In the world of high school dress codes and yearbooks, it seems that shoulders are a repeat offender. Their latest transgression? Getting Grace Goble's senior portrait rejected. In an interview with the Today show, Goble explained that she was told her yellow off-the-shoulder sweater violated her school rules and didn't clear the institution's standards for a yearbook photo.
In response, Teen Vogue notes that Goble, who attends Maine South High School in Park Ridge, IL, started a petition to update her school's dress code. She states that nobody at the portrait session told her anything about the sweater being inappropriate and that she's worn the same top to school and school events without any consequences.
"As you can see, this photo is completely innocent, and the sweater that I am wearing is modest and covers my body very appropriately," Goble mentions in the Change.org petition. "This is a shirt which I have worn to school and to school events before, and no one has ever given it a second thought."
Goble adds that the school's rules are sexist, too. Boys at the school are allowed to wear tank tops, but if female students do the same, they're told to change into their school-sanctioned gym shirt. Her petition continued, stating that the outdated and misogynistic rules not only promote body-shaming, they place the blame on female students.
"I have spent a good majority of my life wondering why exactly women's shoulders are so offensive," she wrote. "It is ridiculous that young women aren't allowed to wear the clothing that they wish to wear simply because it could possibly distract someone. Why must young women be denied the ability to express themselves through their fashion simply because there may be a few people out there who cannot control themselves? Shaming women for wearing the things that make them feel comfortable and happy in their bodies is horribly sexist, and leads many girls to grow up believing that if another individual cannot control their actions around women, that the woman was at fault."
While the school assembles a group of students to address and revise the dress code, Maine South's principal, Shawn Messmer, did reach out to Goble. Her photo will be included in the yearbook as-is. That's one win for Goble and, hopefully, a step towards getting rid of sexist dress codes altogether.
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