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Dress Code Nonsense

Posted by titantv on May 30, 2014 at 1:10 PM

By Summer Parkins 


“Now girls, let’s talk about the dress code.”

I know I’m not alone when statements like this infuriate me. Before I really get started, I just want to make a little disclaimer: Yes, I am a girl and, no, I’m not writing this because I want to dress provocatively or because I personally have gotten written up for dress code. However, it has been brought to my attention lately how frankly sexist the enforcement of our school’s dress code really is.

Now, please understand that I do understand that there should be some limitations to what students need to have covered when they come to school. By that, I mean, I fully agree with the fact that students should have their “private parts” covered at all times. However, some of the limitations are quite ridiculous and are only enforced when a female student is the violator. Take tank tops, for example. I’ve seen several girls get written up or pulled to the side for wearing tank tops that with straps that are much wider than three inches, and even t-shirts with splits in the sleeves up to the shoulder.

What’s worse about the issue of the already absurd tank top rule is the fact that males rarely, if ever, get called out on it. I by no means want to get anyone else in trouble, but it’s extremely misogynistic that girls are the only ones to get in trouble for it. If the rule must exist, it should apply to all students. I’m sure there have been a few (and I do mean very few) instances in which a boy was written up or told to change, but the majority of male dress code violators have not. An anonymous boy’s opinion on the dress code was, “I don’t know. I don’t really have one. The dress code doesn’t apply to me, so…”

Several of the teachers feel as if the reason girls are under heavier enforcement of the dress code is because “boys are more easily distracted,” according to Mrs. Erin Bleier. If a boy can’t control himself, that shouldn’t be my problem. Our society is teaching girls from a young age that if a boy sexually harasses them, it’s their fault. We are also teaching boys that it’s okay for them to act out on every sexual whim. Frankly, though, I don’t actually know any teenage boys that are set off by shoulders, more than four inches of leg above the knee, or - dare I say it - the edge of a bra strap. If there actually are boys that are set off by these things, I think they need a little more than a dress code to remedy that problem. In fact, I would highly recommend a visit to the doctor.

What’s more is that we aren’t only allowing girls to be oppressed, but we are also putting boys in this category of sex-driven, uncontrollable animals, which is extremely degrading as well. I personally know several boys who are very, very respectful of all women. Jacob Lowe, a senior at McDowell said, “As a teenage guy, I’m tired of the stereotypical judgement we get from others, being treated like we are sex animals. We can control ourselves in the school environment just as much as girls can.”

Our female athletes, too, have to deal with this injustice outside of the classroom. When I went into the gym to see how many guys had on tank tops in comparison to the girls, the number was zero. Why? Not because they were in dress code approved t-shirts, but because they weren’t wearing shirts at all. The girls, of course, were in t-shirts and long shorts. It doesn’t stop here, either. Earlier on in the year, I would see the cross country team practicing nearly every day. More often than not, those boys were topless then, too. Why is it that this is allowed when the girls weren’t allowed to wear tank tops or even sports bras in the practices? I’m not saying I think they should wear sports bras in front of their male teammates, but the boys shouldn’t be topless in front of their female teammates either. I know the boys get hot running outside for hours on end in the hot sun, but guess what? The girls are, too. Katelyn Rideout, a member of cross country said, “The rules should apply to everyone. If girls aren’t allowed to run around shirtless the boys shouldn’t be either. It’s not that we necessarily want to wear sports bras to practice, it’s the fact that if we did along with the boys, we would be the ones who would get in trouble.”

I’m not saying we don’t need a dress code at all. Unfortunately, I know a few people that would come to school nearly naked if given the chance. What we need is a common sense dress code that is applied to all students.


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