Brittney Coelho arrived at her Harker, Tex. high school one morning, dressed in an outfit deemed appropriate by her school’s dress code. But during the day, an assistant principal pulled her aside to point out an issue with her wardrobe — the fact that Coelho wasn’t wearing a bra.
“It is not a requirement in the dress code at my school for me to wear a bra,” the student tweeted. “Stop blaming girls’s outfits for boys not being raised right to respect women.”
She then posted a photo of herself in the shirt she wore to school, without a bra, alongside a screen shot of Harker Heights High School’s dress code. The high-necked top seemed to cover up everything that the guidelines restricted, leading the student to conclude that the bra request was rather sexist.
The 17-year-old recalled the conversation with the administrator, a female assistant principal, for Yahoo Lifestyle, saying that she had asked Coelho if she was wearing a bra under her shirt, to which she responded “no.” The conversation took an even more uncomfortable turn when the administrator began to allegedly explain why that wasn’t appropriate — from pointing out that it would become more noticeable to others if Coelho was cold to telling her that she should cover up “so guys don’t stare.”
The administrator did not immediately respond to Yahoo Lifestyle’s request for comment.
After the confrontation, Coelho says she immediately covered up with her boyfriend’s jacket, then headed home during lunch to put on a bra.
“I was uncomfortable and I felt embarrassed and I felt like it was sexism, because it was about guys,” Coelho says. “My dad asked my why I needed to get a bra, and he agreed with my assistant principal… I said it was sexist.”
The student — who says she almost never wears a bra to school — says that the issue was never brought to her attention before, and, she reiterates, is not one that’s reflected in the school’s dress code.
“I wasn’t breaking any dress code and I was barely showing any skin at all,” she says. “The school hasn’t mentioned anything about wearing bras, and no one has told me since then to put one on.”
This incident would certainly not be the first time that a teenage girl has fallen victim to sexist ideas about dress codes. Through a number of recent similar situation, young girls have been told to cover their arms and their bra straps in order to keep boys in their classes from being distracted.
As for Coelho, she says that the bottom line is that “it’s wrong for me to be told to put on a bra or jacket because guys don’t need to stare.”
Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle:
• Teen’s tweet about sexist yearbook dress codes goes viral
• This high school is handing out ‘modesty ponchos’ to cover up prom dresses deemed inappropriate
• Teens protest school dress code for the right to go braless