The concern for overly exposed young bodies may be well-intentioned. With society fetishizing girls at younger and younger ages, girls are instructed to self-objectify and see themselves as sexual objects, something to be looked at. A laundry list of problems can come from obsessing over one’s appearance: eating disorders, depression, low self-worth. Who wouldn’t want to spare her daughter from these struggles?
But these dress codes fall short of being legitimately helpful. What we fail to consider when enforcing restrictions on skirt-length and the tightness of pants is the girls themselves—not just their clothes, but their thoughts, emotions, budding sexuality and self-image.
Instead, these restrictions are executed with distracted boys in mind, casting girls as inherent sexual threats needing to be tamed. Dress restrictions in schools contribute to the very problem they aim to solve: the objectification of young girls. When you tell a girl what to wear (or force her to cover up with an oversized T-shirt), you control her body. When you control a girl’s body—even if it is ostensibly for her “own good”—you take away her agency. You tell her that her body is not her own.
When you deem a girl’s dress “inappropriate,” you’re also telling her, “Because your body may distract boys, your body is inappropriate. Cover it up.” You recontextualize her body; she now exists through the male gaze."
Juvenile in Justice
Juvenile In Justice is a project to document the placement and treatment of American juveniles housed by law in facilities that treat, confine, punish, assist and, occasionally, harm them. Learn more about the project, and follow the blog, at www.juvenile-in-justice.com
Juvenile in Justice the book, with essays by Ira Glass of This American Life and Bart Lubow of Annie E. Casey Foundation, can be ordered here. For more information about the Juvenile-in-Justice exhibition, visit the exhibition page.
The work has been published on CBS News, Wired.com, NPR, PBS Newshour, ProPublica, and Harper’s Magazine, for which it was awarded the 2012 ASME Award for Best News and Documentary Photography. The project has been generously supported by grants from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, and the Center for Cultural Innovation.
1. I’ve been locked up for 21 months. I haven’t been sentenced yet. —D.P., age 16 Bridges Juvenile Center (Spofford), Bronx, New York, a secure detention facility built in 1957 with a maximum capacity of 75 kids, closed March 2011.
2. A 12-year-old juvenile in his windowless cell at Harrison County Juvenile Detention Center in Biloxi, Mississippi, operated by Mississippi Security Services, a private company. There is currently a lawsuit against MSS that forced it to reduce the center’s population. An 8:1 inmate to staff ratio must now be maintained.
3. I have been here about three weeks. I got picked up for VOP. Not much to do here. Mostly I write on the wall. I really don’t want to talk to you. —A.W., age 16 Harrison County Juvenile Detention Center, Biloxi, Mississippi.
4. A young girl at Maryvale, an all-girls level-12 institution in Rosemead, California.
5. I’m waiting for my mom to come get me. Is she in there? She’s at work today. I want to go home. I got in trouble at school today. —R.T., age 10 Jan Evans Juvenile Justice Center, Reno, Nevada. R.T. was brought in from school by a policeman. He stabbed a schoolmate, but it is unclear what the tool was, a pencil, knife, fork … He was waiting to be picked up by his mom, who couldn’t come get him until she got off work for fear of losing her job. He was checked on every five minutes. The director of the facility recalled an eight-year-old being brought in for taking a bagel and stated, “This is not the place for these offenses.”
6. I’ve been here for two weeks, and this is my third time in. I’m in the sixth grade. I was in placement but I ran away. They accused me of assault against my mom, but she scratched herself and said I did it. My dad lives in Atlanta and works in a barbershop. -E.Y., age 11 Juvenile Detention Center, Houston, Texas.
7. I went to day school next door to this place for eight months. When I went back to regular school I got in a fight in three days. A kid was calling my mom bad names. I punched him and left school and started beating up a car. Cops came for me and I wouldn’t put on my seat belt when they put me in their car. So that was another violation. I told them I didn’t want to come back here … but here I am. I’ve been here a week and have a week to go. I’m “sanctioned” for two weeks. —N.R., age 12 Douglas County Juvenile Detention, Lawrence, Kansas.
8. Southwest Idaho Juvenile Detention Center, Caldwell, Idaho.
9. B.P., age 18, is self-abusive, not taking his meds, combative, and won’t think twice about hurting staff. He is being held in the crisis intervention unit, on 24-hour supervision. He is wearing only his underwear. Half the staff is female, and thus they will supervise a male, although they don’t watch him shower or use the bathroom. His clothes are removed when he goes in the unit to prevent him from hanging himself. MacLaren Youth Correctional Facility, Woodburn, Oregon.
10. C.L has made a career out of being a juvenile system resident. He is 17 and has been in the system since he was 12. He sees no future for himself and claims the judge hates him and will never let him go home. He was in a psychiatric institution in Las Vegas. He thinks he will go from here to a group home rather than his own home. When he was in the psychiatric hospital, the staff let him do what he wanted as long as he didn’t bother them. He didn’t participate in any program for almost a year- now he refuses to be in any type of program. He tries to make deals with the counselors, ex. ”If I can call my mother, I will behave,” instead of conforming to the system in place, which rewards juveniles with calls home for participating in their program. C.L was part of an escape recently, he is a smart kid. He has daily talks with counselors. In the observation cell he is not permitted books, pens or pencils and is observed every five minutes. He claimed that his meal tasted like shit, so he shit on his tray. Nevada Youth Training Center, Elko, Nevada.
So can we talk about the absolutely stunning duplicity going on here?
ok, why the fuck is the graph upside down. that is incredibly misleading
Because its from the Florida Department of Justice, and they have a mandate here.
for those who have trouble inverting it in their head, ftfy:
this is some of the most blatant twisting of info i have ever seen holy shit
This is sickening.
Young women are having difficulty accessing tubal ligation, despite it being a relatively safe (death rate is 1-2 per 100,000) and elective surgery.
There is a waiting period of 30 days for women seeking tubal ligation, yet no waiting period for men seeking vasectomies.
Young women are often discriminated against when seeking sterilization. Many doctors ask offensive questions (“What if you met a billionaire who wanted to have kids with you?”), state categorically that their patients are too young to consider the surgery, and generally act as though, as one woman who tried unsuccessfully to be sterilized at the age of 21 in the U.K. put it, ”just because I was a woman, I’d reach a point where an urge to breed would overcome all rational thought.” (Perhaps unsurprisingly, that woman’s 25-year-old husband faced no such presumptions when he asked his doctor for a vasectomy. The procedure was quickly approved.)
Say that at 18 I slap down enough money so I could have my whole body covered head-to-toe in tattoos, piercings all over myself, a mountain of cigarettes, plastic surgery, and plan to have like 20 babies… but if I try at all to safely make it impossible for me to breed for the sake of my health suddenly its like WOAH THERE SLOW DOWN MISSY YOU’RE NOT READY FOR THIS KIND OF COMMITMENT YET
I have stage III Endometriosis, which means I have to get my uterus removed because I literally have terrible cramps ALL THE TIME and not just when I’m on my period. Now, I’ve always said I don’t want any children for personal reasons and I don’t need my uterus, really. I am not worried about that surgery and I don’t feel any kind of nostalgia over an organ I won’t ever use.
The thing is, my doctor is a ‘man’. This ‘man’ told me I had to get pregnant right now before it’s too late. I told him I didn’t want to get pregnant and explained the multiple reasons but what, do you ask, did my doctor have to say about this? 'Well, better have a kid now because just imagine how depressing it must be being a thirty-something woman without children and a husband?'
I was diagnosed a year ago. I should have gone through surgery six months ago and I still can’t find a doctor that will perform the surgery without trying to force me to have children first. Basically, if you’re a woman you don’t have a say in what can and cannot be done to your body without a shitload of people getting in the way AND I’M FUCKING SICK OF IT.
Women are getting non-consensually sterilized in prison but no doctors in my area while tie my tubes at 24 because I might regret it? Fuck you, doctors. I have more purpose in life than dropping babies. Some of those women in prison are probably great moms and I have no interest in parenting. Let us have a say!
A dear friend of mine wanted to have her tubes tied. She was about to give birth to twins and the doctors wouldn’t consent because she wasn’t 21 yet. She had already had children and they still refused to let her have the procedure.
My friend got a vasectomy a week after asking his doctor for one, no problem. He was 25.
Me? I’ve asked 4 different doctors for some kind of permanent sterilisation—tubal ligation or Essure or whatever—and I get a pat on the head and a “You’d regret it if you did.”
Oh, DIDN’T REALIZE YOU HAD A DIRECT LINE TO MY BRAIN.
On the flip side, as a vagina-having person who had her tubes tied at the age of 26 (after having 4 children, however):
MY HUSBAND HAD TO SIGN A CONSENT FORM IN ORDER FOR ME TO HAVE THE PROCEDURE DONE.
How many times have we heard stories about husbands having vasectomies behind their wives backs and never telling them, letting those wives wallow in guilt and misery, thinking it’s their fault that they can’t get pregnant?
And yet I had had to get my husband’s permission to have my tubes tied.
(Obviously this was a decision we’d talked about extensively beforehand, so it’s not like he was about to say no, but we both couldn’t believe the fucking audacity of the hospital, asking HIS permission for ME to do something with MY body. In fact, he said as much to the nurse that brought in the forms.)
I am 36. I’m single, I don’t have kids and I don’t want kids.
I also had horrendous, frequent periods. When I went to the gynaecologist, she recommended that we try a Mirena. I let her know that I’d had menorrhagia on a previous form of low-dose, oestrogen-only birth control (implanon), and that I was apprehensive that it wouldn’t work.
She said “Well, after that you’re out of options.”
I was incredibly upset. I was willing to try, but what if it didn’t work? Was I literally condemned to a life where I’m bleeding and in pain more often than not and I just have to put up with it?
I rang my parents. My Mum listened to me and said “That doesn’t sound right” and put my Dad (who’s a doctor, and a qualified obstetrician/gynaecologist) on the phone.
Apparently I was not out of options and she shouldn’t have said I was. The next option is a surgical D & C to see if that fixed it, and if that didn’t work, an ablation, which would have left me permanently infertile. If that didn’t work, a hysterectomy (although Dad warned me that I should do what I could to avoid the hysterectomy, it comes with a horde of other side effects.)
I don’t know whether it was fear, I don’t know whether it’s because I was a public patient. I don’t know what it was. But the gynae was so scared of female infertility that she wouldn’t even give me information about treatment options. I had to ask my father.
(FYI, the Mirena worked and I had a shouting row with the gynaecologist where I accused her of having her objectivity and medical judgement biased by the religion of her employers.)
I’m so lucky that my doctor is almost “pushing” sterilization on me. He’s super supportive and knows that I’m done having kids, but still don’t have anything permanent planned.
And on the other hand thousands of minority women are being sterilized without their consent all over the world. Its crazy how there are forces actively trying to take away the CHOICE of reproduction from so many women.
To Breed or Not to Breed
A new photo campaign initiated by the McGill Law Feminists at McGill University puts a face to the reality of the movement’s diversity in the 21st century, moving away from the old stereotype of the straight, white, cisgendered feminist. It is this diversity that embodies the spirit of a progressive feminism — one which is defined by the celebration of difference — and demonstrates the movement’s latest incarnation.
CEO:Avg worker pay
This is really personal to me. I went to the place where I was attacked (molested but not raped) for the first time today since it happened two years ago. I was questioning whether or not it was my fault and thinking about all of the people that pass by that place casually with no idea what happened, and I wrote this. I think it needed to be written. that is the wall I was held against. That is what I wrote today. That is my shadow. And I feel stronger now for writing that.
I’m just going to keep bringing this up I think it’s important
this is really important it needs more notes