No nipples, groins, or buttocks allowed
August 30, 2019 4:01 PM   Subscribe

The Toronto District School Board released their revised Student Dress Policy today. They have explicitly stated that “pasties” are underwear and thus not currently appropriate for the classroom.
posted by saucysault (60 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
 
Here in Cornwall they specifically rule out pasties as underwear.
posted by biffa at 4:06 PM on August 30, 2019 [70 favorites]


Who would wear an outfit made of delicious meat pies commonly associated with the upper peninsula of Michigan

oh those pasties
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 4:08 PM on August 30, 2019 [31 favorites]


I'm curious (I think) about the circumstance that led to that particular addition to their policy.
posted by Greg_Ace at 4:10 PM on August 30, 2019 [22 favorites]


Looking forward to smartass kids cheerfully wearing brightly colored pasties under thin white linen shirts. After all, they are underwear.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 4:12 PM on August 30, 2019 [13 favorites]


WE!
SHALL!
WE SHALL WEAR RED SOCKS!
posted by I'm always feeling, Blue at 4:16 PM on August 30, 2019 [5 favorites]


I like that it says male identifying people can play athletics w/o a shirt only if female identifying people are made the same offer.
posted by fiercekitten at 4:24 PM on August 30, 2019 [30 favorites]


"If nipples can’t be exposed does that mean that boys can’t play sports shirtless or go swimming without a top on?

The policy allows the school Principal to impose discretionary restrictions, such as restricting male identified students to go topless but only as part of their standard swim wear for that limited activity, and permits discretionary exceptions such as allowing males to play sports shirtless but only if offered fairly to any female identified students who would make the same request."
Gender equity*! Wooo!

Although I suspect in practice this will mean many Principals will choose not to allow students to play sports shirtless.


* Well, almost. Since it looks like female identified students don't have the same rules for swim wear?
posted by Secret Sparrow at 4:32 PM on August 30, 2019 [3 favorites]


I was on a school exchange trip in England back in the day and we were going to visit a prison and told that the girls had to wear skirts. “We can’t wear pants?” one of us asked. “My god, you HAVE to wear pants!” the teacher said, “you would go around without pants on in a prison?!” That’s how we learned that English people call those garments with legs “trousers” and save “pants” to refer to underwear.
posted by sallybrown at 4:39 PM on August 30, 2019 [35 favorites]


“you would go around without pants on in a prison?!”

One could make a compelling argument that any place that requires you to wear pants is, on some level, a kind of prison.
posted by dephlogisticated at 4:47 PM on August 30, 2019 [83 favorites]


Although I suspect in practice this will mean many Principals will choose not to allow students to play sports shirtless.

As a still-male, former-male-Ontario-high-school-student let me state that I had zero interest in playing sports topless. Effectively banning it is fine by me.
posted by GuyZero at 4:54 PM on August 30, 2019 [18 favorites]


Looking forward to smartass kids cheerfully wearing brightly colored pasties under thin white linen shirts. After all, they are underwear.

Yeah, they address that in the first line: "[All students m]ust wear a top and bottom layer of clothing of opaque material."
posted by Quackles at 4:57 PM on August 30, 2019 [5 favorites]


May not wear undergarments as outerwear.

That was my high school's dress code, as I recall: "no innerwear as outerwear." As far as I remember, that was the entire dress code.

The use of the term ‘gang colours’ implies a racist bias and is particularly inflammatory to certain communities who have experienced a history of racial profiling from police and security.

Yay! Good for the district for spelling it out.
posted by The corpse in the library at 5:06 PM on August 30, 2019 [19 favorites]


Not really, if you look at the part about uniforms, it's not about uniforms anymore, it's about banning gang colours.

any new uniform standard would be expected to comply with every other aspect of the section 6.2 dress code, including the full range of students dress choices, essentially only allowing school uniforms standard to only impose colour restrictions ( e.g. white tops, black bottoms).
posted by save alive nothing that breatheth at 5:32 PM on August 30, 2019 [1 favorite]


I think gang colours is a limited problem in the TDSB and that most TBSB schools don't have uniforms, but I don't have kids there anymore so maybe I'm off.
posted by GuyZero at 5:51 PM on August 30, 2019


There were a few places that were (I assume) edited so many times that they no longer parse (for me): "such as restricting ... to go topless", and so I can't quite tell what it's trying to say. But I think generally their hearts are in the right place here.
posted by fritley at 5:53 PM on August 30, 2019


delicious meat pies commonly associated with the upper peninsula of Michigan

Ireland, and the UK would like a word around any claimed ownership of said pies.
posted by inflatablekiwi at 6:08 PM on August 30, 2019 [15 favorites]


Ireland, and the UK would like a word around any claimed ownership of said pies.


Take it up with the descendants of your cousins who left Cornwall in search of new places to dig up for tin and copper.
posted by ocschwar at 6:36 PM on August 30, 2019 [11 favorites]


Looking forward to smartass kids cheerfully wearing brightly colored pasties under thin white linen shirts. After all, they are underwear.

I was hauled into the VP's office of my Catholic high school for a uniform violation -- I was wearing a white Batman t-shirt under my mandated uniform shirt. You could clearly see the Batman logo through the flimsy shirt fabric. I argued that I was wearing the uniform as required, and that it wasn't my fault that the things were cheaply made. Mandating what kind of underwear was outside of the policy, and an additional requirement they just made up.

The VP wasn't having it. He responded by asking 'What if a girl student wore a very sexy bra under her shirt? Would that be appropriate? Would you say the same thing then?'

I just sat there. Even in grade ten, 1988 or so, it was pretty clear that a VP shouldn't be directing his or anyone else's thoughts to high school girls' bras.

Anyway, I got detention. Welcome to Catholic school, where even when you obey all the rules, you can still get in shit if they feel like it.
posted by Capt. Renault at 6:43 PM on August 30, 2019 [24 favorites]


Welcome to Catholic school, where even when you obey all the rules, you can still get in shit if they feel like it.

Something something Catholicism something something guilt complex.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 6:49 PM on August 30, 2019 [8 favorites]


I am absolutely baffled by the ban on women's nipples. For goodness sake, it's likely the first damn thing your firstborn eyes saw and your brain said, "I want!" Male nipples are an embarrassment, I get that ("we could have been women, but sadly are not"). And everybody has them! It's like being embarrassed by eyes or noses. Mammals have issues.
posted by SPrintF at 7:09 PM on August 30, 2019 [8 favorites]


I am absolutely baffled by the ban on women's nipples. For goodness sake, it's likely the first damn thing your firstborn eyes saw and your brain said, "I want!"

For what it's worth, the problem isn't nipples per se; it is that we are socialized to consider it normal to keep women's nipples covered.

After traveling to New Delhi for a job, my doctor believed I had picked up a parasite. In order to tell, I was instructed to execute a bowl movement outside the normal, typical process of a grown man raised in North America, and let me tell you, convincing myself mentally that it was okay to do that and actually being able to do that was a lot more challenging in the moment than I would have ever expected. And yet, as a child, bowel movements were not a thing I had any thought to, and I (like any child) would have happily relieved myself all over the house. Socialization is a strong force.
posted by davejay at 8:21 PM on August 30, 2019 [10 favorites]


("we could have been women, but sadly are not")

What if I told you that you can?
posted by nikaspark at 8:56 PM on August 30, 2019 [33 favorites]


"Won’t allowing students to show more skin encourage promiscuity, distraction and possible sexual harassment?

The policy recognizes that dress plays a fundamental role in students’ lives and that students come from many diverse backgrounds, identities and experiences and ultimately their right to decide their dress resides with their family [...]

Policing students’ bodies is neither a positive, nor effective method to encourage respectful behaviours, ensure safety and discourage harassing behaviour. However, educating students about topics of diversity, healthy relationships, sexism and discrimination, boundaries and consent is a fundamental requirement of creating a safe and positive school climate and effective strategy to ensure healthy and shared respectful spaces for everyone."


Hell to the fuckin' YES
posted by DingoMutt at 9:04 PM on August 30, 2019 [15 favorites]


The dress code of my first school district banned red because it was a gang color. Coming from Communist China, that was really odd to me and my parents!

Also does anyone else read TDSB as TSDB, timeseries database?
posted by batter_my_heart at 9:04 PM on August 30, 2019 [6 favorites]


* Well, almost. Since it looks like female identified students don't have the same rules for swim wear?

Reading the text of the policy itself, I think they do.

As noted, swimwear falls under the category of Discretionary Restrictions. Here's what they say about those:
(a) Any restrictions to the way a student dresses must conform to the student dress code and will be necessary to support the overall educational goals and activities of the school (e.g., bathing suits/ swim wear are restricted for pool/ swimming activities.)

(b) Any discretionary exceptions to the student dress code must be authorized by the principal or delegate and must be consistent with the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the OHRC, and the Equity Policy (P037) (e.g., OHRC accommodation requests, sports equipment, Halloween costumes that obscure a face, etc.).
What else does it say about discretion?
(b) Staff will not use subjective discretion to vary the requirements in any ways that lead to discriminatory outcomes, differential treatment or reinforce and/ or increase marginalization or oppression.
The policy also provides a definition of differential treatment:
Differential Treatment refers to a type of discrimination where in an individual, because of one or more of the prohibited grounds under the OHRC, is treated differently and or excluded from consideration by seemingly standard policies or practices, resulting in substantive unequal treatment, distinction, exclusion or preference that imposes a burden upon, limits and or withholds equal access or benefits (e.g., Rules specifically targeting female identified bodies).
There's really no way to read this and conclude that a rule allowing the exposure of some nipples but not others for swimwear would be permitted.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 9:11 PM on August 30, 2019 [2 favorites]


Other notes on the policy: the words female and male appear only in the definitions and rationale sections - nowhere in the rules themselves. One of terms in the definitions (and used in the policy proper) is cisnormative, which is pretty great.

Here's a direct link to the policy itself.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 9:14 PM on August 30, 2019 [4 favorites]


What immediately struck my inner shit-disturber 15 year old was the headgear bit.

The first thought was an elaborate and massive first nations head dress, but no, cultural appropriation and all, but I am creative and could whip up a thing of similar size and impact... Maybe a Copacabana / Miss Universe type thing? In the spirit of Flea's old stuffed animal pants? There would need to be moving parts, maybe cuckoo clock type elements... all padded and fully safe, of course... feathers, lots of feathers...

Face fully exposed? Challenge accepted!
posted by Meatbomb at 9:43 PM on August 30, 2019 [3 favorites]


I looked up the current situation in Seattle, where I live, and found that we also have a new dress code going into effect this school year. Link to Seattle's policy.

It's very much in the same spirit, but as a policy it's not as good as Toronto's. It's deliberately gender neutral, but lacks as much detail. Toronto goes farther in calling out specific oppressions and standing against them, which is good. The examples and statements of purpose leave much less room for maneuvering and misinterpretation.
posted by vibratory manner of working at 10:46 PM on August 30, 2019 [2 favorites]


This seems so much better than what was in place when I was in school; hopefully this becomes the new normal.
posted by Dip Flash at 11:09 PM on August 30, 2019 [1 favorite]


In one of my university classes they gave us a lecture on "professional dress" for our field, and one of the slides stated that "females" should be sure to "cover all unnecessary body parts". I was careful to keep my appendix from showing, and my wisdom teeth had already all been extracted, so I'm pretty sure I was doing it right?
posted by DingoMutt at 11:14 PM on August 30, 2019 [30 favorites]


What immediately struck my inner shit-disturber 15 year old was the headgear bit.

We weren't allowed to wear hats in school. One day I noticed a tear in the seam connecting the sleeve of my flannel overshirt to the rest of the shirt. So I ripped the sleeve off and removed the other, leaving me with a smart flannel vest and two unmoored sleeves. So I and a classmate naturally put the sleeves on our heads, sparking a lively ontological discussion regarding the nature of sleeves and hats.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:57 PM on August 30, 2019 [11 favorites]


There's a part of this that is a deliciously relished culturally diverse gender-neutral giant middle finger outstretched to the Ford government of Ontario.
posted by seanmpuckett at 5:05 AM on August 31, 2019 [8 favorites]



Male nipples are an embarrassment, I get that ("we could have been women, but sadly are not").

posted by SPrintF

I beg to differ. The clitoris is not an embarrassment either. Our fetal selves had to do something with all those sensitive nerve endings, and I feel what they did is magnificent, like a good cook using leftover cream to make a sauce for the pudding, or a grandparent taking the material left over from making a child's sundress and making a matching dress for a doll. They are a manifestation of excellence turned into sublime.


Also: Curious. What is the Toronto District School Board policy on the exposure of nipples for the purpose of breastfeeding?
posted by Jane the Brown at 5:51 AM on August 31, 2019 [2 favorites]


What is the Toronto District School Board policy on the exposure of nipples for the purpose of breastfeeding?

Pretty sure whatever it is it must comply with this.
posted by dazed_one at 7:13 AM on August 31, 2019 [2 favorites]


It has been legal in Ontario for over two decades for both male-identified and female-identified people to be topless in public. Most public-use buildings have explicit “breast-feeding positive” signs as well (slowly morphing to the more inclusive “chest-feeding” nomenclature). Every five years or so the media reports that someone is told by a new mall security guard to cover their tits up and there is a bit of outrage. As a staff member in an Ontario elementary school 15 years ago I openly breastfed (no burka blankie) in front of staff and students. Toronto Board also would not stop a student breastfeeding as that is a violation of OHRC and the Charter and would reflect poorly on the school.
posted by saucysault at 7:56 AM on August 31, 2019 [7 favorites]


Little e's school dress policy (which I haaaaated) was revised to something gender neutral this year, and I mentally whooped and hollered. (We got to send her to her first day of second grade in a sleeveless shirt! Gasp! How scandalous!) The revision is still not quite as liberal as this one, though!
posted by eirias at 7:57 AM on August 31, 2019


It's not just Ontario though Gwen Jacob's case only went as high as the Ontario Supreme court. Discretionary male nipple exposure while not allowing female nipples (ignoring the CIS normative problems with that) will fail a constitutional challenge. It is well established that this sort of discrimination is unconstitutional.

I'm actually surprised how liberal the policy is. There are all sorts of outer wear that cover about as much as a bikini top without being swimwear.
posted by Mitheral at 8:02 AM on August 31, 2019 [1 favorite]


I actually learned the word "décolletage" from a particularly prudish and badly-mimeographed summer camp dress code.

So you know, upside of the downside, and all?
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 8:13 AM on August 31, 2019 [1 favorite]


I was just talking swimsuits with my wife and our friend. I'm non-binary, wife (f) and friend (m) are binary trans. We are a walking talking thought experiment re: nipples at pools.

Anyway, I googled and found my perfect swimsuit. (I'm amused that they include "lesbian" in the description, which, just...why)
posted by captain afab at 9:21 AM on August 31, 2019 [4 favorites]


I'm sorry who the fuck plays topless male sports in high school? Is this... a thing? I don't understand.
posted by symbioid at 9:48 AM on August 31, 2019


I'm sorry who the fuck plays topless male sports in high school? Is this... a thing? I don't understand.

When I was a kid we would divide up into teams but there weren't different uniforms, so one side would take off their shirts, or pull them over their necks so their chests were bare. Shirts vs Skins
posted by RustyBrooks at 10:04 AM on August 31, 2019 [4 favorites]


I see cross country runners from my local high schools running without shirts. I don’t think it’s odd — you get hot, you want to wear less (and I’m near Seattle, so sunburn isn’t usually an issue during the school year).
posted by The corpse in the library at 10:25 AM on August 31, 2019


Yep Shirts vs Skins was a popular way of demarcating teams during warm weather play when I was in elementary school.

Or heck just removing your shirt for comfort. Pretty common to see people playing frisbee/ beach colley ball/hacky sack or skateboarding without a shirt.

I still see it at the rec level even in co-ed play where women will be wearing sport bras without a shirt if on the "skins" team.
posted by Mitheral at 10:25 AM on August 31, 2019 [1 favorite]


Oh maybe it's becasue we had reversible uniforms one was blue and the others turned theirs inside out.
posted by symbioid at 10:47 AM on August 31, 2019


Ya, by the time I was in hgh school organised events had moved to having one team wearing pinnies.
posted by Mitheral at 10:55 AM on August 31, 2019 [2 favorites]


I have pectus excavatum, and I'm pretty sure my last gym teacher deliberately made me play skins to mess with my head.

I didn't get over the body shaming until well into my 30s.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 11:47 AM on August 31, 2019


I was delighted to see the dress code posters at my children's middle school, which apparently had been unchanged since the early nineties, demonstrated what you should never wear, and looked exactly like my two children in face, build and preferred clothing.
posted by davejay at 12:43 PM on August 31, 2019 [1 favorite]


Oh, and I went to the same high school my father attended (Lane Tech in Chicago) but when he attended, it was an all-boys school, and they made the boys do swim class completely naked.
posted by davejay at 12:45 PM on August 31, 2019


The boy's cross country team running shirtless was how I realized I wasn't straight.
posted by Arctic Circle at 1:28 PM on August 31, 2019 [4 favorites]


CaptainAFAB, that just looks like a tri-suit, if you want a wider range of choices/stockists. And no, no idea why they’re being tagged as lesbian, totally standard attire for triathletes of all genders and sexualities.
posted by tinkletown at 2:04 PM on August 31, 2019


slowly morphing to the more inclusive “chest-feeding” nomenclature

umm, can someone explain to me who this includes? someone who is feeding a child with a lactating mammary gland but does not refer to that organ as a breast?

“chest-feeding” sounds like you were lounging at the pool, had a mishap with your nachos between hand and mouth, and decided to recover the rogue toppings with another chip
posted by a halcyon day at 6:02 PM on August 31, 2019


Is it really necessary to list "May not wear undergarments as outerwear?" I understand the reasoning behind all the other bullet points, but who exactly is going to show up with a bra and panties as their winter clothes?
posted by Delia at 6:27 PM on August 31, 2019


A legal system for a diverse population can not, may not, must not be predicated on implicit notions of "noone in their right mind would do this." If it's not in the code, someone can do it, and if someone can do it, someone will do it.
posted by I-Write-Essays at 7:36 PM on August 31, 2019 [1 favorite]


they made the boys do swim class completely naked.

This was apparently the norm for male-only swimming at pools in the US until the 1960s. My Dad has told me about being invited by a classmate to go at the YMCA and being a bit bemused* to discover that everyone was nude.



* I’m unclear if his bemusement was because nude swimming wasn’t the norm in Canada and this happened while he was attending high school in California, or if it was the norm in Canada but he wasn’t familiar with gender segregated swimming pools.
posted by Secret Sparrow at 8:13 PM on August 31, 2019


Is it really necessary to list "May not wear undergarments as outerwear?"

Just wearing a bra (no other top) is an occasional thing. Remember every single prohibition and carve out in this policy will have been based on at least one actual event. These things are always reactive rather than proactive.

Why it should be policy doesn't make much sense considering the policy also allows bare midriffs and cleavage. But I guess they feel they have to draw some sort of line.
posted by Mitheral at 8:15 PM on August 31, 2019


who exactly is going to show up with a bra and panties as their winter clothes?

I mean kids go to school in the Fall and Spring too, not just Winter.

One of my high school classmates came to school in a clear plastic dress with a lacy black bra & panties set on underneath. It happens.
posted by Secret Sparrow at 8:20 PM on August 31, 2019


Chestfeeding explained.

I used to wear just a bra as a top to high school, as well as wearing dresses and tops made entirely of lace where my bra and panties were clearly visible, as well as wearing garter belts and seamed stockings with my very short kilt when I was in catholic school. This was in the late eighties - I was also a polite, white student with very high grades so I got away with a lot of stuff that other demographics did not.
posted by saucysault at 6:19 AM on September 1, 2019


In the 1980s, when I were a lass, it was not unusual to wear a slip as a skirt.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:07 AM on September 1, 2019


Some male US Senators were protective of their nude swimming as recently as 2009.
posted by The corpse in the library at 9:11 AM on September 1, 2019


I looked up the current situation in Seattle, where I live, and found that we also have a new dress code going into effect this school year. ...

It's very much in the same spirit, but as a policy it's not as good as Toronto's.


It may not be as good as Toronto's, but it's miles ahead of last year's policy. I've had to decide whether to dress my kid for the weather (in a spaghetti strap sundress) at a school with no AC and risk her getting sent home or have her wear shorts and a t-shirt and know that doesn't quite cut it past 85°F. I've overheard administrators telling girls that what they're wearing isn't appropriate for their body type and they're getting sent home. (I remember one of my friends got sent home to change once. She was bussed in and could not have missed fewer than three classes, if not the rest of the day, in complying.)

I am thrilled with the new policy and love that it explicitly tells people to manage their own distraction not blame it on someone else.
posted by Margalo Epps at 9:47 AM on September 1, 2019 [2 favorites]


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