22-year-old Nicole Ciravolo runs a popular TikTok account under the handle @nicoleciravolo, and she’s recently gotten more attention for her funny treatment of a difficult topic. Sexist dress code violations!
Dress codes in schools are often overlooked as a serious subject because school eventually ends and people move on with life. They might remember being called out for what they were wearing in embarrassing ways, but it’s no longer a front and center issue. Unfortunately, that leaves a lot of young women being you hanging out to dry.
As Ciravolo’s TikToks point out, dress codes are generally used as a way to regulate the bodies of young women, teaching them that it’s their job not to “distract” the boys, rather than the boys job to behave appropriately in class (and life). She went to a private Christian school for 12 years and told Buzzfeed that it was a big issue.
“We had uniforms, yet girls were constantly being dress-coded for skirt length (or often in my case, not wearing a bra — even though that’s not in the dress code),” she said.
Her TikToks are often POVs from a character she created of a secretary who has no time for dress code violations and tells it like it is. It is sexist:
@nicoleciravolo##POV: you get sent to the principles office for dress code but the secretary does! not! f*ck! around!♬ original sound – nicoleciravolo
This wasn’t the case in her real school where she felt like normally nice people got nasty about girl’s bodies. She wanted this character to say and do what she wished the actual adults would have done.
“There’s nothing more disheartening than feeling sexualized by a male teacher and not having any female faculty defend you,” she said. “So I wanted to create a character — sort of the wish-fulfillment hero I needed in high school — to show people how those experiences could have happened if they actually had someone in their corner.”
@nicoleciravolopart two of… ##POV: you get sent to the principal’s office and realize the secretary does! not! f*ck! around!♬ original sound – nicoleciravolo
As Ciravolo said, the dress codes weirdly sexualize and police girls when they’re just trying to learn, and enforcement was often influenced by the body development of a teenager. That’s gross.
“It was ridiculous, especially considering it was often targeted at curvier girls like me whose bodies were inherently deemed more sexual,” she said.
Boys, on the other hand, got very different treatment: “They could show up to school completely out of uniform all day and not hear a word.”
Many young women or even older women who know how shameful it can feel to get called out for dress code violations have reached out to her.
“The responses have been amazing,” she told Buzzfeed. “Lots of people go out of their way to tell me they felt safe in this space and this character somewhat eased the damage dress code encounters had on them when they were in high school.”
@nicoleciravolo##POV part 3 — I think we’re gonna make this into a series!! 🥳 but… she needs a name! I’m thinking Linda but would luv to hear ur suggestions 🥰♬ original sound – nicoleciravolo
Maybe one day live in a world where no one has memories like this because this kind of abuse doesn’t happen.