College Student Kicked Out of Michigan Mall for Wearing Summer Clothes

Apparently, shaming young girls for their clothes and bodies — even removing students from classrooms – isn’t enough for some people. Now, adults are tattling on women for wearing completely normal clothes in public.

Hannah Pewee, a 20-year-old college student in Grand Rapids, Michigan, was enjoying a visit to Woodland Mall with her sister last weekend when the shopping trip quickly turned into a humiliating — and viral — experience.

According to Pewee, someone anonymously reported her to mall security for wearing an “inappropriate” outfit — and she was promptly kicked out.

The offensive attire? A “Finding Nemo” tank top and jean shorts.

Yup, apparently a tank top and shorts is too risqué for Woodland Mall and its patrons to stomach on a 90 degree summer day.

Pewee said in a Facebook post that the incident left her humiliated and nearly in tears. She also rightly pointed out the absurdity of expecting women to wear anything different than she did on such a hot day.

“It’s my body, and it’s hot outside! I’m not going to show up in jeans and a sweater, sorry. Don’t like it? Look away!”

Woodland Mall happens to be in my hometown, and it’s where I’ve shopped for almost my entire life. Until I learned about this incident, I had no idea there was any kind of dress code in place.

I’ve shopped there wearing exactly the same kind of outfit Pewee has, more times than I can count. Not once did I ever see any information that would have made me believe such attire was unacceptable. I’ve bought skimpier clothes than what Pewee wore at Woodland Mall, never knowing wearing the items could have gotten me kicked out.

That’s probably because the mall’s “dress code” is so vague as to be nonexistent. You literally just have to show up wearing clothes.

According to the mall’s website, the dress code is as follows: “Appropriate attire, including shirts and shoes, is required. Clothing with inappropriate words, phrases or graphics is not permitted and is subject to mall management approval.”

Unless “just keep swimming” is considered inappropriate, it’s hard to understand why Pewee was kicked out of the mall.

A mall representative has since contacted Pewee to apologize. Woodland Mall plans to revise the dress code on its website to avoid similar incidents in the future, but I’m not sure that’s going to help.

Any more specific policy will probably unfairly target women, just like all other dress code policies. And who checks a mall’s website for that sort of information anyway?

Since sharing her Facebook post, Pewee writes that she’s received a lot of support. However, since she felt compelled to post a follow-up photo, it seems she’s gotten some pretty ridiculous criticism as well.

In a second post, Pewee wrote, “strapless bras exist. I was wearing one.” She also included a photo of the back of the shorts she was wearing, because there was some “misinformation” going around.

The fact that this woman’s word was not enough proof for some people is ridiculous. Pewee shouldn’t have to show us every angle of her body in that outfit to convince the general public that she was treated unfairly.

She certainly does not have to tell us what kind of bra she was wearing, if any at all! After all, women are not obligated to wear bras! We actually can leave the house without them if that’s what we want. And that’s nobody else’s business.

Let’s be clear: There is nothing moral or objective about obsessing over women’s bodies and how they choose to cover them. This is subjective and cultural, a puritanical American phenomenon.

This behavior isn’t natural or universal, it is learned and socialized behavior. And because it is not inherent to sexualize, objectify and judge women’s bodies, that means the misguided perspective can change. And it must.

Photo Credit: Eunice Lituanas

118 comments

Camilla V
Camilla Vaga1 days ago

thanks

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Carl R
Carl R3 days ago

Thanks!!!

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Angela K
Angela K3 days ago

We have no other problems on Earth ???????

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heather g
heather g3 days ago

Apologies are not enough - He'd get the message if he were to lose his job.

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Emily J
Emily J4 days ago

The way that girls and women are increasingly being targeted by people wanting to control the way they dress is really sinister, I hope we aren't heading for a dystopia like the Handmaids Tale! It would be good if local people staged a protest and all turned up in shorts and tank tops at once, and see if Security can evict all of them from the mall!

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Lisa M
Lisa M4 days ago

Noted.

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Lisa M
Lisa M4 days ago

Noted.

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Renee M
Renee M4 days ago

Yikes! Totally ridiculous! I feel terrible for Hannah. Don't people (including those on Facebook who continued questioning and commenting) have better things to do?!? If I see someone dressed in a way that I feel is inappropriate I usually chuckle to myself, roll my eyes or make a comment to whomever I am with and I move on.

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GGmaSAway D
GGmaSAway D4 days ago

If it was me, I would have gone back and returned everything I bought there and pledged to never shop there again. Maybe then, after these shops lose enough money, the stores we shop in would take a stand on this ridiculous policy.

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Leo C
Leo C4 days ago

Thank you for sharing!

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