When the administrator of his daughter’s university let slip the real reason why they had singled her out, he had to ask her to repeat herself. After a few seconds of listening to them talk about his 18-year-old daughter, he decided that enough was enough.
He rolled up his sleeves, took a deep breath, and then he let them have it.
Tony Alarcon wasn’t a man to take things lying down. As a successful investment banker and real estate mogul, he was used to getting his way. The things his daughter’s university was saying about her were completely unacceptable.
And when he saw her the distress on her face, he knew he had to use all his resources to make things right.
Tony’s daughter, Demetra, was mortified that she had been singled out that day. Although her situation was by no means unique, it didn’t make it any less embarrassing for the teenager.
When she’d picked out the outfit that had gotten her kicked out of university, she hadn’t seen anything wrong with it. So, what was all the fuss about?
The Outfit That Caused So Much Trouble
Although universities differ in their dress code policies and are generally more relaxed than middle school, all Demetra’s university asked was that what the students wore to class was modest.
But when Demetra picked out that cute little outfit one sweltering Californian morning, she never expected her clothes to cause such a stir – and result in a clash of epic proportions between the university and her own father.
Demetra’s outfit had become a hot-button topic overnight, and soon she was caught up in a whirlwind of media and public outcry. But why? After all, Demetra’s choice of clothing was no different from other girls her age. And on such a hot day, who could blame her?
Aside from all the attention, there was another outcome over her outfit that she never saw coming. And it was even worse.
The university in question is located in Los Gatos, California. On this particular day, it was 90 degrees and rising. Demetra chose the blue romper purely for comfort. Even so, there was just something about this outfit that would make everyone lose their minds.
In the first period, the lecturer called her out in front of everyone. Then, the principal made the mistake of calling her father.
The dean gave Tony two options. One, he could come and fetch Demetra immediately, or two, he could bring her a change of clothes. Tony simply couldn’t believe what he was hearing.
He hadn’t noticed anything out of the ordinary or untoward with Demetra’s outfit today – and he would know. He was the one who had dropped her off that morning!
Seething, Tony decided to bring Demetra a change of clothes. He rifled through her drawers until he came across something that he thought was appropriate – a plain tank top and a pair of denim shorts.
He drove to the university and found his daughter waiting at the gate with tear stains on her face. But the university wasn’t done singling Demetra out just yet. Tony’s battle had only just begun.
What Was The Problem?
After Demetra had changed out of the offending outfit and into something else, the dean again said that her clothes were inappropriate. Now, Tony was furious. He asked the university’s administrator exactly what the problem was.
He even made Demetra bend over to demonstrate that her shorts were covering her adequately. He wouldn’t be satisfied until they told him the truth.
Standing Up For His Daughter
Not satisfied with the university administrator’s answer, Tony insisted that they tell him the real reason why his daughter was being singled out. He had a suspicion, but in this day and age, he didn’t think that it couldn’t possibly be true.
Even though he had prepared for this, he was still furious when they came right out and said it.
The university administrator then went on to explain that the dress code violation had nothing to do with modesty and everything to do with length. She stammered that the romper Demetra had worn and the denims that Tony had picked out didn’t pass the “fingertip test.”
But Tony knew that wasn’t the real reason.
Tony argued that the other girls in Demetra’s class were wearing similar outfits — he saw them for himself as he pulled into the parking lot. Why weren’t they being pulled from class for wearing shorts and tank tops?
And just what was the “fingertip test” anyway? Tony was becoming angrier by the minute.
The administrator explained that the “fingertip test” is the standard that the pupils of the university had to adhere to. Tony asked Demetra to relax and let her arms fall to her sides so that he could see for himself. But the shorts’ hem fell just below her extended fingertips. Seeing that the furious father wasn’t going to accept this explanation, she quickly came up with another one.
But when he heard it, Tony saw red.
Just exactly what was the university administrator insinuating about his daughter? He couldn’t believe what he was hearing. He asked her to repeat herself so that he could process what she’d just said before flying off the handle.
Of course, he thought cynically. Of course, the real reason had to do with the boys in Demetra’s class.
The administrator regretted the words that came out of her mouth instantly. Ha! Tony thought. Now he knew the real reason why the university had such a problem with the way his daughter dressed. And he wasn’t going to take it lightly. The reason for his daughter’s tears wasn’t that the university had a certain image to adhere to, or that she was dressed immodestly.
It was because she could be a distraction to the boys in her class.
Cover Up, Or Get Out
Then, the administrator said that the only way Demetra would be allowed to attend her classes was if Tony fetched her some leggings to cover herself up with. In the 90-degree heat! Demetra and her father couldn’t believe the unfairness of it all.
Demetra felt like she was being picked on, and her father agreed with her. This university was about to get schooled.
Demetra quickly pointed out that the university dress code was never enforced on the boys in her class. She used wearing hats in class as an example. The university forbade wearing hats in class, yet the boys broke this rule all the time.
Even worse, they were never singled out in front of everyone and their parents called! Then, her dad decided to weigh in.
Not The Only Offender
Keeping his anger at bay, he pointed out that he’d noticed other students while he was in the parking lot who were definitely not following the rules. He said that the girls, and his daughter, in particular, were being watched far more than the boys.
How could this be fair? Then, he raised another important point.
On a day this hot, how could the girls wear leggings? He argued that the university dress code clearly didn’t allow for hot weather. Tony felt that some leniency should be given to students when temperatures are that high. Wearing shorter, lighter clothing is a simple issue of being comfortable in the heat. The fact that his daughter couldn’t be comfortable due to distracted boys was unacceptable to him.
And he wasn’t about to simply let it go.
Tony decided to get Demetra’s friends to voice their opinions on the matter, and they didn’t disappoint. Almost every girl he asked felt like the dress code rules were unfair and that the system was flawed.
These girls were being made to feel uncomfortable in the summer, all because the boys couldn’t control themselves? Tony refused to accept it.
Taking It To The Media
The angry dad took to the media with his daughter’s dilemma, appearing on Today and a few other local news reports. He voiced his concerns, but his biggest was how the university had made her feel that day. He stated his daughter had only wanted to be comfortable, nothing more.
His daughter had been mortified when she had been pulled from class because of what she wore. But would Tony win the fight?
Fighting The System
When asked what the solution to the university’s outdated dress code would be, he proposed that it wasn’t up to the teachers to decide what they did and didn’t feel was appropriate. He said that the decision should lie solely with the students’ parents.
With his opinion gaining traction, Tony decided to go public.
A Bigger Issue
He proposed reasonable amendments to the university’s dress code, stating that “underwear and midriffs could not be visible” and that there should be “no shirts with spaghetti straps.”
But what he didn’t know was that he was just scratching at the surface of a much bigger issue in society. And not everyone agreed with Tony’s stance.
While most people were supportive of Tony, saying that he was uncovering the issue of body image and the objectification of girls, some said that if teenagers were allowed to wear what they wanted the education system would fall into chaos.
One dad had caused such a stir that soon everyone was talking about the hot-button topic.
It wasn’t long before the university decided to respond to Tony’s accusations. They stated that the dress code was in place in order to establish guidelines for “reasonable decorum.” Tony, not backing down, was adamant that the university had completely overreacted to his daughter’s clothes. Principal Fraser finally decided to hold a meeting and conceded that some compromises needed to be made.
What those changes will be, only time will tell.