(SOUTH PASADENA, Calif.) — High-school freshman Saige Hatch was sick of seeing her peers revealing too much skin when she came to school each day.
“From elementary to middle school, and then to high school, I noticed immodesty,” she told ABC News. “I really wanted to start a club to bring awareness to it and bring remembrance to what modesty is.”
Inspired by her brother’s No Cussing Club, Hatch, 15, started the Modesty Club at South Pasadena High School in South Pasadena, Calif., in September to bring attention to her cause.
“A shift is coming, sneaking through the literal fabric of our culture,” read a statement on the club’s website. “Our bright heroic women are being made the fool. A fool to think that to be loved they must be naked. To be noticed they must be sexualized. To be admired they must be objectified.”
While South Pasadena High School has a dress code that requires students to cover the “range of skin from armpit to ‘The Bottom Line,'” defined as “a hand’s width below the bottom of the buttocks,” Hatch is crusading for a more traditional definition.
She said she views immodest dress as showing cleavage, showing one’s midriff or one’s shoulders. Immodesty also includes shorts, dresses, pants and skirts that are too short or tight, she said.
The Modesty Club only boasts 17 members at school, but Hatch said the website has helped to garner more than 1,000 members who come from all 50 states and 14 countries.
This week, Michael Cacciotti, the mayor of South Pasadena, commended Hatch for her efforts and granted her a proclamation. The city has declared Dec. 3-7 “Modesty Week” in South Pasadena.
Cacciotti had granted her brother a similar proclamation when he started his own club.
“People are afraid to stand up,” Hatch said. “I know there are a lot of people who wanted to start it, but sometimes it’s hard to stand up and take the courage to start a club.”
She said that as she moves forward with the club, Hatch plans to put together an online petition to members of the film and magazine industries for more modest attire. Hatch also has plans to write to clothing designers to make more modest clothing for women, in general, and to arrange to have a vote in school to enforce the dress code or switch to uniforms, she said.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Allie Malloy and Kevin Liptak, CNN
Ray Sanchez, CNN
Stephen Collinson, CNN
Stephen Collinson, CNN