100 male students make a stand against sexism and homophobia by wearing skirts to school

Male students from Quebec, Canada wear skirts to school to fight oppression against homophobia and sexism, standing in solidarity with classmates.

a group of male students wearing skirts pose for a photo
Image: @_zachpaulin_

Schools in Quebec are seeing a revolution from male students, as they show support to their queer and female classmates by standing in solidarity in skirts.

100 boys from Gatineau, Quebec showed up to school wearing uniform skirts instead of trousers to break the idea of gender norm school uniforms. The idea of standing in solidarity in skirts began with student Zach Paulin.

Paulin was inspired by a group of students from Montreal who protested against the double standards of dress code between male and female students. The students from Montreal specifically were standing against the skirt length requirement for girls, while there is no short length requirement for boys, calling the dress code “sexist” and “unfair”.

From the Montreal students, Paulin saw the chance to raise awareness about the stifling oppression in a dress code which only serves the binary concepts of gender and sexuality. Paulin originally only told about 30 or so friends but was pleasantly surprised by the amount of positive support he received and the 100 students that showed up to school in a skirt to protest.

View this post on Instagram

⬇️English version in comments⬇️ Voici le texte original que j’ai lu à l’interphone aujourd’hui: « Bonjour à tous et à toutes, Aujourd’hui, certains d’entre vous ont probablement remarqué que des garçons, comme moi, portaient la jupe. Eh bien, laissez moi vous parler du pourquoi de ce geste. En gros, le fait qu’un garçon porte la jupe est un signe de résilience, de solidarité et de support à la bataille intersectionelle d’égalité des sexes. Le double standart sur la façon dont laquelle une femme et un homme devraient se présenter aux yeux de la société est flagrant; si une femme porte un complet et des pantalons, vêtements associés à la masculinité, on n’y pense pas plus que ça. Mais à cause de la masculinité toxique, le moment qu’un garçon va faire quoique ce soit de féminin, que se soit se mettre du vernis à ongle, du maquillage, ou dans notre cas, une jupe, il se fait pointer du doigt et bombarder d’insultes. On va dire qu’il n’est pas un vrai homme et on va immédiatement assumer son orientation sexuelle. Aussi, la jupe représente parfois un moyen pour certains établissements scolaires d’abuser du code vestimentaire inconsciemment. Les agresseurs, tant qu’à eux, vont excuser leur geste en sexualisant les femmes inutilement et grossièrement. Donc, en portant la jupe, nous sommes solidaires aux femmes de la société qui se font constamment sexualiser et à qui ont dit de cacher le corps, et nous lançons un message contre la masculinité toxique qui empêche les garçons d’être ce qu’ils sont vraiment sans jugement. On est en 2020, et nous à NF, on est ouvert sur le monde; c’est-à-dire qu’on n’accepte pas ça la discrimination, l’homophobie et le sexisme. C’est ce que représente notre jupe. Merci. » #jupepourtous

A post shared by Zachary Paulin (@_zachpaulin_) on

Paulin shared photos of the protest on Instagram, saying: “the fact that a boy wears the skirt is a sign of resilience, solidarity and support for the intersectional battle for gender equality. The double standard of how a woman and a man should present themselves in the eyes of society is glaring; if a woman wears a suit and pants, clothes associated with masculinity, you don’t think about it more than that. But because of toxic masculinity, the moment a boy is going to do anything feminine, be it nail polish, makeup, or in our case, a skirt, he gets fingers pointed and bombarded with insults. We’re going to say he’s not a real man and we’re going to immediately assume his sexual orientation.”

Besides standing in solidarity with queer and non-binary students, Paulin also stood for women who are sexualised from a young age and are constantly told how to dress. “…perpetrators will excuse their act by sexualising women unnecessarily and crudely. So, by wearing the skirt, we stand in solidarity with the women in society who are constantly being sexualised and told to hide their body, and we send out a message against the toxic masculinity that prevents boys from being who they are”, Paulin continued.

Other schools in Quebec are taking part in this revolution. In Longueuil, Quebec, Chloe Verret was proud to see 50 male students show up to school in skirts, supporting their female and queer classmates.

Verret said when she saw all of the boys wearing skirts, it brought tears to her eyes, speaking to CBC: “They were smiling all day, they were saying how comfortable they were and we’re telling everyone to wear them, too.”

Verret’s school responded after this demonstration, supporting the movement and allowing any student to wear a skirt regardless of gender. More schools in the Quebec region are discussing the idea of changing dress code restrictions to suit all students.

Until these school guidelines are changed, the male student population of Quebec schools will continue to stand in solidarity in skirts.

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