When Dress Codes Don't Work
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Politics and Activism

When Dress Codes Don't Work

Dressing Inch By Inch

When Dress Codes Don't Work
Asha Merchant

It has recently come to my attention that certain dress codes are eminently ridiculous.

Now, before you get all up in arms accusing me of disrespecting myself, my brothers in Christ, and my authority, let me explain.

I don't have a problem with encouraging girls to dress in an appropriate manner. Not at all. In fact, I would advocate for such a thing.

What I do have a problem with, however, is legislating inches.

For instance I've come across dress codes, at co-op and otherwise, which do not allow shorts above finger-tip length, or skirts and dresses shorter than four inches above the knee. Sleeveless tops are prohibited, as are tank tops and/or "revealing clothes."

I've dealt with dress codes which commanded that all shirts must be no lower than three inches below the collarbone, skirts must be no more than five inches above the ankle, etc.

But before you accuse me of picking a bone simply because this would rule out all my cute clothes — it doesn't, by the way — hear me out.

The problem with legislating inches is simply this: not all women's bodies are the same shape, built the same way, or the same height.

And while this might seem simplistic, I feel that too often it is drastically overlooked when determining dress codes.

For example: I have cleavage. My friend does not. Therefore, a neckline three inches below the collarbone, on me, would be far more revealing than it would be on her.

Another example: I am very short. My friend is very tall. Consequently, finger-tip length shorts on me are not only impossible to find, but absolutely do not flatter me at all, yet they cover more than half my thigh. By the same token, though, fingertip length shorts on her cover less than half of her thigh, and are rather easy to find since she has short arms and long legs, and she is constantly getting in trouble for immodesty.

And then, prohibiting dresses or skirts which are shorter than four inches above the knee? My tall friend can wear skirts which are four inches above her knee without revealing anything. Me, on the other hand? four inches above my knee is halfway up my thigh, and I legitimately can't bend over.

Therefore if I called out for dress code violations, in reality, it wasn't me who was at fault at all.

The fault lay with the dress code.

Because God created each of us differently, inches are really no good as a dress code measuring rod.

Debating inches, and believe me, I've seen people whip out rulers in order to enforce these dress codes, isn't really the point, and by making it a focal point, we miss the real purpose of modesty.

The point of modesty isn't a competition of how many or how few inches of your body are covered by clothing. The point of modesty is to dress and behave in such a manner that God is glorified.

Because that's the main purpose for our lives anyway; and if the chief end of man is to "glorify God and enjoy Him forever," then the way we dress should be measured against whether it brings us closer or takes us further away from that goal.

At least, that's how I see 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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