‘Stigmatization’

High schoolers hold ‘bracott’ protest after fellow student was humiliated for dress code ‘violation’

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After a 17-year-old Florida high school student who was pulled out of class and forced to put Band-aids on her nipples because she wasn’t wearing a bra at school, about 30 of her classmates protested her treatment by going braless themselves in what was billed as a “bracott.

Lizzy Martinez, a junior at Braden River High School in Bradenton, Florida, said that she had decided not to wear a bra last Monday because of pain from a sunburn, and instead wore a dark loose T-shirt so as to not draw attention to her chest. Nobody had commented on her appearance, she said, until she was abruptly pulled out of class and was confronted by the school’s dean and principal over why she wasn’t wearing a bra. They told her that she had violated the school’s dress code — even though the school’s code of conduct mentions nothing about whether bras must be worn — and claimed that boys were “laughing at her.” Martinez said she was embarrassed and angry but agreed to put on an undershirt, only for the dean to tell her to “stand up and move around her.”

“I looked at her and said, ‘What do you mean?’” she recalled. “I was a little creeped out by that.”

The dean then told her that her nipples were still visible and gave her Band-aids to cover them up with. Shortly after returning to class, the teenager burst into tears and her best friend took her to the bathroom where she removed the bandages. In wake of the incident, her fellow classmates ignored threats of disciplinary action to engage in a silent protest in support of “the stigmatization of natural bodies.” In a statement, the school insisted that they had to right to single out Martinez for supposedly violating the dress code but acknowledged that the situation “should have been handled differently.”

Anger over how women are targeted for so-called dress code violations has been on the rise in recent years, as girls and women in school, the workplace, and even Congress question the underlying misogyny behind targeting and shaming women for supposedly “distracting” boys and men with their bodies.

Read the full story at The New York Times.

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