I Despise High School Dress Codes
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Politics and Activism

I Despise High School Dress Codes

Tell me again how my shoulders are a "distraction"

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I Despise High School Dress Codes
Tyann Alder- Facebook

One of the greatest parts of being a college student is being able to wear literally whatever I want any day of the week. Granted, some days I am required to "dress up" for a presentation or for an important meeting, but other than that, the world is a plethora of possibilities when it comes to my wardrobe.

Not having this freedom was one of my least favorite aspects of high school. We didn't have uniforms, but any day that I wore a dress I was afraid I was going to get reprimanded for it being "too short." God forbid I wore shorts to class, even when the temperature outside was in the upper 90s. Tank tops? Absolutely not.

But why? Why were my shoulders, my thighs, my back, or my stomach such a burden to my learning environment? Every day we were told to be finding ourselves, to learn how to self-express, to figure out our place in the world around us. But then the administrators turned around and told us what we could and couldn't wear. Now, I'm not talking about showing up for econ in a leather miniskirt, thigh-highs, and a corset (though this could suffice for another conversation altogether). I wanted to wear a tank top and shorts when it was hot. I wanted to wear a dress that maybe didn't reach the three inches above my knees or the finger-tip length test, depending on which teacher was watching for dress code violations that particular day. I wanted to not be overheating in class. Hell, I wanted to wear something I felt good in!

I would be able to understand the dress codes more if they held every student to the same standard. If I had not been told to put on a jacket to cover my shoulders when I wore a tank-top dress by the same teacher who allowed the two wrestlers in my class to wear their singlets and basketball shorts. Why were my shoulders more inappropriate than theirs? I'd be able to simmer down if I had not been told to not wear athletic running shorts again by the same teacher who allowed the track boys to wear their equally short shorts in the same class. Don't even get me started on the boys who paraded around school with no shirt at all and absolutely no consequences.

I would not have an issue with dress codes if they did not just serve the purpose of sexualizing my body and the body of every single young woman right alongside me. I would not have an issue with dress codes if the threat of my partially-bare shoulders were not enough to "distract" the boys in the classroom from learning. I would not have an issue with dress codes if they were not telling every young person who walks through the halls that their body is up to regulation from authority, and god forbid they show their skin in class and risk total anarchy.

I wouldn't have an issue with dress codes if they had not reduced me to being nothing more than an object that was up to regulation and subjection by external parties. I wouldn't have an issue with dress codes if they didn't tell my little sisters that their bodies are something to be ashamed of, that they should cover up or that if they show their skin they are at risk of being groped or violated because "boys will be boys." I wouldn't have an issue with dress codes if their underlying message wasn't telling young girls that they should have been born with a penis; then, and only then, could they have worn what they wanted to gym class.

If they weren't demeaning, sexualizing, utterly unnecessary, and vile altogether, then no, I wouldn't have a problem with dress codes. That's not the case, though, now is it?

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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