On May 25th, 2016, more than 750 students at Brooklyn Technical High School intentionally broke the dress code in protest of antiquated dress code regulations and unfair enforcement that perpetuates sexism, racism, and rape culture.
Though the protest was intended to promote freedom of speech and freedom of expression, this documentary was censored by the school — violating the producer’s First Amendment rights. The irony is that it appears some people’s First Amendment rights are more valid than others, mirroring the unfair enforcement of the dress code. What started out as a documentary about a dress code protest quickly evolved into a battle over censorship and freedom of the press.
The film was shot with authorization from the school and key organizers of the event. On the Facebook event page, the filming of this documentary was made nothing but public — several times. While this film was approved for publication by the school newspaper, this approval was mysteriously rescinded for reasons that are still unclear and inconsistent. The documentary, which features the courage and bravery of the highly diverse student population at Brooklyn Tech, was censored; however, a print issue of the school newspaper made it clear that it was not the topic, the images, or the speakers being censored, but the filmmaker and the film itself.
The film is being released because this issue goes beyond high school censorship; this is both a national and truly international issue — both institutionalized sexism and institutionalized censorship.
The film’s release is intended to raise awareness of both these issues on a much larger scale, going far beyond my short film. I hope this starts the conversation.
On that note, I present to you my censored documentary in its original form: #SkinOutSpeakOut.