100 teenage boys turned up to school in skirts to protest sexism, homophobia and toxic masculinity
Around 100 male students at a high school in Canada showed up to class wearing skirts to protest a sexist school dress code, toxic masculinity and homophobia.
On Friday (October 9), around 100 boys at at Collège Nouvelles Frontières in Gatineau, Quebec, wore skirts to school protesting against the double standard in their school’s sexist dress code.
Girls at the school are 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.
Two days before the protest, 16-year-old Zachary Paulin told around 30 people that he planned to wear a skirt to school on the Friday, but he never expected that so many of his classmates would take part.
He told CBC: “I knew that it was going to be a big movement, but not that big of a movement. I was pleasantly surprised.”
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.”
Paulin said that skirts were often used to discriminate against girls, with the “aggressors” excusing their actions “by sexualising women unnecessarily and blaming THEM for THEIR actions”.
He continued: “So, by wearing a skirt, we are united and together against the sexualization of women and we’re sending a message against toxic masculinity, that’s keeping boys from being who they truly are, without judgement.
“We’re in 2020, we should be open-minded: and all fight to end discrimination, homophobia and sexism. That’s what our skirts represent. Thank you.”
Paulin added to CBC that he hopes to soon meet with their school principal to discuss changes in the policy to make their learning environment more inclusive.
He added that while he found the experience of wearing a skirt liberating, “you can’t really bend and you’ve got to be cautious with your movements”.