By Abigail Marshall
On October 7th, 2020, Colin Renaud, a 15-year old boy who attends Villa Maria College in Montreal, wore a skirt to school in protest of sexist dress codes, toxic masculinity, and the rule requiring skirts to be a maximum of 10 centimetres above the knee.
“The movement has two objectives,” Renaud stated. “One is to fight against the hypersexualization of women’s bodies, to allow them to wear what they want, and break the codes of our society—to stop saying there’s a gender for everything, this is for boys and this is for girls”.
Renaud didn’t think that wearing a skirt would be a problem as his school has a dress code that allows students to wear skirts or pants as they choose. To his surprise, upon arriving at school, a monitor stopped him and asked if he was gay or transgender.
His small act of rebellion went a long way, having sparked protests all across Quebec. Sixteen-year old student, Zachary Paulin told about 30 of his friends about the protests. They all joined the movement the next day by wearing skirts to school.
Paulin says he was pleasantly surprised by the magnitude of the movement. “I expected it to be a big movement, but not that big of a movement,” he told CBC. This statement proved to be correct—at Collège Nouvelles Frontières, around 100 male students showed up to school wearing skirts.
Another high school student, Simon Lefebvre-Gagnon, added to this movement by saying, “I explained to the school that the message is about the pressure imposed on women, and sexual assault. These things have to change. It feels like a movement that speaks to our generation.”
The protests have gained a great deal of online support. The movement started small but has quickly grown to heights that no one initially expected. Protests are expected to last the entire month of October.