Hey Schools: Take Your "Above the Knee" Finger Rule and Shove It

School Dress Codes are about control, and who really has it.

Since the dawn of time, there has been a problem with girls’ clothes. Or rather, girls’ bodies in clothes. In high school, I was summoned to the principal’s office because my ripped jeans exposed a bare kneecap. How sexy! How provocative!

Since then, little has changed.

Administrators are still clinging to this ridiculous “finger rule” when it comes to short and skirt length. Not only is the finger rule ridiculous, it’s utterly problematic. Have you seen kids these days? They all look like NBA players. I blame all the kale and quinoa we’ve been feeding them… As one disgruntled mom recently pointed out, it’s unrealistic to expect a girl to wear shorts that come down past her fingertips when her hands and fingers and legs happen to be very looong.

My son is built the same lanky way—just as well he wasn’t born a girl, or else we’d be back in the principal’s office. But because he’s a boy, no one cares or even notices how short his shorts are.

Funny that.

And while that mom’s letter to her school administrators is hilarious, beneath the humour lies plenty of indignation. Why are we still putting girls’ bodies under the microscope and telling them what they can and can’t wear? Heaven forbid someone should see a feminine shoulder or kneecap. Such dress codes are one small step away from the rape justification argument that still gets bandied around today—if your skirt is short, you are asking for it. If you are violated, it’s probably your own fault.

Why are we still sending the message to girls that they are somehow responsible for the thoughts and actions of boys?

And this mindset is rich, coming from the very same administrators who devise school uniforms. Have you seen school uniforms lately? Those pleated micro-skirts take one look at the finger rule and LMAO. There are girls walking to and from school in the sub-zero winter with their ass cheeks all but hanging out. I see those girls, and I fight the urge to pull over and throw them a blanket!

Who’s sexualizing now?

Maybe the whole concept of a dress code is not about modesty, after all. Maybe it’s about control, and who really has it.

Until schools are ready to re-write those silly, out-dated ideas, I have an idea for a universal dress code for our kids: a brown paper bag. You know, the kind for garden waste. You can get them pretty cheap in bulk.

One size fits all.

Image via Instagram / catherinepearlman.

RELATED: As Feminists, Should We Demand More Crotch Shots?

As an established parenting writer and a trusted voice within the autism community, Julie M Green is a freelance writer and featured blogger at Huffington Post and Yummy Mummy Club. Her articles have appeared in a variety of publications, including Today's Parent, Globe and Mail and Parents Canada. ​She lives in Toronto with her Irish hubby, a crazy bulldog, and an amazing 8-year-old son with autism.