Most schools in the United States have some form of a designated dress code. They force students to remove their hats, refrain from wearing any open-toed shoes, and never dress in shorts below a certain knee-length. If a student does not comply with this code, they will be judged and punished accordingly.
The reasoning behind dress codes partially stems from sexist and outdated mindsets. According to a Great Blue Hill News article, the majority of schools punish girls for dress code violations more so than boys. When implementing dress code rules, schools frequently prioritize male students over their female counterparts; far too often, school administrations scold young women by telling them that their bodies are too distracting for their male peers, and over-sexualize them in educational environments.
Due to these violations, many schools force students to leave their classes to change, which in turn leads to the loss of invaluable learning time. An anonymous high school student commented, “In the past, dress code violations have caused me to feel insecure in the clothes I am most comfortable wearing. Fashion is a large part of how I choose to express myself, so being told I must change my clothing at school embarrasses and upsets me.”
Dress codes are clearly targeting young women. They instill the idea that women are responsible for their male peers' thoughts and actions, instead of teaching boys to focus on their own learning in the classroom. The sexism behind dress codes needs to be discussed and acknowledged far more often. As teens, we must all share our perspectives on this important issue, and work to see change in our educational communities.
Scaramella, Gina. “School Dress Codes Are Tougher on Girls than Boys.” News, GBH, 7 May 2018, www.wgbh.org/news/2017/05/22/local-news/school-dress-codes-are-tougher-girls-boys
About the Author:
Kisiah Panagako is a high school student. She plays field hockey, enjoys skiing in the winter, and likes going to the beach. Over the past year, she has become more interested in writing and reading, which inspired her to write for The Alcott Youth Magazine.