Cons of School Dress Code

  • September 12, 2017

Even though girls and guys should be dress coded the same, it’s clear that there is a double standard. There is anecdotal evidence that shows that, recently, the number of girls getting dress coded at our school has skyrocketed. From the perspective of a female LCHS student, it is utterly ridiculous that it is ‘in a guy’s biology’ to not be able to control himself every single time he looks at a shoulder that is not covered by 3 inches of fabric. The school is promoting the idea that young women are responsible for the irresponsible actions of the males of the school for ridiculous reasons.

As Dr. Kip Glazer had mentioned in the class-by-class assembly, the “goal for many dress codes is to teach students to conform to acceptable workplace appearance.” However, strict dress codes don’t teach students to adapt their clothing to different situations regarding school and work. Students may learn how to dress like everyone else, but they don’t necessarily know how to adapt this knowledge for special occasions, like interviews, casual meetings, or how to dress appropriately outside of school and work. Katherine Albano (10) says that “dress codes keep girls from wearing what they feel confident in.”

It’s also important to note that professionalism is a double standard that is built on sexism and gender roles which are a set of societal norms dictating the types of behaviors which are generally considered acceptable.

Our school is failing to think progressively.  The dress code is a terrible way  to teach boys to respect girls.

In fact, Emily Weirick (10), says that “The main reason for there being a dress code is that it is distracting for boys, but that is just teaching guys to blame girls for their lack of self control.”

The dress code does not educate or inspire change, it only restricts.

The dress code also confines nonbinary people or people who choose to not dress according to specific gender roles or societal norms. For instance, androgyny is a fashion style and the dress code may create an environment in which an individual feels excluded.

Dress codes are notoriously difficult to enforce, for a variety of reasons. Not only are they subjective from the perspective of the enforcer, but enforcement is also frequently  upsetting to administrators, students, and their families. They also tend to be very vague. For example, our school dress code says that shorts should be of a “appropriate length” and clothes in general should “represent good judgement.” These are unrealistic guidelines as these rules are all subject to opinion.

Dress codes further perpetuate a culture of victim-blaming in which rape is justified by a victim’s clothes. A woman doesn’t purposefully try to entice boys when picking out their clothes. They just want to feel good about themselves, and the school’s vague and subjective policies restrict them from doing so. When looking in the realms of sexual assault, women are no longer blamed for being the instigator of sexual assault so what makes the dress code so different?

Stephanie Yu (10) impeccably explains that “The dress code represents a society in which the respect a woman receives is based on the different clothes she covers her body in and I just don’t want to live in a society like that.”


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