‘Am I distracting?’: California teens stage walkout to protest school's 'sexist' dress code
A California teen is now taking matters into her own hands after her school decided to hold an assembly to make dress code rules clear. Evita Frick-Hisaw, 16, helped stage a walkout over her high school's 'sexist' dress code.
Frick-Hisaw, who is known as @baggyjeanmom on TikTok, went viral after documenting the protest on the social media app. On June 3, 2021, she shared footage of her classmates wearing crop tops in objection to a dress code assembly that was allegedly supposed to be held that day.
"In protest of the dress code assembly regarding 'too much mid-drift', we are all wearing crop tops. We suggest you do too! Boys, support your friends and crop your tops," a flyer about the walkout that she shared on her Instagram Stories reportedly read.
In the viral TikTok video, which has been viewed more than 2.9 million times and received thousands of comments, Frick-Hisaw is seen wearing a baggy T-shirt before changing into a cropped top to join the protest. Some other students who joined in on the protest also wrote things on themselves things such as "Distraction," "It's not my fault," and "Am I distracting?" across their midriffs. Students also called out administrators for implying that their bodies are a distraction.
"Teach boys to focus, not girls to cover up," read one sign. Another read, "If children's midriffs distract you, you should not be working with children."
Although she admits that some of the students who joined in the protest got "kicked out" that day, she adds at the end of the clip that the protest has led to the school having "a real talk to change the dress code".
"They can hold an assembly to tell girls how to dress but they can't have an assembly to educate boys on how they should respect other ppls bodies," one person wrote in the comments. "I mean in University we don't have a dress code and everything is fine and no one is distracted so idk where they get that from," another user pointed out.
"You have inspired me to make a move in my school," another wrote. "I'm organizing a protest now. I am proud of you!!!"
But the protests had critics too. "These little kids are gonna have a really hard time getting a job in the future if they can't understand the basics of dress code," one wrote.
Frick-Hisaw took to TikTok to address the comment in a follow-up video. Explaining their reasons for the protest, she said, "I want to start this video off by saying thank you for all the support we've been getting on our last video, but with all the support, it also comes with a lot of hate comments like this."
"So the reason why we did all this is because we were going to have an assembly on dress code," she continued. "We felt the dress code was sexist towards women and also perpetuating rape culture and that made us very uncomfortable. We all just want some freedom of expression and freedom to express our confidence - whether that's in a baggy T-shirt or in a tiny little tank top."
"We as students feel like what we wear is not distracting towards others or affecting anyone's learning environment." Frick-Hisaw also said that at the end of the day, she spoke to her favorite teacher about the protest. And although he said he thinks they "could have had a better approach to it," he is with the students. She added that he "understands" them, and she agrees with him.
"We know we are going to have a dress code when we get older and possibly have uniforms with whatever job that comes, but right now we are in school, and we are in a learning environment," she stressed. "We should not have to be kicked out of class just because we are wearing a crop top...I shouldn't be the only one speaking on this topic and that's why we are having this meeting."