Canadian Teens Protest HS Dress Code by Wearing Skirts to School

Friday October 23, 2020

Zachary Paulin
Zachary Paulin  (Source:Instagram)

16-year-old Zachary Paulin decided to make a statement about the dress code at the school he attends, Collège Nouvelles Frontières in Gatineau, Quebec, which he saw as discriminatory. The school's policy states that girls were "required to wear skirts no shorter that 10cm above the knee, but there is no equivalent rule for clothes often worn to school by boys, for example shorts," reports Pink News.

In protest he decided that on Friday, October 9, he would wear a skirt to school and told some of his peers his plans a few days before. He never expected anyone to join in, so he was greatly surprised that some 100 of his male classmates joined in.

"I knew that it was going to be a big movement, but not that big of a movement," he told the Canadian news site CBC.

"Paulin said the one-day protest was aimed at a number of causes, from toxic masculinity to the sexualization of women," reports the CBC.

Explaining the protest on Instagram, Paulin wrote: "Today, you probably saw that a lot of guys, including me, were wearing a skirt.

"Well, let me explain [to] you the reason behind this movement. Basically, the fact that a boy wears a skirt is a sign of resilience, solidarity and support to the intersectional battle for gender equality.

"The double standard on the way society views our women and men is blatant; if a woman decides to wear a suit or pants, clothes associated with masculinity, it's not a big deal.

"But the moment a man will do anything remotely feminine, whether it is to put nail polish, makeup or in our case, a skirt, fingers are pointed and he gets insulted.

"People will say that he's not a 'real man' and they will automatically assume his sexuality."

At the 108-year old private secondary school where the students of both sexes wear uniforms, its director general Mario Vachon said that administrators had watched the debate unfold on social media.

Teachers used it as an opportunity to raise the subjects of toxic masculinity, LGBTQ rights and equality in classroom discussions, he said.

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