When I was in high school, I learned in a religious institute and was constantly dress-coded. My skirt was too short, my neckline was showing, and any excuse you can think of was brought up. I had two close friends in school, and I started noticing that they were not being dress-coded as often as I was, despite many times wearing skirts that, simply put, barely covered their butts.
Every time I got dress-coded, I took a photo of what I was wearing and what they were wearing the same day. I would sit at home and go through the photos and wonder “why on earth would a teacher pick me out of the three of us and only dress-code me?” and then it hit me. Both of my friends, unfortunately, struggled with eating disorders in high school, and they were both extremely thin. Fortunately or not, I did not share those struggles, and lord knows I haven’t gone to the gym in years.
I think that if we were in an Ultra-Orthodox school, any skin showing would catch a teacher’s eye. Our school, however, was a little more progressive, exposed to social media, TV, and advertisements. The exposure, in my opinion, causes the teachers to not notice when a skinny girl is barely covered. A larger girl though, when her thighs or chest or arms are not covered, it becomes an eyesore, and the teachers catch it.
Once I caught wind of the pattern, I started to notice it in other places like social media, and even at home. I have a small-chested and slim sister. She is only a year and a half older than me, but on family occasions and events, I could not wear the things she wore, as they were “too exposing”, “too distracting”, “not appropriate”, or just “that’s vulgar…” It lurks and follows wherever I go, and unless I am covered from head to toe, the comments will make their way to me.
So what’s the solution? Loose weight and fit into everyone’s perception of how a woman should look so that we can wear a tank top? Or should we instead say a huge “screw you” to everyone who has the balls to disagree with the way we look? Another idea, and personally my favorite, is one word. Boobs. I learned when I was around 19, that when, especially men, can see your chest, they forget that you are fat. Men will stare and women will hate, but at the end of the day, no matter what body type, we will always receive criticism for the way we look. It’s a sad truth, but no one these days is safe from the trend of putting others down because of their appearance. To that I say, stand tall, and lift your head up high so your crown doesn’t fall.