This morning I read yet another article about a girl being sent home from school because of the dress she was wearing. This student was wearing a strapless dress since it was extremely hot and the school did not supply air conditioning in the classrooms. The teacher had sent her home because she was revealing her shoulders and becoming a distraction in the class. This is not the first time that something like this has happened. The fact of the matter is that many girls are shamed for their bodies and are taught that they should cover themselves up to help guys to control their urges. This is completely unacceptable. The motto “boys will be boys,” does not work as an excuse anymore. Instead of scrutinizing girls, the school should teach guys to respect women period. There are many flawed things in our education system but denying a girl's education by sending her home is something that should not be taken lightly. What is it about a girl's natural body that should offend the male population? How would our bodies being sexualized interfere with a boy's ability to concentrate? I would like to think that the schools would give teenage boys the benefit of the doubt. In fact, when asked most teenage boys, I know would not care about the clothing that girls opt to wear. So where’s the issue?
Believe me, I understand, dress code is important. It is important to follow school guidelines, but when the school’s reasons for implementing dress code rules are sexist and demeaning towards girls, that is when the rules need to be further questioned. It has gotten to point where girls are subsequently slut-shamed for their own private decisions. Slut shaming alone is horrible. Everyone has the right to their own body and choices- it is not up to the schools to decide who is respectable or not. If a girl wants to dress conservatively then she has the right to do so just as a girl has the right to show skin. What annoys me is when people say that women who dress “inappropriately” do not respect their bodies. Newsflash. We do not have to be conservative to earn respect. Respect has nothing to with the physical appearance- to respect yourself means to love yourself, despite your flaws. Respect is about surrounding yourself with good people who lift you up instead of putting you down.
Everyone should be respected no matter what gender. The weirdest part about all of this is that no one cares outside of high school. In college, it’s different. You are treated as an adult more instead of being confined to a box. High schools treat students, guys and girls alike as if they are in capable of being respectable, kind, considerate human beings. This behavior does not do students any good. We should be treating guys and girls equally the same- it’s only fair. If the schools really want to make a difference in their student's education, they should start re-examining their practices.