Mom Took On A Sexist Pool Party Dress Code — & Won

Photographed by Lauren Perlstein
Moms, don’t let your babies grow up to be sexist. One Indiana mom is setting a great example for her young son by standing up for his female classmates and speaking out against their school's sexist dress code.

Earlier this month, Jennifer Smith’s son brought home a permission slip for his sixth grade class’ end-of-the-year pool party. The Indianapolis mom was appalled when she read one of the conditions for the girls to enjoy the “reward [for] all of their hard work and good citizenship throughout the year.” While the boys were instructed that Speedos would not be allowed, the girls were additionally required to wear a non-white T-shirt over their swimsuits, HelloGiggles reports.

"Being a feminist and seeing things through that filter, I was just kind of enraged by that. They're saying little girls need to be ashamed of their bodies and cover themselves up," she told The Huffington Post. "I have a little boy, I'm teaching him to think correctly, and this is contrary to what I'm teaching him." She took a photo of her response, scrawled in the margin next to the requirement — “I will not let my child participate in any activity that promotes girls’ body shaming, or tells girls they [are] to police [their] sexuality” — and posted it on Facebook.
Photo via The Huffington Post
When Smith contacted the school about the dress code, she was informed that it was put in place as a reaction to a “history of inappropriate swimsuits.” The principal also suggested that requisite T-shirts would take away the possibility of some students who wanted to cover up being teased for doing so, since “everyone is required to wear one.” A district spokesperson added to the Huffington Post that the T-shirt rule was intended to spare less affluent families the cost of buying their daughters new one-piece swimsuits, an alternate dress code requirement that was considered.

Smith remained unconvinced, and suggested that — in the interest of equality — both boys and girls be required to wear shirts, an idea that was met without enthusiasm. A few days before the party, the school relented and abolished the shirt requirement. The party was held this past Monday, with all the students dressed as they chose.