Teen Makes Little Sis A Statement Shirt To Protest Sexist Dress Codes

isabella rossellini‏/@bellavillegas/Twitter_

As the product of 12 years of Catholic education, I cannot speak to school dress code violations from firsthand personal experience. Unless you count the time I was caught using duct tape to hold the torn hem of my plaid skirt in place, or the year I rebelled against the “no nail polish” policy. I went to an all-girls high school, and so the very idea of my school attire being too suggestive never occurred to me (at least not until I saw that first Britney Spears video).

But school dress codes and how they are enforced are a big deal. The seeming bias against girls in particular is creating quite the stir among students, teachers and parents. Students in Oregon, for example, want phrases like “sexually suggestive” removed from dress code policies, insisting that this language affects girls far more often than boys.


These wars continue to be waged in school board hearings and PTA meetings across the country, where there are, of course, two distinct sides to the argument. Those who make the dress code want to provide a safe, professional environment for students. Those who want to change the dress code want freedom to wear what they want without being deemed a distraction.

While some students are fighting the system by testifying in front of their school boards, others are taking a less formal approach.

Grace Villegas became one such poster child for dress code oppression when the 13-year-old bought herself a new shirt. Stoked to wear her latest fashion find to school she was surprised to get looks and comments from teachers about the top’s inappropriateness. In fact, she was made to feel so uncomfortable, she had to change into a different shirt.

Shocked and frustrated by this turn of events, her big sister, Isabella, took action. She made Grace a new shirt to wear if the situation should ever arise again.

The shirt big sister Grace made hits on some important arguments for those in favor of a looser dress code policy. On a white T-shirt, Grace wrote:


– promotes the objectification & sexualization of young bodies

– blames the wearer for the onlooker’s perceptions/actions

– perpetuates rape culture

– is BS


Seems that Isabella’s statement piece really hit a nerve with a lot of Twitter users. Her post of the side-by-side shots of Grace before and after her wardrobe switch has generated a lot of noise.

Since March 13, when the Wichita, Kansas native first tweeted the images, the post has been retweeted nearly 3,000 times and received over 5,000 likes. And Twitter commenters are showing up on both sides of the argument.

Some are on team too inappropriate:

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While others are clearly big fans of Isabella…

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…and others just love the DIY shirt from Grace’s big sis:

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With so much buzz, Isabella is even creating printed shirts so more can join in on her dress code crusade:

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What do you think?

Fashion & Style, Life

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About the Author
Kate Desmond
Kate is a freelance writer, mommy blogger, safe sleep crusader, and wannabe inventor in search of her next great idea. She lives in Dallas, Texas with her husband and two little girls. They are the loves of her life, but also drive her to insanity. She writes about living on that brink on her blog, The Tiny Fashionista.

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