Female students at Etobicoke School of the Arts in Toronto have celebrated their own “Crop Top Day,” which was a protest involving scores of students wearing crop tops and other daring tops in an attempt to fight against what the students have declared a “sexist” dress code at the high school. The students joined high school student Alexi Halket because they say that female attire ranging from their comfortable every day clothing to their prom dresses are policed by school administrators.
— VUBBLE (@vubblePOP) May 27, 2015
“Female students are getting taken into the office because they are wearing a shirt that resembles a sports bra, but there are males in gym class and on the back field running around shirtless and that double standard is not OK,” Halket told Global News. While male crop tops were becoming trendy, it wasn’t mentioned whether or not the school allows male students to wear crop tops to class, but according to CBC News, on Tuesday some males showed up sporting crop tops to support Alexi.
According to Alexi, it all started on Monday when a male teacher told the vice principal that Alexi’s top seemed a bit “too much like a sports bra” to be considered appropriate school attire. She was also wearing a gray skirt.
— mai (@iIluminatae) May 26, 2015
When confronted, Halket refused to change her top or cover up. She says that she was forced to defend her belief that her skin is just skin. She told her principal, Rob MacKinnon, that it is wrong to view female shoulders and midriffs as “sexual or provocative.” She and the other students say that this mindset promotes rape culture. Halket says that her principal told her she couldn’t wear the outfits she had picked out for the week. It is her birthday week, and she said that her chosen outfits make her feel beautiful.
— BuzzFeed (@BuzzFeed) May 26, 2015
“I told him I had a line up of outfits planned out because this was my birthday week,” said Halket, who just turned 18-years-old. “Because I wanted to feel very beautiful, look very beautiful and feel very confident in myself and be happy — and they were sexualizing my outfit.”
Tuesday was Halket’s actual birthday and was also the day she invited hundreds of her peers to join her in protesting the dress code with Crop Top Day. She and her peers used the hashtag #croptopday, and hundreds said they would join her.
— Alexi Halket (@IXELAmusic) May 26, 2015
As all the planning was underway, Principal MacKinnon was warned of the impending Crop Top Day protest and sent out a staff memo.
“I encouraged teachers to talk about this with their students,” MacKinnon said. “It’s about appropriate dress for this setting, not sexualizing students or objectifying them, but what’s OK in school.”
It also wasn’t long before the Toronto media caught wind of Crop Top Day.
— TorontoStar (@TorontoStar) May 27, 2015
Many of the students’ parents supported the students’ decisions to fight back against the dress code. Students from other schools reportedly even participated. Alexi says that, in total, thousands participated.
Alexi’s dress code protest was also shared using the hashtag #StandInSolidarity
MacKinnon says he sat down with about 200 students in the library to talk about the dress code concerns.
“I’m very proud of them for talking about what they value — critical thinking is important in schools,” he said. “It’s about approaching the line, but not crossing it, which is a struggle. It’s an art school, so we’re always pushing the lines.”
Halket refused to budge Tuesday and disagreed with her principal’s suggestion that she should dress professionally at school, according to CP24.
“He said ‘this is a professional environment,’ so I said, ‘yes, but the word professional comes from profession, meaning job, and this is your job, so I understand if you have to be professional, but I have to go to school and I’m going to wear whatever makes me comfortable.’ ”
— Stephanie Matteis (@CBCsteph) May 26, 2015
— Hannah (@bobhannah13) May 27, 2015
— Ali Daschko (@alid0901) May 26, 2015
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What do you think of the Crop Top Day protest in Toronto?
[Photo via Toronto Star video]