Dress Code Isn't Just About Dress Length
Politics and Activism

Dress Code Isn't Just About Dress Length

How long will the American education system oppress women?


Two boys sit behind me in class, their chairs tilted back, laughing at something on the screens of their phones. Neither of them are paying attention to the teacher in front of the room telling us about the Gettysburg Address. I take notes, trying to ignore the outbursts of giggles behind me.

The phone rings, and the teacher tells me that I am being sent to the principal’s office. When I arrive, the male principal tells me that the straps of my tank top are a distraction to others’ (read: male) education. I am then dismissed to change into the sweaty t-shirt and shorts that I wore in gym class for the rest of the day. By taking me out of class, the principal was telling me that my education was less important than that of the boys behind me who weren’t paying attention. That the skin on my shoulders is more important than academics.

This is a situation that far too many young women have been put into in their high school years. For as long as dress codes have been implemented, male education has been prioritized over women’s. Dress codes often unfairly target women, listing rules such as no shorts shorter than your fingertips, no spaghetti straps, no shirts that reveal more than one credit card’s length of chest, no leggings or yoga pants, and the list goes on.

At that point, what can girls wear to school?

These dress codes enforce the idea that women’s bodies are inherently sexual and are objects for men to look at. Oftentimes, dress codes can also enforce gender norms. Many times when people wear clothes that are not typically associated with their assigned gender, those people get punished. This oppresses a person’s right to express themselves in any manner they choose to, a right every individual should be awarded.

High schools should be a place of learning, not a place where people feel scrutinized and judged. It is especially cruel to expect women to wear long sleeves and long pants in the warmer Spring and Summer months, while men are just not held to the same level of scrutiny.

This is a time in fashion where women are taught to embrace their bodies and be proud of who they are, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to buy clothing that fit the criteria of strict dress codes.

What does it say about the educational system that it teaches girls to avoid clothing that might incite sexual harassment and unwanted male attention instead of teaching people to respect each other? This educates males from a young age to object females, instead of teaching equality. Allowing misogyny to flourish in high schools only leads to rape culture in college, and further problems down the road.

Sexism is taught from a young age, it is not in our biology. Only by changing the rules that enforce prejudices will equality be obtained.

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

Founders Of Color Q&A: Yarlap's MaryEllen Reider On Destigmatizing Women's Health

The father-daughter duo co-founded the brand and has since generated a passionate, dedicated community of women.

MaryEllen Reider

I was lucky enough to meet MaryEllen Reider over a decade ago as a fellow freshman in college. Since then, I had the luxury of being able to witness her evolution from the faithful companion I went to my first job fair with to the woman who is now a pioneer in destigmatizing the portrayal of women's reproductive health.

Keep Reading... Show less

My favorite Editor was feeling under the weather yesterday. All I wanted was to make her a vegan iced matcha latte. With distance forbidding it, I instead decided to write up this quick, easy recipe. I made it to be vegan and organic for optimal health benefits.

Matcha green tea is made from grounded green tea leaf and it comes with the most antioxidant boost ever.

Keep Reading... Show less

This coffee brand is USDA organic. Newman's Own Keurig coffee flavors are all organic. They have French Roast, Decaf, and a Special Blend. I'm in a committed relationship with the French Roast flavor. The smell alone from dispensing 1 cup of coffee sets a whole cafe jazz vibe.

I'm already relaxed when I smell the coffee all ready for dressing. The way I make my coffee is simple and sweet, literally. I add a spoon of organic brown sugar and a splash of organic almond vanilla milk. This cup of coffee has changed my life forever. I have never been so productive in my life and I truly believe it's because the coffee is organic.

Keep Reading... Show less

These organic, cruelty-free skincare products are great for hot, sweaty summers. I use them every day, so you will find my honest opinion about them all. I highly recommend using organic products because they are least likely to be harmful to your body.

This may seem like an extra step when it comes to your beauty routine, but it's really easy. These 5 products could be the start of your next beauty venture.

Keep Reading... Show less

These 5 Black Handbag Designers Should Be On Every Accessory Lover's Radar

With the push to support more Black-owned businesses, we've put together a list of Black owned handbag designers.

Ever since the current upheaval of societal silence happening in the country caused by the #BlackLivesMatter movement, there has been a bigger push for people to support Black-owned businesses.

Granted, there are a lot fo Black-owned businesses to support, it just takes time to find them. With that being said, fashion is a sector, just like any sector really, in a culture that still has people of color calling out for more diversity.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Feel A Lil' Better: Because Therapy Dogs Aren't Just Cute, They're Working

Your weekly wellness boost from Odyssey.

No matter how good (or bad) you'd describe your health, one thing is for sure: a little boost is ALWAYS a good idea. Whether that's reading a new, motivating book, or listening to a song that speaks to your soul, there are plenty of resources to help your health thrive on any given day.

There are many different ways people overcome obstacles in their lives. Thankfully, the stigma surrounding therapy is slowly (but surely) slipping away and we're opening up about our problems and needs. For some, a good workout is just as relaxing. Others are learning how meditation can be a helpful tool in their mental health journey.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments