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.

More from Politics

R29 Original Series