shoulder straps than boys' tops, girls' shorts that expose more leg than boys' shorts, and then shames girls for wearing the clothes that are sold to them. We live in a culture that tells boys it's OK to shed clothing in the heat in order to be more comfortable, but tells girls that their comfort is secondary to how others perceive them.
The message that we are receiving isn't just that more "revealing" clothes are wrong. It's that our female bodies are wrong. That by having breasts and hips and legs and exposing them, we are less. I'm here to tell you that you are not less. Your body is not inherently bad or wrong. Good character and a positive body image, love of fashion, or comfort in hot temperatures are not mutually exclusive.
Read the full article over at Role Reboot.