Many argued that initiatives like these perpetuated shaming children.
A UK school has been criticized for suggesting parents of girls as young as four to buy them ‘modesty shorts’ so that they can wear them under their skirts. Many teens tend to wear shorts under skirts to protect against 'upskirting'. According to The Independent, 'upskirting' is the act of taking a sexually intrusive photograph up someone’s skirt without their consent. Many argue that forcing girls to wear shorts under their skirts shift the focus from perpetrators to the victims. Some officials are now trying to enforce the rule on young girls to wear shorts underneath. Primary school headteachers have even warned parents against the dangers of 'inappropriate attention' from members of the public. Simon Bailey, chief constable of Norfolk and the National Police Chiefs' Council lead for child protection told The Sunday Times, "My view is that anything that can be done to ensure that young girls feel more secure has got to be good news, even modesty shorts, but the culture in schools has got to change at the same time."
This will not prevent boys sexually harassing the girls. Schools should know better than this and it’s disgraceful that they don’t.— Zoë Kirk-Robinson (@ZoeKirkRobinson) June 15, 2021
According to The Daily Mail, The Dell Primary School in Chepstow, Monmouthshire in Wales recommended that young girls wear shorts under their skirt. A headteacher of the school identified as Steve King said in a statement which was posted on Facebook, said: While we do not want to give children messages that they are responsible for the actions of others, we cannot stand by while children's actions may attract inappropriate attention from members of the public but did not act to protect them. Conservative MP Maria Miller, former chairwoman of the women and equalities committee said there were wider issues that need to be addressed in introducing the compulsory uniform change. She said, "It's our responsibility to keep children safe at schools and not put that responsibility onto them and what they wear." According to the Mirror, Ofsted chief Amanda Spielman warned against a culture of 'victim blaming' amid the reports of schools urging girls to wear 'modesty shorts'. Spielman said, "I think it's really important that we don't slide into a sort of national culture that is essentially victim blaming."
Yet again girls are made responsible for bad behaviour by boys. How about they deal with the issue rather than push the responsibility onto girls.— beachlover (@beachlo44643493) June 15, 2021
On Good Morning Britain, the debate continued. Headteacher Bryony Baynes argued that many girls were choosing to wear shorts under their skirts as their own right. "Our school has a chainlink fence by our field, with neighbours that overlook it," she explained. "Occasionally, we've had the neighbours contact me to say, 'We're just a little bit uncomfortable as the girls are doing handstands against the fence. We feel uncomfortable to be in the garden while that happens.' My girls tend to wear cycling shorts. They've chosen to wear these. They're not wearing them because anyone has told them, and they're not wearing them because they feel victimised."
Teach your boys about respect and consent. Do not force your girls to be responsible for harm done to them. https://t.co/k48Y7sSbfk— Katherine Denkinson 💙 (@KDenkWrites) June 15, 2021
Body-positive activist Natasha Devon mentioned that enforcing such rules on children would only perpetuate a culture of victim-shaming. "I can't see this call is coming from children," she said. "It seems to be coming from schools. "We need to ask ourselves, what exactly do we think we're protecting these children from? What's the worst that can happen if a four or five year old shows her pants while doing a cartwheel? "Is it that there are predatory adults around, in which case, the school are failing to keep their pupils safe, or is it because of boys and unwanted touching? Laughing? Pointing? Then it's a case of that school not teaching about consent. So I'm wondering why we're asking girls to modify their dress and behaviour to prevent a problem they didn't cause."
Delivered with conviction and authority 👊🏾❤️🙌🏾— Adrian Warwick (@AdrianWarwick) June 18, 2021
Users on Twitter were enraged that young girls feel the need to cover themselves because it "attracted" unwanted attention. lanajay tweeted: If I found out one of my sons was guilty of “upskirting” the last thing on my mind would be “the girls should have worn shorts”!Girls deserve to feel safe-teach the boys about inappropriate behaviour!Its not difficult,I’ve been doing it for 17 years! LZgrathpointed out other sexist rules carried out in schools, stating: Also middle school Girls aren’t allowed to wear tank tops on hot days, because boys can’t control themselves. Another bs trip put on girls.
Such BS, even if you were wearing shorts underneath, it's still upskirting, nothing is being prevented about the action itself.— anTifa Lockheart (@Jamesworkshop) June 16, 2021