High School Dress Codes Need To STOP Perpetuating Sexist Culture Onto Girls
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High School Dress Codes Need To STOP Perpetuating Sexist Culture Onto Girls

Why do dress codes emphasize that our bodies are more important than our education?

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High School Dress Codes Need To STOP Perpetuating Sexist Culture Onto Girls
Unsplash / Annie Gray

School is supposed to be a safe place for learning and growing, and in order to have a healthy environment, schools enforce strict dress codes. Overall, the idea of dress codes is good. Clothing that depicts alcohol, drugs or derogatory words are inappropriate. Low-rise pants, tube tops, baggy pants and other cringe-worthy 90s trends are forbidden because undergarments should never be visible. What about every other dress code rule? They are offensively sexist.

In Joplin High School, a female student wearing a long-sleeved shirt and skinny jeans was called "busty" and "plus-sized" by her teacher in front of the whole class. In Florida, a public high school posted fliers reading, "Going to Stanton prom?" and featured pictures of young women wearing various dresses. If a dress was considered revealing, the flier read, "No,you're not," and for the dress that was considered appropriate, the flier read, "Yes, you are. Good girl." Unfortunately, there are countless other dress code horror stories which have rightfully drawn criticism from the public.

Dress codes are so controversial because different rules apply to young girls with different body shapes. Schools need to stop body-shaming, slut-shaming and oversexualizing girls as young as 13. In Alpharetta High School, shoulders must be concealed with material at least three fingers wide to prevent any distractions to the "educational process." If a girl’s shoulders are so distracting to her male peers’ education, how is an administrator taking her aside to humiliate her for her clothing choices not distracting? Why are male students still allowed to wear tank tops? What kind of message are educational institutions trying to send to young girls? Dress codes presume that teen girls wear “revealing” clothing, like shorts, simply to attract attention from young boys. Not because they feel comfortable in their clothes. Not because they have unique styles. Not because it's summer, and they would probably melt if they wore jeans. Merely because their bodies are viewed as inherently sexual.

School dress codes that unfairly sexualize girls promote rape culture. If young girls do not dress conservatively, they are held responsible for distractions in the classroom. They are held accountable for any type of sexual harassment. In other words, they are only "asking for it." Dress codes imply that animalistic young boys are biologically programmed to objectify women if they wear something as simple as yoga pants or leggings. Boys are not the problems; schools are! God forbid if a guy saw my exposed shoulders, legs or ankles and became physically and mentally incapable of learning! This also establishes and promotes gender stereotypes and inequality by implying that young girls need to dress a certain way for the sake of young boys.

Dress codes are specifically aimed at young girls, because I've never seen a single male peer get dress-coded, despite the fact that many have worn clothing that depicts weapons. Instead of accelerating the spread of toxic ideas, educational institutions need to get rid of certain elements in dress codes and instill proper values in students. Isn't it crazy how colleges don't have dress codes, but young men are still able to absorb knowledge?

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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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