She can’t wear that to kindergarten

Photo by Lesley Show
Photo by Lesley Show

We had a nice and sunny day the other day. In fact we had a few. And on one of those days, my 4-year-old daughter (who has a great fashion sense—which everyone knows does not come from me) got dressed and as we were getting into the car, my son commented that when she goes to kindergarten next week she won’t be allowed to wear “those shorts.”

Now, I’ve written before about my rants discussions with my son about sexism, but you know who really needs to hear my rant? The school. (And don’t worry—they will.) A school which in most regards I love. It is a school that embodies beloved community—their motto is that students will be responsible, respectful, and safe. It has more parents involved than I ever imagined possible. I like the teachers. I like the principal. And yet, here, in this beautiful place, they are sexualizing kindergarteners by having a dress code that includes edicts like “no spaghetti strap tank tops” and “no short shorts.” Sexualizing you say? Yes sexualizing. Why else would you make gender-specific dress code requirements? I’m sure they’d cite the usual reason: “distraction.” But shouldn’t we have higher expectations for people to not objectify young girls?

I cannot believe that this is the world we live in. Not only do I have to plead with my daughter to not wear pajamas, but I also have to police whether her shorts are too short or her straps too much like spaghetti. Our job as parents is hard enough—please don’t force sexism into it. There’s enough of that out there already.