Schooling is a mandatory action that has to be followed by adolescents. When entered into the school system, rules are enforced. Some rules are strict, and some are very relaxed. One thing that most schools do have though, is some form of dress code. Whether the school requires uniforms, or a unique code of their own, it is expected to be followed. Recently the issue of sexism has occurred in the school systems following dress code policies. School dress codes have gotten completely out of hand and have started targeting the female population more than the male.
This generation, women have begun being sexualized and iewed as objects of possession rather than humans. The school systems have clearly shown their support for this idea. For example, most schools give specific length for shorts, skirts, and dresses. Although males and females are both implied in the code, females are more commonly confronted about their clothing choices. A high school female in Montana was confronted about her choice of not wearing a bra to school when another student said it made them feel “uncomfortable.
The teenager did not understand why actions were taken when her body was covered. “It is my natural body and I don’t nderstand why that makes someone uncomfortable” (Worley). Girls are asked to cover up their bodies when they are realistically already covered. A male’s education seems to be more important that a woman’s right to express herself. Students have a literal right to express themselves through their clothing choice. The only way some kids know how to express themselves is through their apparel.
A 3rd grade student was once suspended for shaving her head in honor of a classmate battling cancer (Hoevel). On the other hand, have you ever seen a male student suspended for having a shaved head? Controversy has arisen claiming that dress codes and even school uniforms violate the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of speech and freedom of religion (eNotes). Students can show their true selves in the way they dress when they are not quite sure how to verbally express themselves. A person’s outfit can depict a picture that they are too afraid of saying aloud.
Another issue with girls be victimized is that they are publicly shamed/humiliated when they are confronted about their apparel. Consequences for breaking dress code include: being sent home, having to wear demeaning clothing with phrases uch as “Dress Code Violator”, and being confronted in front of an entire group of students. In Florida, a female student was forced to wear an oversized t-shirt containing the phrase “DRESS CODE VIOLATION” around school for the remainder of the day. The school refers to the outfit as a shame suit so students will know their consequence if dress code is broken (Murphy).
When school administrations humiliate teenagers in this manner, it takes an emotional and psychological toll on the students. It breaks their self esteem and makes them feel like less than what they are. A common rule around the schools are that females are not ermitted to wear tank tops. During the winter months this rule is easy to abide by. It is during the spring months that controversy arises. How is a female suppose to wear, and be comfortable, in t-shirts and shorts that may be down to their knees, depending on the length of their arms, when it is 90°F outside. Girls have all different types of bodies.
Some females arms are longer than others, some have longer legs, and some have bigger chests. Dress code goes far beyond regulations. When a girl gets in trouble because her shorts are too short, rarely is she doing it to show off her body, rather than the fact hat no shorts reach her fingertip length because of how lengthy her arms are. For example, V-neck shirts are cute on some girls, and on others, specifically ones with bigger chests, they are more revealing. So is that one girl never suppose to feel cute and just accept that she will be humiliated when she wears a v- neck?
Or should, the adolescent mind set of boys be put aside to realize that she is a human just like everyone else in school. Reasoning behind school dress codes are somewhat reasonable. In 1999, two male students walked into Columbine and shot and killed 12 people while dressed in trench coats NICHE). This raised concerned for students who then wore large jackets or clothing that may entail alternate opinions of a person. The jackets consisted of poc guns. Some schools have adopted the idea of metal detectors to avoid situations like this one.
After this incident, restrictions on ets large enough to carry dress code intensified because of a single act of violence carried out by two teenagers. A main concern for females is that schools favor the males learning environment rather than letting students choose what to wear. “My principal constantly says that the main reason for it s to create a ‘distraction-free learning zone’ for our male counterparts” (Zhou). This whole theory goes back to the idea that women are being itemized and sexualized and that they are being trained to believe they are less than the male population.
Shouldn’t females deserve a just as comfortable learning environment as the boys? Do the girls enjoy seeing boys armpit hair when tank tops are worn? No, but it is a natural course of the body so it shouldn’t be deemed inappropriate, and it isn’t! But, when girls wear tank tops and their shoulders show, it causes the guys to lose focus because they are too busy fantasizing about that girl. Well girls have began protesting the ridiculous dress code. In 2015 a seventh-grader was one among four other students who went before the Portland Schools Board of Education to address their dress code.
A classmate of hers was sent to the office after her skirt fell barely above her fingertips. She ended up going home, too embarrassed to return to her last class (Alvarez). This is just one of many protests that have evolved since school dress codes have been deemed outrageous and sexist. There have even been a few times where a group of boys will wear girl’s skirts or dresses just to show that they will not get in rouble for them (Bell). Not all schools fall under the sexist category. There are plenty of schools who follow reasonable guidelines.
There are also often times that a girl’s skirt/dress/shorts are entirely to short and you can see her bottom. Those points are valid and understandable. Same rule applies with shirts showing a girl’s midrift. There are plenty of other shirts out there long enough to cover her belly. It is not as much the length or fitting of the clothes, it is the outrageous parts of the body that are being sexualized. Shoulders, thighs, knees, and collarbones are all the same body parts that a male has. It, for some reason, has to be sexualized on a female though.
The controversial dress code days are far from over. Females all across the country are taking a stand to let the world know that they are more than just objects to the male brains. They are humans and deserve to be treated equally. Dress code keeps schools safe and under control, but there comes a time when it gets to be outright ridiculous and sexist. That time is now. Girls cannot go to school without the fear of possibly getting in trouble for wearing shorts when it is hot outside, or yoga pants when it is the perfect type of chilly.