Band-Aids & Bras: My Thoughts on Dress Codes

If you want to wear a bra, wear one. If you don't want to, then don't. 

At least you'd think it would be that simple.

Lizzy Martinez, a 17-year-old Florida high school student, wore a shirt with no bra underneath to school in early April. The school dean, Violeta Velazquez, called Lizzy into her office and told her to put on an additional shirt to “constrict” her breasts. Velazquez proceeded to have Lizzy move around, presumably to see if her breasts moved around too much to create a distraction. (Because boobs never move, right?) Lizzy was then sent to the nurse’s office where she was handed four band-aids to cover her nipples. Lizzy later staged a “bracott” where she encouraged other female students to come to school without bras and for the boys to come to school with band-aids over their shirt in solidarity. 

Image via Twitter

Ladylike, a group from Buzzfeed, made a video inspired by the incident. One of the ladies, Kristin, wore band-aids on her nipples for a day. The video shows how ridiculous the notion is that if someone doesn't wear a bra, everyone will notice and people (especially boys) will be distracted. Kristin asks her friends if they noticed she wasn't wearing a bra. One of her friends, Jen (my fave), replied, "No, I can't tell. I try not to look at my friend's breasts." Kristin replies, "Yes, because that's a thing that you learn to not do." To these girls, it's common sense to not stare at people's bodies. If Jen and Kristin can stop themselves from looking at women’s breasts, especially in a workplace, why can't everyone else?Image via Favim.com

It is not a woman’s fault if her body is distracting to others. It is up to others, especially men, to control themselves and their eyes. I love that Lizzy stands up for herself. “The students that were laughing or snickering or talking about me, that should have been addressed, not me, because I wasn’t the issue there," Lizzy told the Bradenton Herald. Enforcing dress codes by taking girls out of class sends the signal that a woman should give up time meant for education so that men can focus on learning. This sends the message that society values men’s education more than women’s.

My male teacher once wore a shirt we could see his nipples through. Honestly, my classmates gave each other looks and laughed about it afterwards. But I never once thought to ask him to change his shirt or put band-aids over his nipples because that’s just not a thing normal people do

Image result for bras cartoonImage via laurachenault.com

Dress codes are not enforced equally among men and women. What about the guys who wear muscle tanks to class? Have I reported you to the principal because my attention is now on your biceps instead of integrals? No. Because I know that I need to adapt to my surroundings and accept people’s choices. If I can’t pay attention, then there is something going on with me. The person who is distracting me is just living their life. I don’t have the right to tell them what or what not to wear. Image via Buzzfeed

Since when did bras become necessary? Bras are not the most comfortable thing in the world. One of the best moments is when you get home and take off your bra. Bras are never even addressed in the Florida high school’s dress code, but Lizzy still got in trouble. I think wearing a bra should be a personal choice. Just let us feel comfortable in our bodies without worrying about what anyone else thinks.

Image via me.me

Dress codes reinforce the hypersexualization of women’s bodies. Breasts are natural. I think as long as the breast itself is covered in school, it shouldn’t matter if girls wear bras or not. The next time a fellow classmate or official (especially a male one) asks a girl to change her appearance because people are distracted, I suggest removing the distracted people instead of the so-called “distraction." We should not deprive women of their security, comfort, and education.