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Student says Utah Girls State dress code banning pantsuits is 'sexist,' plans to fight it

Student says she plans to wear pant suit at Utah Girls State event despite dress code. (Photo: KUTV)

(KUTV) A Utah community activist is crying foul over an organization's decision to not allow girls to wear pantsuits at a statewide summer program for high school students.

Students who attend the 2017 American Legion's Boys and Girls State program are given a pack list and dress code. At a quick glance, the girl's pack list is much more detailed than the boys.

Chloe Collins, 17, a junior at Cottonwood High School says the dress code is sexist and plans to wear a pantsuit to the event, but will change if she is told to.

"They don't even give us autonomy over our own bodies and dress code," Collins. "I would like to be able to have the same opportunity as any male to feel empowered and feel like they're raising the next generation of political women."

Collins says wearing dresses requires the girls to pull their legs close to them and that forces them to make themselves smaller than the men in the room.

“I will abide by their dress code, but I will be fighting it,” Collins told 2News on Wednesday.

Sarah Scott, who is helping a student with the program noticed the dress code and was shocked to find pantsuits were not allowed.

"I just thought, how sexist. This is 2017."

The summer youth camp is meant to develop leadership and promote civic responsibility in young men and women.

The American Legion Auxiliary told 2News in an email that they are a private organization and will keep the current dress code. Details of the dress code are included on all registration forms, so if participants didn't not wish to comply they didn't need to apply.

"I can go up on Capitol Hill, and you see women galore in pants suits," Scott told 2News. "So what kind of message are we sending to young women that they have to adhere to standards that have been around for 70 years?"

The American Legion's Boys and Girls State program was created in 1935 to "combat the rise of radicalized youth groups in other countries."

Here is the pack list for both genders:

BOYS:

Your fully signed and dated registration forms should be submitted before arriving at boy's state. Please bring any forms related to scholarships.

Underwear, trousers, shoes and socks for a five-day stay. You will be provided two Utah Boys State t-shirts which you will wear throughout the week (except during daily sports). Note: sandals may be worn (preferably with socks), but flip-flops are not acceptable, except in dorm room restrooms/showers. Please also bring a jacket in case the weather turns cold during the week.

Dress pants, dress shirt, tie and dress shoes are required for graduation ceremonies. If you are an ROTC/NJROTC student, please bring your dress uniform as well as daily working uniform.

Towels and toilet articles necessary for a one-week stay. Bedding is provided, but you may wish to bring a blanket, again in case of cold weather.

Athletic clothing and swimming trunks so you can participate in organized sports (unless medical conditions preclude you from participating).

If you play the bugle/trumpet, please bring your horn for military honors.

Those who drive will be asked to turn in their car keys to their City Counselor for safekeeping. Participants will not be allowed to leave the campus for the week.

Some pocket money for snacks and drinks. Three meals are served each day.

GIRLS:

Dresses or skirts and blouses to wear every day. Modest dress please. No short dresses or skirts. Even if you are wearing leggings, your dress/skirts cannot be short. The sleeves of your shirt must be at least as wide as your hand. You must wear a shirt with sleeves under spaghetti straps. Your skirt must be no more than 1 inch above the knee. No belly shirts or pantsuits allowed. We are going to be wearing red on Friday to Remember Everyone Deployed (RED).

Jeans or capri pants for the Wednesday and Thursday evening activities.

A nice dress or semi-formal will be needed for the Friday night banquet and for graduation on Saturday. Many of the girls wear a formal/Prom dress to graduation.

Hangers

Comfortable shoes are strongly recommended! Flip flops can only be worn in the dorms and on Wed. and Thurs. evening activities.

Shorts, pants or pajamas to wear in the dorms only at night.

A Jacket or sweatshirt.

Extra towels You will be provided with 1 towel and 1 washrag and we will do a towel exchange on Wednesday

Extra blanket and pillow One will be provided for you, but they are thin.

Personal care items (shampoo, soap, make-up, deodorant, etc.).

Feminine items (even if you don't think you will need them!)

Spending money They have a snack shop and a book store. Regular meals will be provide each day.

Medications

Backpack or bag to carry items for the entire day. We leave early and do not return until late each day. You are not allowed to return to your dorm during the day.

Notebook, pencil, pen, and highlighter.

Snacks if wanted.

Alarm clock, Flashlight, Camera. You can use your phone or iPod, etc.

Water bottle

Stamps(2) to mail a graduation announcement. The bookstore can mail them.

Samsung Scholarship forms must be completed before Girls State.

Updated medical form-if anything has changed.

New pair of socks. (Donation) We are donating them to the VA Hospital for a service project. Men and women's socks are needed. But there are more men than women at the VA Hospital.

Picture of your Veteran.. (Can be family or friends, please do not bring originals!) This is will hang on our Wall of Hero’s for the week.

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