School dress codes are doing less to contribute to a modest learning environment and more to promote gender inequality.
The original intent of dress codes was to make sure students were dressing appropriately and respectfully in order to ensure that all students can concentrate and have the best environment to learn in.
Over the years, the dress code has evolved into something ugly. Instead of having a solid and organized dress code that everyone follows, the dress code depends on whichever faculty member a student comes in contact with.
Some students can get away with wearing anything while some get dress coded for their shoulders showing. It is not a unified front, which is confusing and hurtful to students. If one student is going to be written up for her tank top, all other students should be also; otherwise, it shows how much gender inequality is present.
Inequality is ever present in dress codes. Where male students only have to ensure they are not wearing a hat or inappropriate wording on their shirts, female students have to be aware of every part of their body.
Females have to be covering their shoulders, thighs, midriff, chest, and, in some cases, their toes. A male student can wear a tank top with no problem, whereas a female will be asked to put on a sweatshirt. If a male student is showing his whole butt from his sagging pants, he will not be dress coded. If a female student wears shorts that are considered “too short,” she will be asked to put on pants or leave school.
“In my 10 years of school, I have only been dress coded once and it was for my hat,” says freshman Justin Leff.
When talking to other female students, we realized all of us had been dress coded at least three or four times in our years at school for something like a bra strap showing or exposed shoulders.
If the weather is nice and it is hot out, then I want to wear shorts. There is nothing wrong with that.
The worst is that some girls get sent home for showing their bra straps. Oh my gosh, the secret is out! Girls wear bras to support our breasts! It is common knowledge and there is no reason to hide it. Bras are not disruptive or offensive, and they should not be treated like they are explosives.
Some female students were actually removed from their classes and asked to change clothing for something simple like shorts or a tank top. If they could not find any clothing to wear, they were asked to leave school for the day.
By taking girls out of class to go change so it is not distracting to the boys is teaching students that a male’s education is more important than a female’s.
Instead of teaching girls to cover up their bodies, we should be teaching all students how to concentrate and not be distracted by someone’s shoulders.
I do not care if “boys will be boys,” boys should be able to control themselves and their hormones so they can concentrate in class even if the girl sitting next to them is wearing a tank top.
Shoulders, thighs and stomachs are not sexual body parts. They have been made to be seen as sexual because of society. They are normal body parts that everyone has. They are not blurred out on TV and are commonly shown in G rated movies. If a six-year-old can see it on TV, then it should not be considered inappropriate.
If any of these body parts are overly distracting to students, then we should be focusing on why and maybe getting this student help because there is nothing wrong with it. If a student or faculty member feels the need to make any and every part of a women’s body sexual, then he or she should go to counseling or see a doctor. The women are not at fault here.
The mentality that girls are sexual objects that should cover up otherwise they are “asking for it” is essentially promoting rape culture. My shoulders are not asking for it. My skirt is not asking for it.
The students who tend to get dress coded are not the ones being distracting. I am not distracted in class by a tank top or short dress. I am distracted by the group of boys cat-calling, the group of girls gossiping, and the teacher talking sports with another student and ignoring my questions. I am more distracted by the actions in the class, not the clothing.
Instead of taking students out of class for their appearance, we should take students out of class for their actions.
In a world where women are constantly being seen as objects rather than people, we should be teaching the younger generations that the human body is nothing to hide or be ashamed of. A body is not distracting. We all went through fifth grade; we know basic anatomy, so why are we ashamed of it?
Dress codes are promoting the fact that male education and a male’s ability to concentrate is more important than a female’s. Dress codes are promoting seeing women as sexual objects. It needs to stop.
Stop making my body a sexual object.
Why are people so distracted by shoulders or thighs?