BPW Foundation's Women Misbehavin' Blog

Well behaved women never make history

Battle of the Hemlines

Posted by joyinhome on October 8, 2010

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So once a month my ninth-grade daughter has “law Day” which entails a half day trip to a law firm that is a community partner of her school. Law Day allows them to interact with lawyers at the firm for informal mentoring and sheduled law-related exercises. These days are designated as professional dress to prepare these young men and women for future workplace expectations.

Last night my daughter laid out her dress and shoes. This morning I yelled up to her that we had to leave and she better not be wearing bangles: “it’s PROFESSIONAL dress!”

“I know Ma.”

She came downstairs and I smiled. She had on pearl studs and a dainty silver bracelet and ring. Her dress was cream at the top and a gray, black and white houndstooth pattern from her natural waist down (I am kicking myself for forgetting to snap a picture). The dress hit about an inch above her knee, but due to the material and her newly curvy figure, it rose when she sat down or walked about another inch. I told her to make sure she was concious about the dress and to gently smooth it when she stood up.

Fast forward about 30 minutes. I am en route to drop of my son to daycare and get a call; it is the school’s number and I have a feeling it’s about the dress. She has to go home to change into something more appropriate.

Now, I respect the school wanting to uphold appropriate attire for the students (esp. on a non-uniform day), but I think this was overdoing it. She was not permitted to attend class and was marked absent, but was able to turn in her homework after I made the request.

I picked her up so that she could change. She looked so professional and was proud, so I used it as a ‘teachable moment.’ I explained to her why I was upset: I didn’t like the message and implication that it made to her and the other young lady charged with the same offense (who looked beautiful and even had on hose). As women, we have to be overly concious of our appearance, even in the 21st century.

“Why am I punished for showing a little bit of leg?… If the boys can not control themselves that is not my problem. Don’t they also have to understand what’s appropriate if I do?”

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One Response to “Battle of the Hemlines”

  1. Jennifer said

    She looks very professional! I can’t believe that. There should definitely be equal standards for attire across genders, but unfortunately, there is not.

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