In 1938, This Los Angeles Teacher Made History After Refusing To Wear A Dress In Court– And Was Even Jailed For Wearing Slacks 

“Listen, I have worn slacks since I was fifteen. I don’t own a dress except a formal. If he wants me to appear in a form gown, that’s okay with me,” Helen said in a statement following the Judge’s threat.

“I will come back in slacks, and if he puts me in jail, I hope it will help to free women forever of anti-slackism.”

And if you could not have guessed it, Helen did, in fact, return to the courtroom in slacks for a third and final time. Judge Guerin was furious and followed through with his threat– holding Helen in contempt of court.

So, the kindergarten teacher was sentenced to five days in jail and forced to put on a denim dress. But, women around Los Angeles heard about Helen’s groundbreaking stand of rebellion and agreed with her– ultimately sending hundreds of letters of protest to the courthouse.

These letters prompted the Appellate Court to investigate Helen’s charge and actually overturn the Judge’s ruling– leaving Helen and any women free to wear slacks in court whenever they choose. And months later, when Helen was set to appear in court before Judge Guerin again, she made headlines after spitefully appearing in a formal evening gown.

Since then, Helen’s refusal to conform to stereotypical ideas of femininity has paved the way for gender equality. Moreover, in her teaching career, Helen went on to pioneer new therapies for deaf people and even founded her own nonprofit organization.

Judge Guerin, on the other hand, passed away in 1962 and has been remembered as a roadblock on the path to gender equality.

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