Picture posted by Liz Martinez to demonstrate the outfit she was wearing when school officials pulled her out of class for “distracting” other students by attending school without wearing a bra
Whelp, Florida is in the news once again, and as per usual, it’s not for something that moves society forward, but rather drags us screeching backward. According to a multitude of sources, such as this article on Bustle, a Florida teen was recently ordered by high school staff to wear bandaids over her nipples after daring to go to school without wearing a bra, despite the fact that she was dressed very conservatively even sans bra in a plain dark-gray long-sleeve shirt and pants. As stated in the previously linked article:
“According to Martinez, she was called out of her fifth period class on April 2 at Braden River High School after a teacher alerted administration that she was concerned Martinez was not wearing a bra. The decision to pull her from class struck Martinez as odd, as she explains to Bustle that girls are rarely pulled from their classes for dress code violations. Instead, violations are noted by administrators if violators are seen in the hall.”
What makes this story even more insane is that during the staff altercation where she was pulled out of class to be informed that her bralessness was “distracting” the other students, she was instructed by staff to “jump around” to test for jiggliness?!? Quote:
Of course, reactions to this heinous mistreatment of an underage girl by school administrators were swift and brutal on social media, as well they should be. Many observations that should be common sense were presented, like the nonsense notion that female nipples are somehow sexual if their outline is visible, but male nipples, which are just as often visible on a cold day, are exempted from this presumption of inherent sexuality. There’s also the implication by pulling young women out of class simply for going braless that their education is less important than the teenage and adolescent males they’re accused of “distracting” while in class. Finally, there were numerous personal accounts from especially “busty” women on situations where even multiple layers of clothing AND thickly padded bras wouldn’t be enough to hide the shape of their buxom bosoms completely, and that requiring so many layers of clothing from one gender but not all others–especially in locations that often easily pass beyond 100 degrees Fahrenheit-is sexist AND cruel.
Hopefully, as future incidences like this are rightly exposed for their blatant misogyny and violating school officials are publicly shamed into changing their policies to be equal among all genders, more schools, workplaces, etc. will realize without the need for personal shaming that it’s beyond time to nip such blatant sexism in the bud. But as with all aspects of the fight for equal rights, a lot more brave souls will have to risk public humiliation if not rape/death threats and wrongful arrest before these ideals become the norm. In light of that, thank you for your bravery, Liz Martinez. Please know that history is on your side.
Cleo’s Personal Take
The funniest part of this story is how it relates to my own struggle against bralessness, and ways I tried to get around similar restrictions without having to suffer the expense and discomfort of wearing bras (especially as an adolescent and young teen, when I barely had any more chest fat than most of the boys). I even would on occasion wear band-aids over my nipples and hope that that was good enough, as it was the constricting nature of bras that I hated the most. (Seriously, bras are @#%#ing uncomfortable!) While I was never (as far as I can remember) specifically addressed on the subject of going braless by school staff, it was definitely a regular feature in the aspects of my person that I was cruelly teased and bullied about, long after school even (I had a best friend for years who would routinely date horrible assholes, most of whom would regularly tease/mock me for going without a bra). I even had a guy quit a Dungeons and Dragons game I was in once because he was uncomfortable with my bralessness, rather than maybe use it as a learning lesson to not be so focused and obsessed with staring at girls’ chests?
Nowadays, I’m back to being totally braless, as I’m nearly 8 months pregnant and my ribcage hurts enough as-is without the added constriction. For a time while I was regularly breastfeeding, I actually did start wearing bras simply for the support, though even still I mostly just wore cupless “sports bras” that did little to nothing to hide the oh-so-heinous outline of my nipples under my shirt, which is of course the part of going braless that so much of Western society still finds unacceptable in women, for reasons unknown. Will I go back to wearing sports bras after baby #2 is born? Probably, but again, only for the support. I will never again allow myself to be shamed into wearing bras just to spare prudish assholes the “discomfort” of seeing the outline of my nipples under my shirt! Seriously people, they’re just nipples, everyone (with exceptions for survivors of breast cancer, etc.) have them, and requiring only women to wear uncomfortable and expensive articles of clothing just so you don’t have to see the OUTLINE of nipples is truly insane!!