The day before Field Day in the first grade teachers were reminding us about staying hydrated in the heat and the dress code. I never even thought about the dress code on the day-to-day basis... I was 6 and my mom picked out what I would wear school still. But for Field Day I had picked out a yellow spaghetti strap (my class was the yellow team) but my teacher told us that spaghetti straps were not allowed at school because they are inappropriate and they would distract my other classmates.... I was so confused about this because that day was supposed to be really hot and full sun so in my brain I figured a tank top would be the more practical choice.
Fast forward to my angsty years in high school. I had a better understanding of the school dress code and it pissed me off. "But they don't even sell shorts that short" "But that measurement is arbitrary and I have long arms" "if what I was wearing was really inappropriate my mother wouldn't let me out of the house in it" Those arguments were met with the one comment any girl in high school was dreading to hear: "Well, its distracting to your male classmates" (says the 53 year old faculty member that knows nothing of my character but cared enough to follow me down the hall to tell me that my shorts were too short in front of several other students... embarrassing, right?) I don't think I need to go on about how embarrassing that is to a young, impressionable woman who is still trying to come to terms with her body. School dress codes degrade young woman at the most vulnerable point in their lives and teach them that our bodies are dangerous and our worth is based off of an outdated standard of modesty, not to mention that the education of our male classmates is more valuable than our own.
Thankfully, you don't stay in high school forever, and once you're in the real world the "dress code" is either "professional" or whateverthefuckyouwant.
If you asked me 2 years ago if I would be posing nude for photos I would have blushed and said "no way dude" but look at me now... Posing nude has made more more comfortable with myself, given me a new outlet of expression and has made me look at other body shapes differently; It made me really appreciate the differences between human beings. But with everything else in this world it came with drawbacks. The biggest and most annoying at this time being censorship. While I understand the sentiment behind it I think it can be very harmful and something needs to change. Ive had several posts removed from Instagram because of a visible (or non visible) nipple or other body parts. This is irritating because of the obvious inconvenience of re censoring and reuploading, but the fact that my body is deemed "unsafe for the community" perpetuates something I've been dealing with my whole life.
My body is not unsafe. Nipples are just body parts, like my fingers or my knees. But obviously some people would prefer to not see those types of things, while others are more comfortable with the human form, so clearly something has to change with Instagram's policy and how they handle "NSFW" content. But as with any issue there is a an issue within; I'm talking about some photographers using this issue to gain attention. They say things like "don't be afraid of art" or "its not erotic" (as if erotic work between 2 consenting adults is bad). The reason this irritates me so much is because men are using this issue to acquire attention and brand their "art" as edgy and revolutionary. "Don't be afraid of the human body... but erotic work is soon bad!" It just feels as if their voices are shouting over the real issue, the fact that female bodies are not treated equally. Instead they are shouting "don't block my art" I could go on but that would be exhausting...
At any case something needs to change on social media.