American teen Kaitlyn Juvik studies at Helena High School located in Helena, Montana. She got the shock of her life in May this year when she was called into the vice principal’s office for not wearing a bra.
As per her, she had not worn any bra for the whole year and it’s her personal choice whether to sport one or not. After this incident, many of her schoolmates quickly stepped up to offer the Montana teen their support, including many boys who sported bras on over their shirts. Presenting you the story of ‘braless warriors.’
Days after this incident of violation of the school’s dress code, Kaitlyn, 18, a senior who recently graduated from the school, became an Internet sensation, with a new nickname: “Kaitlyn the Braless Warrior.”
A Facebook page with the name “No Bra, No Problem” has also come up with more than 35K likes whose description reads as “The movement for gender equality, women’s rights, and being comfortable. Against discrimination in schools, we focus on the right for girls to go braless.”
The teens have set an example for other young women around the world who live in a society of body shaming to stand up for their rights.
Kaitlyn tells People, “Boys always get the excuse about their hormones, that ‘boys will be boys, but instead, perhaps people should start teaching boys not to sexualize women’s bodies. Wearing a bra is a personal choice. It’s my body. Why is it anybody else’s business whether I’m wearing a bra, especially when I’m covered up and dressed appropriately?”
Kaitlyn, who says brassieres were too restrictive and uncomfortable and decided to braless for more than a year, was shocked and embarrassed when she was told to step into principal Steve Thennis’s office one week before graduating.
“I was told that a male teacher had complained he was uncomfortable because I wasn’t wearing a bra, and I was told to find something to cover up with,” says the teen, who was wearing nipple stickers beneath a dark and loose off-the-shoulder T-shirt.
“When I left the office, I was so upset that I posted a picture of what I was wearing on Facebook, telling everyone, ‘If any of you are curious, this is the shirt I was wearing when I was called out.’ I most definitely wasn’t wearing anything against the dress code,” she tells People.
Nowhere in Helena High School’s handbook, there is a specific mention that female students have to wear bras, but the school’s principal Steve Thennis says that regardless of the rules, Kaitlyn has ‘created a manufactured crisis.’
Steves says, “I’m done talking about it other than to say this wasn’t the mass protest that everybody has made it out to be,” he tells KTVH News. “Kaitlyn can continue to tell her side of the story, but I’ve spent enough time on this.”
Thennis also told Montana’s KTVH News, “I’m not going to check students’ undergarments. We are going to ask them to dress appropriately and if we feel it is inappropriate, male or female, we are going to ask them to cover up.”
Kaitlyn’s mother, Tami Juvik, 42, who runs a nail salon in Helena, says that her daughter was already covered up when she was ‘singled out’ by administrators.
“She and several of her friends had gone braless all year and they always make sure they’re appropriately dressed,” she tells People. “The school has bigger fish to fry than whether my daughter is wearing a bra. I’m proud of Kaitlyn for standing up for herself and opening the door to start a discussion about the body-shaming and sexualizing of women.”
Brooke Lanier, 18, one of Kaitlyn’s classmates, created the Facebook group “No Bra, No Problem,” to support her friend, and about 300 female Helena High students went braless to school on May 27 in protest, joined by several male students who wore bras.
Brooke tells People, “The problem here should not have been Kaitlyn’s attire, but the morality of the male teacher, as generations have progressed and women can now wear pants, I hope our movement will help our generation progress to equal treatment of male and female breasts and further gender equality in general.”
Samuel Tinsley tells People, 17, says he was compelled to join Kaitlyn’s crusade “because every male who is for equality and fighting for what is right should step out of the shadows, I thought that the administration falsely dress-coding her and telling her to cover up was an inappropriate and immature request,” he says, “because the outfit was no problem. When I heard they were trying to impose on Kaitlyn’s self-expression, it really irritated me. By making her change or go home to put on appropriate clothing, they’re basically saying that a boy’s education is more important than hers.”
Kaitlyn who has graduated from high school plans to attend cosmetology school in Spokane, Washington, and continue to speak out as the Braless Warrior.”
In the end, Kaitlyn tells, “I feel suffocated wearing a bra, so anybody who has a problem with that should just look the other way and get over it.”