The Truth About School Dress Codes

Jasmyn J., contributor

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School dress codes is a topic that has been discussed and debated about for a long time. They have been in schools since the 1920’s and the 1930’s but let’s be real, school dress codes are extremely sexist against girls, not only in the way they are enforced but the ideas behind which they were created. It is clear to see that dress codes were mostly made to restrict girls, and have rules about how girls cannot reveal their backs, shoulders, legs and bra straps, midriffs and even collarbones because the staff feel that these body parts are distracting to girls’ male classmates and peers. Boys, however are rarely reprimanded for sagging pants, tank tops, or the same type of ripped jeans that girls wear. This is a subtle way that we are perpetuating rape culture. In life, distractions are inevitable and boys (and girls) will sometimes be distracted by the bodies of the opposite. Boys need to learn how to be in a work environment or be out in the world and get their work done and manage their distractions. Boys need to practice self control and learn to not act on their feelings. Girls should not be told that they have to cover up to help boys with no self control stay focused in class, that’s their problem not ours. Schools also need to stop telling girls who wear short shorts and tank tops that they are “asking for it.”  Instead of telling girls they have to cover up to protect themselves from unwanted situations with disrespectful boys, we need to be teaching boys from a young age to respect women’s bodies and that “boys will be boy”will no longer be acceptable. Why are we punishing girls for some boys’ selfish behavior? Most of the time, when someone is dress coded they have to wear a baggy old t-shirt that says “dress code breaker,” and in some cases they are forced to go home and change. I’d say that the disruption of class to dress code a student or the dress code replacement outfits can be more distracting than the original outfit that the student wore to school. It also makes it seem like the school is valuing appearance over education by making people miss class to change. I do want to make this clear: I am NOT saying that dress codes should be wiped out entirely. They teach students what will be expected of them as they leave school and enter the workplace and become professionals. You have to wear certain attire depending on the place or people you are around. Also, there are kids who do take advantage of free dress, intentionally wearing provocative clothing that is just inappropriate for school. But, changes need to be made, and dress codes need to be revised to be more equal for boys and girls.


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