A student body president, who was publicly humiliated and suspended for wearing a modest skirt, has gotten her sweet vengeance exposing the school’s sexism in a viral Instagram post.
Beaufort High School student Carey Burgess posted a photo of herself in the outfit that caused such a riot — a beige skirt almost grazing her knees and a striped sweater covering her from her neck to her forearms.
“As I was walking down the hallway, I heard a voice behind me. ‘Your skirt is too short. You need to go to in-school suspension and then go home,’” Burgess wrote.
“Thank you for bringing me to tears in front of my friends and classmates because you do not have the decency to pull me aside and explain the problem,” Burgess continued. “Then again, I did not have the decency to put on real clothes today.”
Today, I wore this outfit to Beaufort High School. About 20 minutes into the day, my friend and I were excused from class to venture to the vending machine because our teacher was planning to do nothing all class period, as usual. On our way back, I learned something very important about myself: I am a whore. As I was walking down the hallway, I heard a voice behind me. "Your skirt is too short. You need to go to in-school suspension and then go home." Thank you, Mrs. Woods. Thank you for teaching me that looking good for school is NOT appropriate. Thank you for letting me know that while I may think that I am dressing up for my Teacher Cadet lesson, I am in fact dressing to go to a night club or the whore house. Thank you for bringing me to tears in front of my friends and classmates because you do not have the decency to pull me aside and explain the problem. Then again, I did not have the decency to put on real clothes today. So maybe I am in the wrong. Maybe our society isn't yet advanced enough to handle 3 inches of my thigh. This is a patriarchal society and I am a woman. I have to be kept in my place, or I may do something that is so rarely seen in Beaufort High School- learn. You saved me, Beaufort High. As Student Body President, junior marshal, and a recipient of the Palmetto Fellows, I was heading down the path of hard drugs (good thing you're testing next year!), strip clubs, and sugar daddies. I don't know where I would be without your misogynistic views. How could I go on without a certain teacher making sexist jokes all class? How could I survive without my science professor letting me know I am an inferior woman? Yes, I am a woman. I am woman with thighs, a butt, and a brain. I am bigger than Beaufort High School. All of us are. Maybe instead of worrying about my skirt, Beaufort High should take notice of its incompetent employees, and sexist leaders.
The post quickly spread like wildfire across the Internet, resonating with many female students about the stringent necessity to police women’s bodies yet fail on actually teaching students.
“This is a patriarchal society and I am a woman. I have to be kept in my place, or I may do something that is so rarely seen in Beaufort High School- learn,” Burgess wrote.
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Principal Corey Murphy stood by administrator Jennifer Woods’ decision to send Burgess home for her clothing choice.
He told the Beaufort Gazette that she handled the incident ” just like I would have expected her to and the same way we would have handled any other kid in the same situation.”
Yet he added her outfit in the photo was well within the dress code. Burgess reiterated her message was more to hammer in the school's rampant misogyny than its ridiculous dress code standards.
“Yes, I am a woman. I am woman with thighs, a butt, and a brain. I am bigger than Beaufort High School. All of us are. Maybe instead of worrying about my skirt, Beaufort High should take notice of its incompetent employees, and sexist leaders,” Burgess wrote.
She detailed how teachers have referred to girls as “inferior females” and how they will forcefully partner a boy with a girl “so she’s not lost.” Many social media users rallied behind Burgess and shared similar sentiments about their education at Beaufort High School.
“I spent 4 years worrying about how which teachers interpreted each dress code rule and dressing to make sure I could get through all of my classes without getting sent home. That's not what school is about and I feel for all those still their sacrificing their personality for their education,” former student Chandaa Johnson commented on Facebook.
Other women highlighted the unfair double standard between how women’s bodies are treated versus men’s.
“the way girls are treated with dress code is insane, how is my skirt so short to get sent home but guys can wear chubbies and expose WAY more leg than me & still be in school?” Facebook user Cec Hag commented.
Female students across the U.S. face strict standards for what they wear that compromises their education and essentially teaches adolescent girls that their bodies are a distraction to be ashamed of. Instead of worrying about showing skin, academic institutions should concern themselves with the patriarchal lessons they are indoctrinating to impressionable youth every time they send a girl home for showing a few inches of her thigh.
Banner photo credit: Instagram user mynameiscarey