'Why is this school so persistent on telling girls to cover up, when really guys should just keep it in their pants?' she asked, while the room went silent.
A student confronted school officials about the "disgusting" dress code requirements and continued to grill them. She blasted an administrator during the school assembly while discussing the “sexist” school dress code, calling attention to the policy being unfairly enforced.
In a video uploaded to TikTok, high school junior Anastasia asked her questions during a school assembly in New Jersey. "Why is this school so persistent on telling girls to cover up, when really guys should just keep it in their pants?" she asked, while the room went silent. "This school is so headstrong on telling girls to cover up their shoulders, or, you know, stomach, when those things are all pretty natural."
Anastasia went on, "I've talked to many girls in this school. If two girls come to school wearing the same top, you know. One girl has smaller cup size, the other one has bigger cup size. I've heard more girls with the bigger cup size get dress-coded more than the smaller ones. It's completely sexist and biased and not okay."
"Our bodies aren't distracting, you're just disgusting" she wrote as the caption to the popular video. The video received more than 5.5 million views, with comments praising Anastasia for defying the arbitrarily applied dress code. Many people discussed their encounters with dress codes.
Two male officials, whom Anastasia identified as the vice principal and principal, were captured on a later video responding. One of them could be heard mentioning the school handbook and educational policies. He responded vaguely, "It's not how we're looking at it, but we're just doing whatever we want to do. Majority of the people do get it, but there's some people that want to challenge the system, so that's it. And a lot of staff members and people, they feel uncomfortable."
For a while, students mumbled to one another, perplexed by the implication that staff members felt offended by minors' clothing. Another kid interrupted, "Wait, I have a question. 'You said the staff feels uncomfortable with what girls wear?'" The administrator said, "I said years past, some staff members..." before the other school leader intervened, stating, "Hold on guys, let's refocus for a minute," and the footage got cut.
School dress codes have been criticized because they are often marketed as safeguarding the learning environment, but lead to the opposite for many women. Girls and young people of color who identify as gender nonconforming were disproportionately penalized by clothing restrictions, according to a study of student handbooks conducted by the charity Girls for Gender Equity in 2021. According to the survey, standards regarding the length of skirts and dresses, the fit of clothing, make-up and accessories regulate body types and presentation.
Black women are disproportionately expelled from class or removed from schools for violating clothing regulations, a 2018 report by the National Women's Law Center discovered that many dress codes might lead Black pupils to lag academically.
“Exactly I remember when I got dress coded I was mad I saw another girls wearing a similar shirt that I was wearing and they didn’t get dress coded,” a commenter shared. “One time there were these two girls wearing tank tops. one was significantly bigger than the other. the bigger girl got sent home for her tank top,” another said.
Many users were outraged at the suggestion that staff feels uncomfortable with a young girl's attire. “The staff felt ‘uncomfortable’ around minors??? Ok bud get new staff they should NOT be around kids/teens,” one user wrote. “As a teacher – if student clothing makes staff uncomfortable that staff doesn’t need to be around minors,” another said. “It’s because the adults are sexualizing young women when they need to be focusing on their education. I’m so proud of you for raising your voice!” a third added.