The unwritten rules of being a girl

Ava Lafin

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High school dress codes have rules that target female specific clothing creating a stigma for what girls wear.

Ava Lafin

High school dress codes have rules that target female specific clothing creating a stigma for what girls wear.

Women have fought for their rights since the formation of America. They struggled for the basic right to vote in 1920 and in 2021 girls are oppressed by their actions due to normalized stigmas.

Corporations like Sabre make millions on making products for girls who probably won’t need to defend themselves, but our society tells them they will. They have targeted young girls by making their pepper spray pink; teaching girls to “empower yourself with extreme stopping power when you need it most.” This teaches their target audience of young women to always be on guard and forces the idea that they will need protection down their throats.

Junior Hanna Rodeck explains her experience with products like this.

“When I went to my friend’s birthday party this summer, every single teenage girl had a self defense keychain with them. Like the ones with the pepper spray all on their keys,” Rodeck said.

From a young age, dress code is heavily enforced in schools and in handbooks, the rules applying mainly to girls, or feminine clothing. As children, girls are taught the three or four finger rule where they hold up three or four fingers to their shirt straps and see if they are thick enough to be “appropriate”. Girls as young as five are taught to worry about what they wear and how that will affect others around them; their peer’s work environment.

Rodeck speaks of her experience growing up and dressing herself for school.

“For the longest time whenever I’d wear a shirt that was shorter in length my parents would always ask to see if I had a tank top under or not,” Rodeck said.

Rape culture in American society is normalized as well. A study done in 1966 on victim blaming showed how humans have the need to rationalize a crime like rape and see in some way that the victim deserved the consequences.

“Never leave your drink unattended,” Rodeck said.

The date-rape drug is taught in most junior high health classes and students are warned about open top beverages, especially females as 91% of reported rape cases have female victims. Products like NightCap that are made to cover your drink while dueling as a scrunchie target females into buying products that feed on rape culture normalization. The device used to deflect the use of the date-rape drug has been promoted to be an accessory for women to buy, causing the real issue of rape to be hidden under the product used to tie up hair.

All children are taught Erin’s Law, which mandates all public schools teach a form of sexual abuse prevention education to students. 97% of women from ages 18-24 will experience some form of sexual harassment. This fact has lead to several movements like #MeToo, which speaks on serious topics like sexual harassment and assault that are prevalent among women in America.

Singer Taylor Swift stated how being a female in the male dominated music industry causes others to critique and examine her choices as a writer and artist.

“A man does something, it’s ‘strategic’; a woman does the same thing, it’s ‘calculated. A man is allowed to ‘react’; a woman can only ‘over-react,'” Swift said.