Get Stuff We Love
An Oklahoma teen was sent home from school earlier this month after being told by teachers that she needed to change because her outfit — leggings, a loose top and long cardigan — was deemed inappropriate and distracting.
The 17-year-old student, who goes by the name Rose Lynn, followed the school's orders but returned to MacArthur High School in Lawton, Oklahoma, making a statement.
She came back wearing a baggy white T-shirt with a handwritten message: "If it doesn't cover your crotch, you'll distract the boys." And like many other students her age, Rose Lynn took to social media to express her frustration with the situation, writing a lengthy post on Facebook about how women's bodies and clothing aren't judged fairly.
"Because I'm developed farther than the average girl my age, I am required to go home and change," she wrote in the post. "Yet, if I was skin and bones or over weight, (not to offend anyone) I would be over looked and no comment would be made, (AT MY PARTICULAR SCHOOL.)"
She continued: "So once again, Society has failed to advocate young ladies, by confining them in a box, where they are stripped from their sense of self respect and self expression, rather than teaching young men to respect the boundaries of young ladies. My response : #Feminism#YoullDistractTheBoys#SocietyIsFailing"
The post, which Rose Lynn created Dec. 11, has garnered nearly 23,000 likes and 17,000 shares.
"I didn't expect my rant to go past my high school," she told TODAY.com. "I feel that it went viral because so many young girls and frustrated parents can relate to the situation."
She hopes her small act of rebellion will prompt more women to speak out against what she thinks is a double standard. "The school board needs to understand that times do change, society is always evolving and they need to grow with that," said Rose Lynn. "I hope this shows to young girls that you can present your opinion in a constructive way. They shouldn't be ashamed of their opinions and bodies."
TODAY attempted to contact school officials for comment, but didn't hear back.
The viral post has already received more than 2,000 comments, many of them expressing support with messages like, "You, young lady, have my respect for standing up against what you think is wrong."
One of Rose Lynn's biggest advocates throughout the ordeal has been her mother, Misti Evans Delgado.
"She wasn't doing anything wrong," Delgado told TODAY. "The only thing the school could tell me is that my daughter was mocking them. All of the girls are wearing these clothes. I stood up for her and said that they started it with her so they have to expect a reaction. Everything on her was covered, so why are they sending her home and causing her to miss class? What kind of message does that send?"
The two join the battle many teenage girls have been facing over the past year on the issues of dress codes, body-shaming and double standards in high schools. In Tennessee, more than 40 female students were taken out of their classes for wearing leggings, leading to the creation of the hashtag #FreetheLeggings and a petition to have the school change its policy. And a group of students at Charleston County School of the Arts in South Carolina wore scarlet letters to class to prove they weren't a distraction.
The dress-code controversy isn't limited to just teens. Even a five-year-old's outfit was deemed inappropriate. In April, writer Jef Rouner said he was shocked when he picked up his young daughter from school wearing a different outfit than the one he dropped her off in. When he asked why she changed, his daughter said she'd been told her dress was against the rules.
"I hope this raises a bigger conversation about how boys should treat girls and how girls should be tasteful with what they wear," said Rose Lynn. "It goes both ways. Ultimately it starts in the home and how we are taught to treat each other and the opposite sex. Monkey see, monkey do."