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  • Articles, Fashion, GirlSpring.com, School

    Gender Bias and Dress Codes

    gender bias

    Opinion: How Dress Codes Generate Sexism

    Throughout high school, I was always so confused about the seemingly biased standards of dress set by the administration. Yoga pants were out of the question. Skirts and shorts had to be equivalent to the length of your arms. Razor-back tanks and spaghetti straps were seen as scandalous and must at least be covered by a cardigan. Bra straps were deemed as “provocative” and “distracting”. Girls with long limbs and developed features were the main targets for teachers of authority to pull into an office and tell them to go home or change.

     

     

    Maybe it is because I grew up predominantly in the South, a traditionally more conservative region of the nation, but I have been made well aware that girls are different than boys my entire life. Especially by women of authority.

     

    Don’t get me wrong. I love the South and its people. It is my home and I have deep-set roots in Alabama that tend to always bring me back no matter where I go. 

     

    But I am a part of a new generation of American women. So, I intend to be treated equally wherever I live, and therefore have been bucking the system ever since my mother allowed me to dress myself.

     

     
    But problematic dress codes are present in almost all areas of the country.

     

     

    Now, I understand the idea of looking presentable. Bad hygiene and body parts hanging out are obviously not welcomed in an educational or professional environment. However, standards regarding tightness of clothing and the presence of girls’ shoulders is a bit excessive in my opinion.

     

    Teaching girls at a young age that they should be hyper aware of how they dress in order to not distract the boys perpetuates sexism.

     

     

    Here’s why:

     

     

     

     

    What confuses me about the entire phenomenon of female-directed dress codes is the fact that a majority of the figures enforcing these rules are female. Women make up about 77% of the teaching force in the U.S. according to a national survey made in 2017. Nine out of ten teachers are female in primary schools, where dress codes start becoming stricter. What are these women teaching young girls about themselves?

     

    I remember learning early on that boys are held to different standards. Boys would tease me or push me in elementary school and I would come running to a teacher. My tears would be met with “oh they’re just being boys” or “they probably have a crush on you” or “maybe leave them alone”. I was taught early on that the boys being mean to me was my fault.

     

     
    I was provoking them to act that way.

     

    As the years rolled by and I started high school, my breasts and butt grew along with my height. Teachers began to pull me in their offices whenever they caught me wearing yoga pants under a t-shirt or if my shirt straps were not four fingers in width. Skirts that were perfectly fine for other girls to wear were not okay for me because the tips of my fingers reached four inches shy of my knees.

     

    I will never forget one particular instance in high school when I was wearing a pair of Nike shorts that were perfectly long with a large t-shirt during exam week. I was walking to my French exam with a group of my friends. They were wearing the same type of athletic shorts as me. 

     

    The Dean emerged from her office and called only my name out of the group. I told her that I was sorry for breaking the dress code and that I was leaving school right after the exam. She went into her office closet and emerged with a pair of huge, bulky ski pants and told me to put them on with a smirk on her face. I reluctantly agreed, arriving ten minutes late to my exam with everyone laughing at me. After that, I could not even focus on taking the test because I was shaking from the tears welling up in my eyes.

     

     
    That’s just messed up. 
     

     

    I started to question the system every time I got called in for a minor dress code violation. Why are leggings banned but skinny jeans are allowed? Why do you not consider how long my arms are? Why are my shoulders not okay? Why do the boys never get dress coded?

     

    Keep in mind it was, and still is, the style for young men in the South to wear fishing shorts to school every day. I’m talking shorts are at least a third of an arm length too short in reference to most school dress codes. I have never heard of a male peer getting dress coded on the account of showing too much skin.

     

     

    Your clothes are bringing attention to yourself. We don’t want boys getting distracted. You could make the male teachers uncomfortable.

     

    When girls are given this particular “reasoning” it brings about a sense of shame. It counteracts the progress that society has made towards equality. Establishing rules about how much skin is being shown on a female’s chest, shoulders and legs sexualizes these body parts even more. Not only does this teach young girls that sexual harassment is self-inflicted, but it also conveys a message to boys that females deserve to be disrespected if they are not meeting certain standards. 

     

     

    These gender-biased dress standards are subliminally teaching young boys that there is no accountability for inappropriate behavior. Why are we not teaching children to be respectful of one another instead of initiating sexist values?

     

     

    Some schools across the nation have started making changes to their dress codes, including Evanston Township High School in Illinois. They went from banning leggings, shorts, short skirts, and spaghetti straps to allowing them in 2017. As well as training teachers to use neutral language while reprimanding students for a violation. However, many schools around the country are still holding onto strict dress codes for females. 

     

    One could argue that dress codes prepare students for a working environment, but at the same time it is better to teach kids when and where to dress appropriately. Yes, schools are meant for educational purposes, but students are already facing an overwhelming amount of social and academic pressures. Therefore, they deserve to feel comfortable in such a stressful environment during such a transitional stage in life.

     

     

     

    We should all have learned by now that nothing is more distracting to a teenager than being worried about what others think of you.
  • Articles, Fashion, GirlSpring.com

    Building Your Style on a Budget

    style on a budget

    One of my favorite things is when someone compliments my style. Not just my clothes, but that they like the way I match things together and the “vibe” it gives. Another favorite thing is not spending a lot of my money on clothes. So, I have figured out many tips and tricks to grow your style on a budget. 

    1. Choose classic over trendy items. 

    I always choose a piece of clothing that has been “in style” for a long time over any item that is trendy. The classic items are better because you will get your money’s worth out of them; trendier pieces you tend stop wearing sooner. Also, when you look back at pictures you will be glad that you didn’t join in with certain trends! 

    2. Shop second-hand clothes.

    If there is a piece of clothing or accessory that I want really bad, but it is priced way higher than I would ever spend, I like to try and find it gently used or on sale. A good website that I shop on a lot is ThredUP.

    ThredUp is an online consignment shop that has crazy deals on it and carries lots of name brands. For example, this past month there was a dress while I was out shopping that was cute. I looked at this price tag and saw it was $355 so I immediately set it right back down. About a week later, I was looking on ThredUp and found the same dress, new with tags, for only $40! There are also a lot of Instagram accounts that sell gently used clothing for good prices. So, if you are wanting more expensive items or brand names, but not wanting to spend a crazy amount of money, definitely start looking for second-hand clothing deals! 

    3. Stick to one style or vibe.

    Another way to save money while trying to grow your closet is to stick to one style. Personally, my style could be described as simple/neutral with a pop of color. I try and wear plain things, but then choose one part of my outfit to be more fun or sassy. All of my clothing pieces “go together” a lot more than they would if I wore random outfits every day. For example, tonight for dinner I wore jean shorts, a cheetah print belt, and a tucked-in white shirt. I wore the white shirt yesterday with a skirt, and today it looked like a completely new outfit! By finding your own style and sticking to it, you are guaranteed to get more use out of all your clothing.

    Now that you have some tips on how to be in style on a budget, here are some more fashion tips from GirlSpring!

  • Articles, Fashion, GirlSpring.com, School

    School Dress Codes

    school dress code

    How do you dress for class when the latest fashion trends are crop tops and leggings? When sitting through eight plus hours of lessons, the last thing you want to do is worry about what you look like. Yet with strict school dress codes for young girls, the pressure is on.

    Why is it fair that your ability to learn is determined by how long your skirt is?

    I was once sent to the principle’s office because my shirt was considered inappropriate. The principle took one look at my shirt and asked what the problem was. I had to explain that the teacher didn’t agree with the words printed on it. The shirt sported lyrics from a popular song at the time and were in no way derogatory, unless you believe the words “I’m only going to break you heart” should be banned.

    It is ridiculous the obstacles that females must jump through just to stay at school all day. If the public-school systems weighed our education over our appearances, we would surely have a better chance with our studies.

    The rules for measurement are based on how long or short your appendages are. The inability to wear clothes that are more suited for warmer climates is almost a punishment. Not to mention the amount of time and money that goes into finding “school-appropriate” clothing.

    You spend the whole summer wearing the things that feel comfortable on your body and make sense for the climate. Then you start back to school with a closet full of useless clothing.

    It might be a little different if classes started later in August or even after Labor Day like some colleges, but when school starts in the middle of the Summer season, shorts are inevitable.

    Here are some tips to survive this school year’s dress code:

    • Only buy ten items. Try to make the items interchangeable outfits. Finding plain clothing and adding accessories can help.
    • Find one store that has almost everything you need. Mine is Torrid. There are always clearance items and the clothing fits my body well. Not to mention, accessories and shoes come in abundance.
    • If you buy articles of clothing that would be considered revealing, wear leggings/colored pantyhose underneath. Or you can buy a cover-over (a cardigan, sweater, jacket, etc.).
    • Keep a spare T-shirt or pair of pants in your locker or backpack in case of wardrobe violation. This helps avoid the humiliation of having to wear gym clothes/lost-in-found clothes or having to go home for the rest of the day.
    • You may not be able to wear a crop top by itself, but turtlenecks, tank tops, and t shirts can be placed underneath one to make a cute statement.
    • You probably can’t wear leggings by themselves. Sweat pants, joggers, and other not-form-fitting workout pants can be comfortable to wear. Also, jeggings are not technically leggings, but can fit and feel just the same.

    Try reading over your school’s dress code to figure out what you can and can’t get away with. Some schools differ from others, which means yours might not have as strict of rules or it might be more strict than neighboring schools.

    Part of getting back to school ready is having your closet ready to go! Get ready with this video on how to polish your wardrobe. 

  • Articles, Fashion, GirlSpring.com

    The Cutest Hair Scarves that You’ll be Wearing All Summer

    hair scarves

    Hair scarves are such an easy and quick to elevate your summer look. You can wear them as headbands, tie them around your ponytail or bun, the possibilities are endless! Here are five of my favorite places to buy hair scarves from:

    1. Kristin Made Not only are these hair scarves super cute, but Kristin is also the sweetest person. She has a YouTube channel where she talks about her life with her husband and two dogs, Honey and Camper. I love these hair scarves and also like to support her. 
    2. Anthropologie Anthropologie has the cutest hair scarves and scrunchies. I get compliments on mine all the time. I love them!
    3. Free People Free People has their own unique style, so these hair scarves are super cute and really different. They also have so many to choose from, you can’t stop at just one!
    4. Urban Outfitters Urban also has a very different style and selection, which will guarantee that you will be different from everyone else!
    5. Asos I love shopping on ASOS and these hair scarfs are so adorable you cannot pass them by. They are reasonably priced and you will for sure need them to complete your summer outfit.

    Want to

  • Confidence, Fashion, GirlSpring.com, Lifestyle

    A Peek into the World of Pageants: Miss Alabama Outstanding Teen

    The girls I’ve met through Miss Alabama and Miss America’s Outstanding Teen organization have become some of my dearest friends. I just competed for the title of Miss Alabama’s Outstanding Teen. Although I did not walk away with the pageant title, I had the best weekend of my life, and I got to witness one of my dearest friends getting crowned.  The weekend layout is super busy, but it’s a good busy. The phases of competition include a private interview, fitness, talent, evening gown, and an onstage question.

    Image of Sophia Porrill at a pageant.

    Months before competition begins all of the girls involved meet at orientation.  It was such a daunting day for me, being my first orientation. Everyone I met the day of orientation was so nice and understanding. Everyone arrives in shifts. First, you turn in all of the paperwork and then you head back to get headshots taken for the judges’ books.  After you get your headshot taken you get sized for your fitness outfit. After you get done with all of that, then you wait for the meeting to get started.  During the meeting, we draw which number we will compete with and the director goes over the rules.

    Two months later we check in the Friday night before the pageant.  Friday night is such a crazy night! Over half of the girls interview on Friday night, then the last few interview on Saturday morning.  Also Friday night you practice your talent, run through fitness, and you learn the opening and closing numbers. I interviewed on Saturday morning, which in retrospect was a good idea for me.  At orientation, everyone picked their spots, and when picking their spots they found out when they competed. I liked the order I competed and I think it was best suited for me.

    On Saturday, all of the girls competed in the preliminary competitions, and then on Sunday, we found out who the top 20 were.  Although my name was not called for the top 20, I still had the best weekend. No matter win or lose, rain or shine, the girls I competed with on the Miss Alabama’s Outstanding Teen stage will forever be my dearest friends.  The directors and volunteers at the Miss Alabama’s Outstanding Teen pageant are some of the absolute best people I’ve ever met. They work so hard to make sure that everything goes off almost perfectly, and they are some of the most hardworking people ever. I am so thankful that I got to work with them at the pageant. To say that the Miss Alabama’s Outstanding Teen organization shaped me into who I am today is an understatement. When I think back to the past year, I am so happy that I got to do it with the best girls ever.

    Want to know more about Pageants? Check out “The Life of a Pageant Girl!”

  • Articles, Body Image, Confidence, Fashion, Home Life, Mental Health

    How to Turn a Bad Day Around

    Girl down in the dumps

    There are lots of ways for a day to go bad: school, bad break ups, and even family drama can turn a standard day into a nightmare. Sometimes life can get really frustrating to the point where you just want to stay in bed for the rest of the day. Through self-care, like this routine on www.girlspring.com, you can feel good in the long run, sometimes all you need is an instant pick-me-up to straighten out the day. 

    Here’s a list of things you can do to get your bad day back on track.

    Have a good laugh

    Laughing is hard, especially if you’re not in the mood for it – but sometimes that’s all you need to drive the negative vibes away. There is even scientific evidence to back this up, with NBC News reporting that smiling can trick the brain into happiness. The news site reported that smiling “spurs a chemical reaction in the brain, releasing certain hormones including dopamine and serotonin.” The hormones you need to make you happy. If you feel like you need a quick chuckle, Buzzfeed is full of jokes, as is Tumblr, Reddit and Twitter. There are many ways to pick yourself up and a quick internet search could put a smile back on your face in no time.

    Exercise

    We know what you’re thinking: who needs exercise? It’s tedious, sweaty and an absolute chore. Well, who said anything about push-ups? Exercise can be something as fun as ice skating, swimming or biking around the neighborhood. Exercise is a refreshing way to boost your mood. Very Well Health explains that you only need to do 30 minutes a day to get the benefits, particularly when it comes to improving your mood. It can even be something as simple as walking the dog.

    Wear your favorite clothes

    Clothes are like a second skin, and can affect or even reflect your mood for the day. A study by the University of Queensland showed that we either dress how we’d like to feel, or, more often than not, how we’d like others to think we’re feeling. This is why going out can be such a chore, especially if you’re having a bad day. The trick is to have go-to clothes for going out and clothes for staying at home. If you are at home, relax in the comfiest clothes you can. Sometimes all you need to do is put on your favorite comfy pants to lift your mood. The stretchy bootcut yoga pants on Woman Within are made from a soft knit material and have an elastic waist in order to provide maximum comfort – the definition of home relaxation. The clothes you wear at home should be easy to slip into and you shouldn’t have to worry about how they will fit your body.

    Meet friends

    On the other hand you could go out. And why do it alone when you can invite a couple of friends? Go out and see a movie – or invite them over for some pizza. This isn’t about forgetting what ruined your day, but creating new memories that will top any bad experience. That way when you look back, the first thing you’ll remember is how much of a good day it was.

    Treat yourself

    Craving for some sugar? Get a tub of ice cream. Something greasy? Order pizza. Or maybe it’s been a while since you did your nails. Treating yourself doesn’t have to be expensive. There are plenty of things to do at home, like a skin-care routine, watch TV or take a long nap that will help lift your mood. In the chaos of the life, sometimes the best thing you can do is find some quality time for yourself. It is a good way to recharge your batteries, especially after a really bad day.

  • Fashion

    A New Trend: The Return of Plastic Earrings

    A New Trend

    A New Trend: The Return of Plastic Earrings

    A New Trend: The Return of Plastic Earrings

    When you think of earrings, your mind usually fills with pictures of  sterling silver, gold hoops, or diamonds stud, but they can be so much more than that. Back in the 1980s women of all ages were rocking huge, fun, neon earrings that become the focal point for any outfit. These were different not only because of how they captured attention, but also due to the fact they were made of, not metal, but plastic.

    This 80s trend is making a comeback today. However, one main difference is that although these earrings may look to be made of plastic, they are actually made of a substance called lucite which is not a plastic at all, but, in fact, a form of glass.

    However, to southern boutiques, it does not seem to matter much what the earrings are made from, more how they look on, and, these lucite earrings can quickly become the focal point of any outfit. So, love them or hate them, it seems as if lucite earrings are the next new, or old, accessory, and they will be everywhere this summer.

    Looking for more style tips? Visit https://www.girlspring.com/polishing-your-wardrobe-with-megan-larussa/