A sixth grader in Portland, ME has had enough of sexist dress codes.
According to the Portland Press Herald, King Middle School sixth grader Molly Neuner was upset after a teacher allegedly made her and another female student measure their tank top straps and shorts, respectively, in front of the whole class.
"She made us feel really uncomfortable," Molly said. "It was really uncomfortable and weird."
When the teacher found that Molly's tank top straps weren't wide enough to lay two fingers across, she told her to cover up and warned her that her next violation would result in a detention after school. (You can see a photo of the tank top in question if you click through to the Portland Press Herald.)
Molly thought that was pretty unfair, so a couple days later Molly decided to send a message. Last Wednesday, she deliberately violated the dress code and wore a tank top to school. On her arm, she wrote "#IAmNotADistraction," a hashtag that's been used to call out sexist school dress codes before. Molly's mom Christina Neuner posted a photo of her daughter's outfit on Instagram, and explained why the topic was so important to them.
“We need to stand up for ourselves and for our children. We need to teach our beautiful, young, innocent daughters that their bodies are beautiful and powerful and their own to display or portray in any way they wish WITHOUT consequence,” Christina wrote in the Instagram caption. “And we need to teach our young, kind, brave sons that they are smart and strong and capable of controlling their own bodies.”
Other girls at school were inspired by Molly's protest, and about 20 of them followed her lead and wore clothes that deliberately violated the dress code.
“It was so cool to see everyone doing it,” Molly said.
It wasn't just other students that were on board, though. Molly says even teachers were coming forward to give her their support.
"My social studies teacher told us that it was super cool we were doing it, and that we were right, that we aren't distractions," Molly said in an interview with Mic. "She was super supportive of it, and our teachers were all super supportive. Then the principal called me into her office and we talked, and she said they would review the dress code at the end of the year."
That day, the school's principal Caitlin LeClair announced that the school will review the dress code at the end of the year with the students' concerns in mind.
“We plan to take this feedback and use it as an opportunity to have some students’ and parents’ input,” LeClair told the Press Herald.
Molly isn't going to let them off with just a promise, though. “I’m happy they’re going to look at it, but I want to make sure they really do it,” she told the Press Herald.
What an awesome kid.