The Truth: School Dress Codes Promote Rape Culture

Between the bodyshaming series and two rejections from feminist publishers, I’ve been a bit weighed down. I think I was afraid to return to writing in this space because all of the stories that women bravely shared became a looming, black forrest of truth.

As someone who finds it almost impossible to lie, (with many foot-in-mouth moments to prove it) it seems odd that I am avoiding the truth. Still too much of the ugly stuff can make you feel like giving up. After 30 days, I felt like I’d ended up at the bottom of a well. I hope I can rise to the occasion and do the series again next year.

In the meantime, I have to climb out because this is the world we all live in, and change doesn’t happen when we wallow in holes. (Though there are certainly a lot of great Netflix options down here.) When girls are given detention for wearing dresses, when schools ban skirts, or deliver vague sanctions for not dressing with “good taste” we all have to be on guard to encourage kids to see the truth in these actions.

And the truth is, dress codes that focus on girl’s developing bodies contribute to a culture of rape, sexual slavery and sexism in this world.

And if even the feminist publishers don’t see this – the issue of bodyshaming girls and promoting rape culture through school dress codes is even more dire than I believed.


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    Juliet C. Bond

    Juliet C. Bond is a writer and professor at Columbia College in Chicago. Her first book, "Sam’s Sister," was published in 2005, and has sold over 50,000 copies. She went on to collaborate with Newberry winner Joyce Sidman to publish the stage adaptation of "This is Just to Say." Juliet’s shorter works can be found in "The Prairie Wind," at and Juliet serves as the Welcome Coordinator for The Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators in Illinois, and has had the pleasure of working under the tutelage of award winning authors including; Jane Yolen, Jane Hamilton, Laurie Lawlor and Audrey Niffinegger. She chose the name for this space as an homage to Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony whose hard work on gender equality serve as daily motivation to continue fighting for girls and women everywhere.

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