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Why dress codes are a violation of Title IX

Title IX is a provision of the U.S. Education Amendments of 1972, intended to prevent discrimination based on sex in any education program or activity that receives federal funding — including public schools. Although it has been effective at mitigating unfairness in schools, violations of Title IX continue today.


For example, I believe dress codes, which are protested by high school students nationwide, are violations of Title IX because they disproportionately impact the education of girls.


This issue has popped up locally. In recent months, students at Riverdale High School have assembled and protested the dress code at their school due to its inherent sexism. One of the major proponents of the movement against the RHS dress code is Sarah Gordon, a senior at the school.


In a July 2015 article in the Huffington Post, Gordon refutes arguments that dress codes are not a violation of Title IX, which prohibits exclusion from educational opportunities because of sex. Dress codes affect girls more than boys, she writes, which makes it clear that removing a student from the classroom because of their attire does violate Title IX.


Gordon is not alone in her perspective.




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“Dress code violators could argue that they are being targeted precisely because of their sex. Rules about short shorts or spaghetti-strap tank tops are aimed directly at women’s attire,” said Jessica Valenti, a writer for The Guardian in New York, in a 2013 article.


Despite community interest in creating a more forgiving dress code, the Riverdale School Board has drafted a harsher dress code. This year’s policy prohibits any clothing that reveals skin from shoulders down to mid-thigh; dirty clothing or clothing in disrepair is also not allowed. Consequences for multiple violations of the dress code quickly ramp up to in-school or out-of-school suspensions.


In addition to becoming more stringent, the dress code now provides the school board’s reasoning behind the provisions. Last year’s policy did not outline the rationale behind the dress code, while this year’s seems to say the intent is to prevent distractions in the school environment.


On the district’s website, a July 2015 document describing the updates to the dress code states that “dress and grooming affect the attitude of the students in their work and study habits.” I take that to mean dressing in certain ways will negatively affect a student’s ability to concentrate.


In other words, violations of the dress code are distractions to other students, and violators will be removed from classrooms.


The rules include that students cannot wear see-through fabrics, cutout sleeves, halter tops, strapless tops and off-the-shoulder tops. Some of the rules are positive in intent and prohibit messages on clothing, accessories and personal items, including vulgar language, depictions of weaponry or drugs, and degradation of other races, genders, sexual orientations or religious affiliations.


A post on the district’s website states, “Our dress code is not based on gender — it is based on equal standards. The dress code is not designed for shaming, instead it is a collective illustration of community norms.”


However, this ignores the possibility of the community norms being inherently sexist, and the inequity still seems clear to me. To investigate the unfairness of the dress code, I conducted a survey among students at my school, asking three questions:


n What is your gender?


n Have you been dress-coded at RHS?


n How many times have you been dress-coded?


Of the male respondents, 23 percent had been dress-coded, while 64 percent of the female respondents had been dress-coded. Of the boys who had been dress-coded, only one had been dress-coded more than once, while nearly 90 percent of the girls who had been dress-coded were dress-coded more than once.


The information suggests the dress code affects girls more than boys, and if that is the case, it is my opinion that the use of suspension as punishment would be a violation of Title IX.


The Riverdale School Board should reconsider its dress code, revising it to be more liberal with its policing and punishment.

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09:18 Publié dans fashion | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)


Post Fashion Week Recovery

You may have gathered from my previous post that the hustle and bustle of London Fashion Week left me fashion weak - both mentally and physically, and on top of that I had blog posts to shoot, clothes to organise, blog posts to write for several brands, as well as the usual meetings and radio planning so I decided to unwind and destress by taking part in a week of wellness with beauty brand Rituals. The idea of the week was to demonstrate how to realign our bodies with our mind and to regain our focus in a world full of stresses and distractions. What could be more perfect?


Day 1 - Mindfulness and New Beginnings


My week began with an early morning yoga session hosted by Stella Magazine's resident wellness expert Angie Newson. I must admit I don't usually do much yoga because I'm more of a cardio and weight person but I was actually really amazed at how much it felt like a workout. Angie had a really nice warmth to her and I thoroughly enjoyed having a good stretch first thing on a Monday morning. I don't know if it's related but I had SO much energy and felt so happy all day. I would definitely recommend you force yourself out of bed that little bit earlier and do some exercise as it was such a great feeling to not have it hanging over my head all day.


An Evening with Sleep


I've always been an incredible daydreamer in the daytime and deep sleeper at night; when I say deep I mean I don't even wake up to fire alarms! Needless to say I was incredibly excited for the opportunity to have a one on one dream analysis session with Media Dream Expert Ian Wallace and a sleep pattern and positioning session with leading sleep expert Sammy Margo. Sammy couldn't really offer me much advice when it came to my sleep patterns and positioning because I have literally no problems with going to sleep or waking up, however it was really nice to talk to her and was interesting to listen to her advise others on the way in which they should change their position in order to alleviate pain and discomfort. One awesome bit of advice she gave was to sleep on a silk pillow as it helps your night cream absorb into your skin. I chatted to Ian about my deep sleeps, vivid dreams and history of both sleep walking and talking and it was interesting to have him tell me I am very creative and I need to train my brain to stop daydreaming in the day time by telling myself 'I am awake'.


Finally the evening ended with a temple massage, which are probably my favourite things in the entire world. Miraculously I woke up at 9am the next day (I usually wake up at 7am on the dot without an alarm) so the evening definitely worked in relaxing me!


An evening of Purifying and Cleansing


This day was probably my favourite day of all of them as meditation experts Inner Space gave us incredible advice on how to slow down and relax our mind. Being self-employed with lots of different things going on at the same time (my blog, my radio show, modelling, and the day to day stresses of life) I find it very hard to switch off or to focus my energy on one thing at a time. The advice was simple but highly effective and included allowing yourself to enjoy a few things without the distraction of work or technology such as a meal or your morning coffee, and starting your day with something positive - a song or a positive quote for example.




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I had never heard of Inner Space before, but it's a Meditation and Personal development centre based in London (they do online courses too), and they offer lots of talks and development courses from positive thinking, to self esteem, to relaxation strategies - and all of them are free as well. How amazing?


We did a little meditation session to show how effective 5 minutes can be to your day and then we were treated to a reflexology session from A List reflexologist to the stars and founder of Mobile Healing, Keah Lan. I've never had reflexology before but am a huge fan of foot massages. I was amazed at the analysis Keah managed to provide about my body from only touching my feet such as that I have a hormone imbalance; I know this to be true already from my recent acne breakout. If you haven't done reflexology before then I recommend you try it!


Day 5: Nutrition


The final day of my week focused on my favourite activity off all time: eating. We were given a talk by chef and author of the Naked Diet Tess Ward on the benefits of clean living and how to nourish our bodies before indulging on some of her insane raw treats including green juices and the most delicious healthy brownies, like ever! You can check out her beautifully crafted recipe book here.


I've worked a lot on my food and exercise patterns over the years with my nutritionist and life coach Mel of the Green Goddess Life so feel pretty confident already in this area but it was awesome to chat to Tess (who has a similar ethos to Mel - enjoy yourself but be good most of the time) and to get some new recipe ideas as well as spending the evening with my friends Olivia Cox, Lilah Parsons, and Lauren Frazer Hutton.


I was so sad for the week to come to an end as it was nice to learn something new every night, be surrounded by positive quotations and people, but it also forced me to dedicate a little bit of time to myself everyday. I genuinely felt so calm and happy by the end of the week. If you're interested, My Rituals have created an app which teaches you how to meditate in just 5 minutes a day - I've started using it and it's pretty great.


So here I am, rejuvenated and regenerated and missing the buzz of London Fashion Week - I'm already excited for next season. It might be a rollercoaster of a week but I'm a sucker for theme parks, and luckily I don't have long to wait as I'm off to Thorpe Park's fright night for Halloween.

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07:57 Publié dans fashion | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)


Dress well – but remain modest

Within the last 15 years, Janet Edmunson, former director of prevention and wellness at Blue Cross Blue Shield in Massachusetts, went from wearing the “wrong” styles and colors to work, to wearing clothes that suit her natural features.


She credits Julie Cunningham, owner of Julie Cunningham Color, for helping her update her professional appearance.


“I learned from Julie that coral and salmon were my best pinks and that turquoise and teal were my best blues – quite different from the light pink and blue I had been wearing,” said Edmunson, founder/president of Scarborough-based JME Insights.


“I feel prettier, and I know I look better,” she said.


Others seemed to like Edmunson’s transformation, too. When people compliment her about her new look, it boosts her confidence and self-esteem, which is “a huge uplift in the workplace,” said Edmunson, a trainer, motivational speaker, writer and health promotion professional who lives in South Portland.


But Edmunson, who typically wears pantsuits, skirt suits or dresses, especially when she gives presentations, has also noticed some changes in the workplace in recent years. She said fewer women are wearing pantyhose and suits.


“Certainly, more casual is in,” said Edmunson, who helps companies and individuals find ways to stay positive during difficult times.


In most workplaces where she consults, she said, women are not allowed to wear low-cut tops, short skirts or shorts, which is important if women want to be taken seriously.


“I have always been told by my mentors to dress to the next level up, where you want your career to be,” Edmunson said.


Cunningham, who heads her Portland-based personal image and color consulting company, and Mary LaFontaine, manager of the State of Maine Career Center in Lewiston, agree that women’s work attire is much less formal than it was a decade ago.


“For the last 10 years, the fashion police have been insisting we can’t wear pantyhose anymore,” said Cunningham, who has helped thousands of men and women improve their image since 1996. “The professional woman now has more choice regarding her use of pantyhose than before the pantyhose revolution in the 1990s.”


“Ten years ago, or more, women were always wearing pantyhose with dresses,” said LaFontaine. “We would have never gone without pantyhose.”


Women also no longer seem to be wearing slips under their dresses like they did in the late 1980s and early ’90s, said LaFontaine.


“I don’t remember the last time I put a slip on under a dress,” she said.


In general, women in the workplace wear more casual attire, such as khaki pants or jeans, she said, though women still wear high heels.


“A vast majority of women, if they are wearing a dress, regardless of the type of shoe, will not have pantyhose on,” said LaFontaine.


“I am not sure 10 years ago I would have been wearing pants for my job,” said LaFontaine, who now wears pants on a regular basis. “The standard for my position in state government 10 years ago would have been a dress or suit, or pants and a blazer.”


Cunningham said for more conservative professions, such as law, where women are known to wear skirt suits and pumps, “pantyhose looks more appropriate.” Despite the profession, she encourages women to wear them for several reasons.


“Pantyhose is like makeup for your legs and makes the legs look instantly prettier and slimmer,” Cunningham said. “It also prevents your thighs from rubbing together, and if you live in a cold climate (like Maine), it is warmer in the cool temperatures.”


Cunningham said that a pantyhose comeback this fall is “based on the legs being a fashion focal point” and “the fact that Kate Middleton wears pantyhose.”


“Until this fall, it has been considered hipper to go without, even when it is freezing outside,” she said.


“Cultural evolution is reflected in fashion changes, even in the professional workplace,” she said. “The miniskirt reflected a more liberal attitude in the 1960s. In the ’70s we had hippie clothing, and a few touches like a leather hobo bag and peasant blouse, appeared at work.”


In the 1980s, she said, author John T. Molloy wrote “Dress for Success,” which instructed women to essentially dress like men: a white shirt with a little bow under the chin, and a black straight-skirt suit.


Eventually this evolved into a more flattering work wardrobe: a dark neutral-colored suit and light-colored shirt with an “attractive cut,” said Cunningham.


According to Cunningham and LaFontaine, individual style is more prominent in the workplace today than it was years ago.


“There’s a lot of diversity in the clothing we wear right now, and there’s not those real strict trends that did exist 10, 20, 30, 40 years ago,” LaFontaine said.


Dressing appropriately for work today, said Cunningham, is more about how women wear their clothes, rather than what they wear.


“To pull this off requires a woman to know her correct color palette, body line, silhouette and clothing personality,” whether it’s dramatic, neutral, classic or romantic, she said.


Edmunson agrees.


“Dressing well, in your correct colors and with clothes that enhance your body type, first of all make you feel great,” she said. “That then raises your optimism, confidence, and I believe, performance.”


Cunningham said while women prefer different styles, there are some basic wardrobe rules women should follow. Female job seekers should also dress accordingly with the position they are pursuing, she said.


LaFontaine offers similar advice, though it depends on the workplace. For office settings, LaFontaine recommends women wear dresses, or pant suits with a blouse. She often tells women she mentors at the CareerCenter not wear too much jewelry in the workplace.


“Remain modest,” she said.



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“I personally don’t allow my staff to wear jeans to work, ever,” said LaFontaine. “(The CareerCenter) would never recommend someone wear khakis or jeans to an interview for an office position.”


She said several of her female staff members have tattoos that are visible. Though it depends on the workplace, “body art,” such as piercing and tattoos, “has become much more acceptable,” than a decade ago, said LaFontaine.


In recent years, unique hair colors, like pink, purple and green, have also become more accepted in the workplace, she added.


“We are just more creative and open about how we express ourselves,” she said.


While “you can never err with being too conservative,” she said, women also shouldn’t hide who they are.


“It depends on the kind of job, or where you want to work, and how visible the tattoo is in your job search process,” said LaFontaine.


According to Cunningham, “the professional woman’s wardrobe should be flattering, appropriate and of the best quality” they can afford, and they should pay close attention to their upper-body presence.


“Have fewer pieces of good quality rather than a lot of poor quality items,” she said. “If you have limited funds, spend more money on the top because that is where people look at you the most.”


She suggests women wear dark, neutral-colored pants or a skirt, with a dress jacket and “pop of color” on top. In terms of quality, she suggests wool blends, gabardine, silks or polyester blends.


“What you wear depends on what message you wish to send,” she said. “If you have a conservative job, a classic-style personality, or a desire to be promoted, wear a suit or straight skirt and blazer, or a dress and jacket with pumps.”


She also encourages women to coordinate their shoes and accessories when dressing for work, and applying their makeup lightly to appear more natural.


“Add a pair of good leather shoes or boots and a coordinating purse and/or briefcase,” she said. “Finish with simple gold, silver or pearl earrings, and a nice watch.”

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08:33 Publié dans fashion | Lien permanent | Commentaires (0)