If you attended high school in the United States, chances are you are familiar with the dress code. These rules often affect girls disproportionately: no tank tops, short skirts, little shorts, leggings, or ripped jeans.
When you graduated, you might think your dress code days are over. But, as one unlucky woman realized, this, unfortunately, is not always the case.
Dress codes in … mechanics?
It turns out that people really want to keep track of what women are wearing after high school. TikTok user Tia Wood recently faced this reality in the auto repair shop.
While waiting for her car, an unnamed partner asked Wood to stand outside, away from the seating area. A store clerk told Wood that it was because Wood’s shirt was “too inappropriate.”
“I didn’t know there was a dress code when inspecting your car,” Wood wrote in her TikTok video, dressed in the “scandalous” attire in question: a cropped top with ties at the front, denim shorts and trainers.
I DIDN’T KNOW THAT WHEN INSPECTING THE UR OF THE CAR HAS A DRESS CODE !!!!!! 😍❤️🔥💞💯💯💯 #fyp #DontQuitYourDaydream #UltaSkinTok
♬ Bezos I – Bo Burnham
“It’s a gorgeous bra at its best.”
In true internet fashion, the reaction to Wood’s video was quick and sharply divided. Some commentators jumped on Wood’s side, sarcastically stating, “Didn’t you know that the dress code is usually a black tie at formal occasions such as inspecting your car?”
Her original post also included not-so-approving comments, such as, “Maybe respect yourself and don’t wear that shit in public and it wouldn’t have happened.” comment read…
“It’s not even a shirt. At its best, it’s a fancy bra. ” someone else wrote… Forgive me, while me, Wood and women everywhere roll our eyes into the back of our heads.
“As long as I don’t put on a helmet and pretend, I can wear whatever the hell I want,” argues Wood. “I can wear a bra, a clown costume, a bikini, a wedding dress, it doesn’t matter what kind of cakes.”
“What I’m not going to do is pull out my fucking tape measure and textile dictionary,” she continued. “If you are not satisfied with the description of my clothes, I urge you to respectfully seek advice and kiss my ass.”
Wood clapped back hard when strangers sexualize and shame her body, and I’m here for that. But I also can’t get rid of the more insidious problem at the heart of Wood’s viral video.
Shame and sexualize at the same time
I would like it to be a one-off incident. But, as any woman can attest, this happens much more often than it should. Even worse, it starts at a young age.
TO UK study 2016 300 girls from six to nine years old. Researchers assessed the exposure of girls to sexualized media and the internalization of sexualized messages. The study found that girls who were sexualized at an early age were more likely to internalize these messages and have lower self-esteem.
And this sexualization is not always discussed sexual abuse, although according to RAINN, every ninth girl under the age of eighteen will be abused or attacked by an adult. Rather, this sexualization is much less obvious. This is in music girls listen, on social media and even in their toys…
Young girls grow up sexualized. Then the school administration asks them to follow strict gender dress codes… Countless administrations have explained that bare shoulders, shorts, over-the-knee skirts and leggings distraction in the classroom… The Responsible Sex Institute explains that these distractions are usually sexual in nature, and this is a problem.
“These rules punish the person who is perceived to be sexy instead of engaging in conversations with the person who is being ‘distracted’ about respect and bodily autonomy.” on the website of the institute it is written…
Accord doesn’t look like a crop top
In Wood’s case, Wood’s partner held Wood’s responsibility not to be sexualized by the mechanic. Voodoo had to stand outside. All other customers must sit in the store’s designated waiting area.
But Wood didn’t agree to any of the wandering glances of other clients, partners, or mechanics. She also refused to be scared or made to feel uncomfortable, as one TikTok commenter tried to suggest.
“Are you all comfortable wearing such tops with unfamiliar men?” in user asked Wood…
“No,” she replied, “but I’m also uncomfortable wearing sportswear, sweatshirts and sweatpants. I’m not comfortable with strangers at all. Do you really think the crawler doesn’t care what you’re wearing? “
And she’s right. Clothes make unequal consent… The idea is dangerous and clearly false…
What Wood’s Experience Means
Wood sent to continuation of the video about her call to the service station to discuss the incident. Almost half-jokingly, she asks her partner over the phone if the store has a customer’s dress code.
An embarrassed voice replies, “Mon ma’am, we don’t have a dress code. We’re just asking you to cover your face. ”She then asks Wood for more information, explaining that she has never heard of anything like this happening in their business.
The woman apologized to Wood and said that they would handle the incident appropriately. We do not currently know if anything came from the phone call.
Reply to @tiawould
♬ original sound – Tia Wood
On the one hand, it’s great that the store brought Voodoo a well-deserved apology. On the other hand, her experience shows that we have a long way to go towards women’s rights.
We’ve all been in Wood’s place before, and remember, we were never to blame for that.
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