An Indiana mom was deeply offended by an invitation her daughter received for a pool party.
The mother’s issue: the school required girls to wear a dark t-shirt along with their swimsuits but not the boys.
Trouble began when Jennifer Smith’s son brought home a flyer for a sixth grade pool party thrown by an Indianapolis school. Though most of the flyer’s contents seemed innocuous enough, one of the rules caught her eye.
It said, "All girls must wear a non-white t-shirt over their swimsuit."
"Being a feminist and seeing things through that filter,” Smith told The Huffington Post, “I was just kind of enraged by that. They're saying little girls need to be ashamed of their bodies and cover themselves up."
Despite the fact that Smith does not have a daughter, she still felt the urge to fight against the controversial rule.
“I have a little boy, I’m teaching him to think correctly,” she said, “and this is contrary to what I’m teaching him.”
When she contacted the school to ask about the rule, the Rhoades Elementary School emailed her, saying that in the past students wore “very inappropriate swimsuits and covering up takes care of that issue.”
The school claimed that they also considered the fact that some families might not be able to afford swimsuits.
“We know that for many of our families, buying an extra [one-piece] swimsuit for their children would be a luxury they cannot afford,” a spokesperson for the school district said. “To address the issue of appropriate dress for the swim party, we believed asking the girls to wear T-shirts over their swimsuits was the solution that addressed the issue most sensitively.”
Smith wrote an email to the school’s principal regarding the issue, proposing that the school implement a rule wherein both boys and girls wear t-shirts.
“Setting one standard for half of the student body only promotes the idea that girls bodies are naturally shameful,” she wrote in the email.
According to Smith, neither the principal nor the superintendent were receptive to that idea. Eventually, the school changed their policy and updated it to say that t-shirts were optional.
Smith hopes that the change can help girls realize that they can be proud of their bodies and not be ashamed by them.
"If we can change little things to make it better,” said Smith, “and examine the reasons why we do things, that would be great."
According to Smith’s son, no girls wore t-shirts at the party.
Photo Credit: Flickr