Stop Telling Women What To Wear

WHY? Why can’t women just wear what they want to wear? Whether we’re at work, school, or just out and about minding our own business, what we wear is constantly being critiqued, policed, or shamed.  

Remember when Serena Williams wore this black catsuit? And then the French Tennis Federation banned it for being “disrespectful to the game”? RI-DIC-U-LOUS.  

Serena Williams

So, it’s not a surprise that during the Olympics this nonsense has continued. These official and unofficial uniform traditions have nothing to do with athletic performance! Norway’s women’s beach handball team got fined $1,760 for wearing shorts instead of the required bikini bottoms! 

Then there was the ban on swim caps designed for Black hair called Soul Cap. The International Swimming Federation even said that Soul Cap does not follow “the natural form of the head.” Let’s be clear, these swim caps are made of the same material as other swim caps, but they’re bigger to accommodate Black hair.  

All these instances unearth questions of who and what are considered “normal” as opposed not normal. We’re seeing athletes being unfairly punished for not fitting into these “normal” (read: white) standards that are anti-Black and objectify women’s hairstyles and bodies. And the standards aren’t just at the Olympics. Black women and girls are more likely to be suspended from school or sent home from work due to a dress code violation. 

Thankfully, the Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair (CROWN) Act, introduced in 2019, is committed to protecting Black women’s hairstyles in schools and the workplace. The CROWN Act outlaws any type of hair discrimination targeting locs, braids, headwraps, and lots of other styles deemed “unprofessional.”  

This is nothing new. Dress codes that exist in our schools and workplaces are meant to instill fear and shame around our bodies. These policies and unspoken rules tell us that “bare shoulders are unprofessional,” “wearing shorts and skirts are too distracting,” “white colleagues can wear certain outfits that are too scandalous for Black colleagues.” We’re over it. 

Women are constantly being sexualized. Either we’re not covering up enough or covering up too much. So, it’s great to see the German women’s gymnastics team compete in unitards rather than the traditional bikini-cut leotards.  

If men can wear these fits in gymnastics:  

Team USA male gymnast

Then women can wear whatever they want, including this:  

picture of German gymnast

Let women wear whatever they want!