“Having an attitude is probably not going to be the solution.”
As longtime YSBnow readers know, we adore Zendaya: she has proven time and time again that she is an amazing role model, and that she doesn’t stand for body-shaming or traditional beauty standards.
So, when asked about sexist dress codes, it is no surprise that Zen-slay-a (sorry) had a typically astute response.
“With anything, you have to approach from an educational, mature standpoint,” she told Seventeen.com. “Just ranting about it or having an attitude is probably not going to be the solution. I would say write something up. Basically become a little lawyer. Make it a very detailed, educational, intelligent body of work. Give reasons. Type it up, and then hand that in and see if you can get somewhere.”
In other words, fight back with poise, do your homework, and face the problem head-on. Many students have done exactly that, like Carey Burgess, who penned a searing takedown of her school’s dress code on social media, which quickly went viral, or Lauren Wiggins, who wrote a letter calling out the problematic nature of her school’s dress code.
Ultimately, women’s bodies are not a distraction, and to treat them as such is to diminish our right to learn and our right to be treated as an equal part of this society. Many dress codes target heavier or curvier women, and few target men at all. To restrict women in this way is to continue to promote the false assumption that women should have to dress a certain way and act a certain way to protect themselves against men. We are not “distractions.”
Zendaya’s advice is sound and has worked to raise awareness for many girls. We couldn’t agree more, Z.