Sexism Behind Dress-Code


Picture by Laura Fritsu

   It’s always “cover up, you’ll distract the boys” and never, “stop looking”. Women’s shoulders, knees, or stomach, should not have to be covered up on a hot summer day due to men being “distracted”. School dress code has been a thing for as long as we can remember. The dress code is biased and sexist: boys wear tank tops, have holes in their jeans and face  no consequences, but as soon as a girl wears a tank top, she’s forced to change into an oversized shirt or forced to go home. 

     The reason for being dress-coded is always told as “ a distraction to the learning environment,” but to whom, exactly? 

I can assure you it’s not girls. I would not get distracted by another girl’s shoulders and she wouldn’t get distracted by mine. It’s the boys and their obscene minds. Instead of telling girls to cover up,  boys should be told to educate themselves. School dress codes should be dropped or adjusted.

     School dress codes usually are only towards girls and even if they are stated to be for both genders, it’s usually girls who get dress coded. There is nothing suggesting a girl’s shoulders, knees, stomach, etc. It gets extremely hot in summer in Las Vegas and girls aren’t allowed to wear tank tops or shorts. Also, clothes are also a way to express yourself and dress code limits that artistic outlet.  Dress codes take away from learning and cause more problems, rather than solving them, and therefore should be dropped.

    We live in Las Vegas where it gets up to 100 degrees on the average summer day. Tank tops are against dress code and shorts need to be right above the knee. Where do they even make shorts that long? I need to sweat and suffer in the heat because boys will get ‘distracted’? While boys can come to school wearing shorts and tank tops, what’s the difference between girls and boys wearing tank tops? There’s no accommodating clothes for girls to wear in the summer to school. Either I suffer in the heat or get dress coded, there’s no in between.

    Clothing is a way for students to express themselves and the dress code blocks that creative outlet. Certain pieces of clothing such as bandanas may be part of a student’s style and the dress code prohibits it. Piercings and extravagant hairstyles can also be ways that students express themselves and represent themselves. Dress codes usually forces students to dress and be someone who they’re not instead of encouraging them to find their true selves and express themselves in a way that makes them comfortable and unique.

    Most of the dress code is related to girls clothing and directed towards girls because it has many rules on skirts and dresses. The length of skirts, shorts, and dresses is a major part of dress codes and most of the time boys shorts are against the dress code too but they never get dress-coded. Girls are 5.5 times more likely to get suspended from school due to dress code than boys. The main reason for the dress code is so that girls don’t ¨distract¨ the boys with their shoulders and knees. Instead of telling girls to cover up or change, you should tell the boys to educate themselves and learn to respect women. Many adults may counterclaim my argument by saying ¨that’s the way it’s always been¨ but it’s never too late to change the social norm and better ourselves as a society. 

f     Teachers and adults may say that the dress code is to help students worry more about school than clothes and style but style is a major way for students to express themselves and their creativity. Blocking a child’s creative outlet can create more issues with concentration and cause them to struggle in school. 

Families and school staff may relate bandanas with gang-related activity, however most of the time they’re used as accessories. The dress code should consist more of restricting students from wearing pieces of clothing that is considered unsafe versus girls being prohibited from showing their shoulders in hot weather.

    . Adjustments could be made to the dress code such as being more lenient towards girls and having more regulations towards boys. This would improve the dress code substantially. Students should also be able to wear accessories that represent their style like piercings and bandanas.  School dress codes should rather be adjusted to allow students a sense of freedom when it comes to their style, of course certain rules and restrictions need to be made, but the dress code should be updated to today’s standards.