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Gender specific dress codes

  1. avivoca

    watermelon / 14467 posts

    @Smurfette: A lot of private schools here have that rule. Both boys and girls are not allowed to have non-natural hair colors, but only girls may have long hair.

  2. jennlin821

    kiwi / 617 posts

    I'm surprised at how many people are ok with this rule.
    And perhaps my thoughts will change, as my DD is only 8 months old.

    But to me this is the first step towards body-shaming/clothes-shaming. What if this were the rule in elementary school?

    If a parent chooses to put their child in shorts under their dress for practical reasons (it is hard to slide in just a dress, and burning metal hurts!) I understand that.

    However it is something completely different to say that shorts are required because kids are asking questions.
    This is the first teachable moment for girls and boys...
    yes little Linda is wearing a dress, yes you accidently saw her superman undies when she was on the monkey bars, yes they cover her private parts, no you may not see/touch her undies. Because our underwear covers and protects our private parts, we don't go around showing it off.

    If this conversation isn't started now, when would it start?

  3. Mrs. Lion

    blogger / grapefruit / 4836 posts

    @jennlin821: I think the conversation you gave as an example is a good one. However, I think a lot of people culturally feel that underwear is also private and shouldnt be shown, so it should also be covered. You may not feel that way, but I know a lot of people do. I dont think asking to keep private areas (underwear included) covered is the same as body shaming.

  4. caterw

    persimmon / 1445 posts

    I usually put bike shorts on my three year old so she doesn't burn her tush on the slide or get sand in her lady parts. That is- if we have some clean ones. I figure her rear is plenty covered by underwear and I think bike shorts for modesty's sake is overkill on a toddler.

  5. looch

    wonderful pear / 26210 posts

    @avivoca: Did you find out what triggered the daycare to send home the letter?

  6. jennlin821

    kiwi / 617 posts

    @Mrs.Lion , I totally understand your point. I am a dancer and therefore extremely comfortable with my body and NOT modest at all, so I'm aware I have an opinion on one extreme end.

    However, I think that asking for shorts to cover underwear is just the first step to body shaming. Shoulders are not a private part, and neither is a neck, yet starting in elementary school, girls are not allowed to wear tank tops, because these body parts are showing.

    So that is my larger point, start teaching girls and boys from an extremely early age, if they can understand that underwear is private and covers privates, then they can understand that shoulders are not and do not need to be covered.
    If girls are being teased for their underwear showing, its a teachable moment. Girls don't need to feel bad for having their underwear accidentally seen. Boys don't need to tease or be teased for having their underwear seen. It may be private, but it is not shameful.

  7. Mrs. Lion

    blogger / grapefruit / 4836 posts

    @jennlin821: I totally agree. I can see the need for the teachable moment as well as the position of the school to say undies should be covered by other clothing. I do think that is different than shoulders, because you are right, shoulders are not private parts. I will say, though, part of the reason for the no tank tops in elementary school is that puberty comes earlier for some, and it doesn't take much for a girl wearing a spaghetti strap tank top on the playground to show more than she intends to. I don't think that is body shaming either.

    Keep in mind, I am coming from a conservative baclground in the bible belt, so my lerspective is quite different (though I hope you see the difference in my opinion from those of the "don't distract the boys" mentality, which I find gross and absurd)

  8. MamaG

    pomelo / 5298 posts

    This is so interesting to me and I'm surprised by the reactions. I have a girl that is in elementary school. They have a two finger width rule for shoulder coverings. I'm sure they have a length rule for bottoms (I don't know it because she doesn't like to wear shorts alone). And I know they have the rule of shorts under skirts/dresses. I just don't find it that big of a deal. I have very similar rules in the workplace I'm expected to follow. Starting in PreK my daughter was taught about privacy of her body and what touch is not okay and what to do about it. The program (and book) specifically guide toward the body space from the neck to the thighs as areas that aren't okay to be touched without permission or by an appropriate person (the doctor for example). Keeping these parts of the body covered helps to establish that boundary of areas that should be kept private.

    My girls are young and they don't know how to keep their business covered up. They don't sit properly with their knees closed or crossed. They spend time on the floor at home and school in the criss cross applesauce posture. They aren't diligent about keeping their legs covered.

    The wording might have been off in the email, but I just don't see where the request is a stretch. I know that I'm more than a touch conservative, but I would be surprised if anyone in this string is comfortable having their underwear on display as they go about life. Why is it okay for our kids?

  9. DesertDreams88

    grapefruit / 4361 posts

    Yeah I feel like the odd woman out here but I'm just going to come out and say that underwear should not be seen, and most of my friends have this same rule with their girls, ages 0 on up. As an adult it wouldn't be appropriate for me to sit with my legs open or climb all over the place in a dress, exposing my underwear, nor would it be appropriate as a teen, so why can't we teach that to our children?? Part of raising children is teaching them expectations and appropriate behavior. It can start early, doesn't matter whether they are "biologically sexual" or not. I wouldn't take my son out in public or go over to friends houses with him in just underwear or flashing his underwear, so why would I let my girl?

    It shouldn't be a gendered rule though. No underwear showing regardless. I don't even like diapers showing, unless it is cloth.

  10. DesertDreams88

    grapefruit / 4361 posts

    @MamaG: completely agree. Teaching 3 & 4 year olds about privacy shouldn't be weird.

    And, I'd be uncomfy with preschool bathrooms without stalls. It could lead children to believe it's ok for others to see their "privates" unless parents are having diligent talks about where and when and with who. I worked at a daycare for 2 years.

  11. Anagram

    eggplant / 11716 posts

    @DesertDreams88: I think it's fine for you to have your own standards for your children and what you believe modesty is. I don't believe one group of parents should be forcing all parents to follow these arbitrary personal rules, like that now shorts need to be worn under dresses.

    My line is, it's cool if you want to make sure your own kid wears shorts under dresses at all time and it's cool if you would never let your kid wear say, just a diaper at the beach. But that's very common for other people, so isn't it best that we all decide for our own kids until public school age at least?

  12. Elizabear

    cherry / 109 posts

    I logged in for the first time in forever just to chime in on this. I am both a teacher and a mom of a daughter. It might be helpful to look through the perspective of the teacher. As a parent, you are concerned with the comfort of your child. As a teacher or administration, you are charged with the responsibility of the comfort, care, and learning of all of the students. Someone was uncomfortable for this new policy to come into place. Perhaps the teacher did not want to have a whole class discussion about body parts as different families explain in different ways. Even that "teachable moment" takes away from the objective of the lesson. Can you imagine the complaints a teacher would have to field if she tried to tackle that topic instead of parents. Underwear is not meant to be seen. Shorts are an easy solution to make everyone comfortable. Group care and school is about what is best for the group and some decisions are not based on parent or child preference.

  13. pinkcupcake

    cantaloupe / 6751 posts

    @jennlin821: would you be okay with a teen wearing underwear and a tank top - nothing else - to school? Not being snarky, I am genuinely curious.

  14. pinkcupcake

    cantaloupe / 6751 posts

    We always wear somersault shorts or capris under dresses when we go out (she is 5). There are too many creepy ppl out there - I'd rather not have my daughter's undies / private parts on display.

  15. Truth Bombs

    grapefruit / 4321 posts

    @Elizabear: If a child has underwear on.... there are no body parts seen, so all the teacher has to say is "Yes, that's her underwear". The end.

  16. T.H.O.U.

    wonderful clementine / 24134 posts

    @DesertDreams88: Non of our preschools around town have bathrooms with stalls. Its mostly just a single room/potty. The problem is the door is pretty much always open because the teacher is coming and going to help with potty time. Is that what you mean by stall?

  17. muffinsmuffins

    persimmon / 1023 posts

    @jennlin821: I totally agree with you. I've been lurking on this thread and had a big discussion with DW about this last night. I do believe it's a slippery slope with things like this. It is not a woman's job to make sure everyone else around her feels comfortable with how she dresses, acts, etc. This is a prevalent theme in pretty much every facet of our society today. If a woman (teen, adult, kid, whatever) wears a thin tank top or short shorts, it's not "wow way to go girl, you're confident and wearing what makes you feel good", it's "she needs to cover up because that's inappropriate and inviting unwanted attention, etc." The onus is put on that woman, not the people gawking at her or making comments or judging inwardly.

    In this specific scenario, I would have a problem with it being framed like this and I can absolutely see why OP didn't feel good about it. In a practical sense, I could see myself potentially trying to put shorts on my daughter more for the sand in the butt aspect, but beyond that, no she doesn't have to wear them in case her underwear might be seen.

  18. Foodnerd81

    wonderful cherry / 21504 posts

    @catomd00: (and the others who said similar things)- how hard is it to ask a girl to pull her dress down?
    I know my daughter would very likely continueinf pulling her dress up if someone asked her not to, and if another girl was corrected for it, she would probably start doing it and laughing. Not her best quality and we are working on it, but that's what her teachers would be up against. but I can see how teachers absolutely don't want to get into individual discussions with parents about it. A blanket "underwear must be covered" rule seems better than the modesty talk.

  19. jennlin821

    kiwi / 617 posts

    @pinkcupcake I think what you are trying to ask is what level of clothing am I comfortable with? Should a teenager go to school in panties and a tank top - not currently. However, 80 years ago, it was not acceptable for women to wear pants in public. I am totally fine with a teenager wearing yoga pants and a spaghetti strap tank top to school. In fact, I'm fine with any woman, any size and age to wear yoga pants and spaghetti strap tank top.

    I think my motivation behind disagreeing with the policy is that it is the first step towards body-shaming. If little girls are told from the beginning of their lives that they need to cover up to avoid questions/teasing/problems that is something they internalize. Little boys too. By teaching them that underwear should never be seen, a message is being sent that there is something bad/wrong with that area of the body.

    I'd like to give a bit of context, so that you understand my experiences' and how they've shaped my views. I've danced (tap/ballet) my whole life, which has made me extremely comfortable in my body. I have often worn leotard/tights/shorts out in public on my way to/from dance classes. This would include school, college, running errands, hanging out with friends, etc. In high school I was in the marching band, where both boys & girls would often change in front of each other into their uniforms; most of the time it was nothing unusual, however in the warmer months we all stripped down to undies before putting on heavy polyester uniforms. Additionally I have acted in minor roles that included wearing very little on stage- bra/panties for one role, and topless w/ a thong in another.
    I was never thought of a as a slut or an easy lay.
    I currently work in banking as a full time job, so I also wear a suit on a daily basis. So I agree that there is a time and a place for certain types of outfits.

    My bottom-line is the motivation behind what we are telling our children.
    Are you telling them to cover up so they don't burn their bum?
    Are you telling them to cover up so that they don't show their bum?
    Are you telling them to cover up so that no one asks them questions about their bum?
    Are you telling them to cover up so that no one teases them about their bum?

    Now think about each of the questions above and replace bum with: face, shoulder, cleavage, knees, belly.

    ::steps off soapbox::

  20. pinkcupcake

    cantaloupe / 6751 posts

    @jennlin821: on the go right now so I apologize in advance for my choppy response. You say "not currently" that students should go to school in panties and a tank top - but don't you think that goes against your statement of " time and place for everything"? Personally I don't think school is a great place to wear such an outfit. And I say this as someone who lounges around the house in undies and a nursing tank 24/7. That's what I wear at home but I wouldn't wear that to work or to th dentist. Just doesn't seem appropriate.

  21. jennlin821

    kiwi / 617 posts

    @pinkcupcake: LoL what I was trying to say was that maybe in another 80 years, underwear will be the normal item to wear out and about. (with global warming you never know!)

    I do think its fine for girls to wear tank tops to school and shorts, (as long as their butt is covered, I don't care how short they are).

    I'm also not intentionally being snarky, I hope I'm not coming off like that. This is just something I'm passionate about. And I just want to get people to think about their motivations, even if you don't change your mind. And I'm a Bostonian, so I can come across as rude...

    And there is no simple answer. If I completely follow my own logic to the end, I would be advocating for everyone to be a nudist.
    I do wear a suit to work, and I wear pantyhose under my skirts, but I do this to stay warm, not because I'm worried about showing my bare legs. So again, its what is motivating your choice and how are we presenting it to our kids.

  22. mrs.kiwi

    kiwi / 635 posts

    I would have no problem with it. I have taught and recognize that teachers and administrators make policies like "everyone must use the standard pencils- no colorful sparkly penciled please" or "field trip day- pls wear a red shirt to help chaperones keep kids together" to help keep the school day running smoothly. "Please cover up underwear to stay private and modest" would not rub me the wrong way. Im guessing they haven't had any boys come in with dresses and only underwear which is why they directed to girls but I am just giving them the benefit of the doubt.

    I also dont mind the word "modesty"- it is just about being appropriate in my opinion. When I was growing up boys got in trouble for "modesty" all the time with their baggy pants showing their boxer butts. It was a turn off to me bc I didn't want to see some boy's butt! Haha.

    I think showing underwear as a 3 yo is no big deal. I'd definitely be teaching my daughter pls try not to show your undies but again- no big deal. I wouldn't assume the administration thinks it is a big deal either. Probably just ran into some incidents and found that it's probably safer/easier to just make a blanket rule.

    My dd is only 1.5 and I'm not sure what we will do when she is 3. Right now I don't like her diaper showing just bc it looks ugly and bloomers look cuter. I don't know what we will do when she's out of diapers. But just saying I totally understand where the admin is coming from.

  23. Truth Bombs

    grapefruit / 4321 posts

    @Foodnerd81: But your explanation is specific to your daughter. My daughter doesn't pull her dress up, but if it got hiked up and she was told to put her dress down, she would. This is part of why I don't stress if I can't find a pair of shorts on any given day. Given your situation, I can totally understand why you choose to always have shorts. You as the parent do what works best for your kid without a policy, so I don't see why one needs to be put in place across the board.

  24. Foodnerd81

    wonderful cherry / 21504 posts

    @Truth Bombs: yes- definitely specific to my kid. I guess I was trying to say if there are a few of my kids in the class, it's easier to have a policy like that in place than have to police the kids like mine. On the flip side, if a teacher pulled me aside and told me my LO was lifting her dress up all the time, I'd be happy to just make her wear the shorts anyway, policy or not. It just seems like a fairly simple thing to keep things running smoother. But it's really interesting to see others responses and think more about it from other perspectives.

  25. MuzzyBee

    olive / 59 posts

    My oldest daughter is nearly 5, I've done short leggings under dresses and skirts since she was 2 - if she is going to be out playing (so not if she is dressed up and we are going out for dinner)
    She climbs and swings and hangs upside down and I just thought it would be more comfortable for her. She also loves playing in the sand and he come home with sand in all sorts of places if she wasn't wearing shorts/leggings.

  26. 2littlepumpkins

    grapefruit / 4455 posts

    @MuzzyBee: that's where we started and what I would have said if I were the teacher too! I really just don't find this a big deal in general but definitely sand and nature come home in enough places for us. We actually did longer leggings until she could do the slide on her bum with her legs up folded too.


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