Teen boy wears crop top to make a point about sexist school dress codes

Phil Rodriguez and the outfit he used to challenge sexist dress codes at his high school. (Photo: Twitter/@philemonimon)
Phil Rodriguez and the outfit he used to challenge sexist dress codes at his high school. (Photo: Twitter/@philemonimon)

With all the talk about school dress codes being sexist, one young man wanted to test the theory for himself. Phil Rodriguez, a senior at Hueneme High in California, did just that by going to school in an off-the-shoulder crop top — an article of clothing that’s prohibited at his school because it shows shoulders and stomach.

He tweeted photos of his outfit, the white shirt not even beginning to cover his belly, collarbone, or shoulder; his underwear also stuck out from the waist of his jeans.

“Told y’all I would do it, catch me tomorrow wearing this to see if I get dress coded,” he wrote two weeks ago.

By the time third period rolled around, he reported, all he got were little warnings, “but nothing serious.”

He updated his followers during sixth period as well. “UPDATE: I’m in 6th period water polo and I have not gotten dress coded. The day is practically over now. I think we all have our answer.”

“What made me want to do this was the fact that women in my school get dress-coded so often for showing a little shoulder or some stomach area — I feel that they are sexualizing women’s bodies,” Phil, 17, tells Yahoo Style. “In the school’s defense, they say it’s ‘distracting’ and we students can’t learn because of the way these women dress. [But] I’ve never been asked if how women dressed affected my education.”

Most of the feedback he got on his outfit was in fact positive.

“Most of the women encouraged me to keep it going, and they admired that I would ever do such a thing,” he says. “I walked in front of administration and nothing happened. I am a very talkative person, I make great connections with staff, so I didn’t hide myself from them. I talked with a lot of them to see if I would get dress-coded, and I feel they took my outfit as a joke.” But to Phil, who admits he did look a little silly, the point of doing this was anything but.

“I felt like something needed to be done, and the majority wanted me to keep it going. So I went the whole day wearing it. I did not get dress-coded,” he says.

Phil isn’t the only young man joining the fight against sexist dress codes. When many female students from San Benito High School were punished for wearing off-the-shoulder shirts, their male classmates decided to protest the enforcement of the rule by wearing exactly that.

Phil is not giving up either. “I might do it again,” he says. “I don’t think my full message has gone through. And I might get some more guys to do it with me. They would love to do it.”

It’s always encouraging to see teen guys supporting their female classmates.