Students of a Canadian high school set an important signal: In protest against a sexist school dress code, toxic masculinity and homophobia, they showed a lot of courage and even more leg.

Bullying at schools is a big problem. Gender roles defined by society and toxic masculinity can make school a nightmare for many queer children. This is not the only significant aspect of the Canadian students’ action – they also stood up against sexism and for gender equality. A real all-round blow!



Short trousers yes, short skirts no


Female students at the Collège Nouvelles Frontières in Gatineau, Quebec in Canada are not allowed to wear skirts that finish more than 10 cm above the knee according to school regulations. That there is no similar regulation for boys’ shorts – is for Zachary Paulin and his classmates – in casual words – sexist crap.

The 16-year-old Paulin had an idea: In protest against the conservative rule and for the freedom of every human being to wear whatever he or she wanted without sexist gender coercion, he wanted to put on a skirt. He told around 30 people about the idea – but he never thought it would take on as it did, as he told the Canadian broadcasting company CBC.

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

‘Real men’ do not wear skirts?

“It’s 2020, let’s be open-minded and fight to end discrimination, homophobia and sexism. This is what our skirts stand for.”

On Instagram, the committed 16-year-old explained his thoughts behind the action. It was a sign of resilience, solidarity and support in the intersectional struggle for gender equality. The double standards in society – blatant for the student! After all, it is not a big deal for a woman to wear clothes associated with masculinity. But the other way round …

“But the moment a man does something even remotely feminine, be it nail polish, make-up or in our case wearing a skirt, fingers are pointed and he gets insulted. People claim that he is not a ‘real man’ and automatically assume his sexuality.”


Only has the middle finger for sexism and homophobia: Zachary Paulin


Furthermore, according to Paulin, skirts and sexy clothing are often used to discriminate against girls and women, to sexualise them and to make them at least partly responsible for sexual harassment.

“So by wearing a skirt, we are united and also united against the sexualisation of women, and we are sending a message against poisonous masculinity, which prevents boys from being what they really are without judging”.

But Paulin did not only want to reach the heads and hearts of his classmates with this action. Paulin told CBC that he hopes to be able to sit down with his headmaster soon to discuss changes that will make the learning environment more inclusive for all.

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  • schule1: By: Instagram / _zachpaulin_
  • schule3: By: Instagram / _zachpaulin_
  • schule2: By: Instagram / _zachpaulin_

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