Eighteen-year-old Modern Family star Ariel Winter just issued a powerful statement to school districts with regard to their treatment of girl who they deem dress code offenders.
In an Instagram post, Winter took a snap of a sign calling out the relentless body shaming teen girls go through on a daily basis at schools across the country:
When you interrupt a girl's school day to force her to change clothes, or send her home because her shorts are too short or her bra straps are visible, you are telling her that making sure boys have a "distraction free" learning environment is more important than her education.
The post has thus far racked up nearly 42,000 "likes" but the comment section has only served to further highlight the culture of objectification bred in so many schools. "An easier solution: stop showing up like a slut, no teachers will complain again," wrote one user. "Let's just reverse thousands of years of the pubescent biology and mentality of males ... It's not a choice to be attracted to women it's in their genetics ... Get realistic here," wrote another.
Capping off the the hate-filled commentary was self-described actor Federico Felix Feltrinelli, who chose to use Winter's own Instagram as ammunition against her. "Oooh no please girl don't preach," he wrote. "I admire you but your cleavage and braless pics are the reason why you have so many followers. Face it, your body is a distraction for many of us, are you telling us that girls can't be objectified, when you are the first that objectifies her own body?"
Winter has been vocal in speaking out about about body-image calling out trolls like those above for objectifying her for her looks. "As women in the industry, we are totally over sexualized and treated like objects," she told Glamour in August 2015.
Later in November, Winter faced a firestorm of criticism for a photo she posted of her on a boat with two of her nieces. Her grave misdeed? Wearing a bikini, which had commenters suggesting that Winter, then 17 years old, was "[asking] for it."
Winter clapped back with a follow-up post, noting, "I typically never give power to the mean things people bravely say behind their computer screens on the internet, but this is for the girls who are constantly bullied." She added, "Celebrate you, and don't let anyone's comments allow you to think less of yourself."
Winter's inspiring resilience in the face of relentless online bullying only serves to further highlight the importance of women like her speaking out.
Narratives of women being policed on how they should dress are sadly not uncommon. Just last week, a high school student in Helena, Montana, was told to put on a bra because "someone in the building" was uncomfortable. "The fact that I was told it makes people uncomfortable offended me because it's my body," Kaitlyn Juvik said during a protest outside of the school.
That same week, a burlesque performer was booted from her flight because her shorts were deemed "inappropriate." That was just last week, however the weeks and months earlier prove this a persisting problem on the rise.
Thankfully, there are women like Winter and the women above who are speaking out to incite the necessary change. Now if only there were a way to permanently ban all trolls.