Disastrous Dress Code

Emily Motta, Staff Writer

It is not the responsibility of girls to adjust themselves for the convenience of boys, and the dress codes serve to criticize girls and their attire.

Student dress codes were designed for professionalism, equality, and preparation for future attire to be worn in the workplace. However, that attire differs depending on the profession, where it could be formal or informal. Then are professionalism and equality tied to the dress code? Not necessarily. Professionalism is not judged by what you wear, but by how you act in a formal situation. And equality, not something that can be related to a school dress code when more often than not school dress codes contribute to gender inequality. 

No undergarments can be shown, no leggings or yoga pants are allowed, shoulders must be covered, pants have to be below the knee or fingertip length, and cover your chest are just a few harsh clothing restrictions that many females must work with. Meanwhile, boys are focused on not wearing hats, inappropriate shoes, or muscle tees, all of which transfer to the female side as well. 

Dress codes are sexist. They teach girls that they need to dress for boys and reinforce the idea that women’s bodies don’t belong to them. Additionally, girls’ dress code teaches them that what they wear coincides with how they are treated. For example, showing too much skin means “you are asking for it”. 

Furthermore, girls are constantly harassed and shamed for wearing more revealing outfits, and common responses to these problems are “boys will be boys” or “he just likes you”. Someone coming to school in a dress due to the summer heat does not permit you to verbally or physically assault them. Clothes are not consent, and the dress code only enhances this idea. 

Since 1969, we have been telling girls to cover up and guys to play along. For 52 years we have dictated students’ outfit choices, but with this ongoing pandemic suddenly we can’t require students to wear a mask? So if a girl comes to school wearing shorts that aren’t fingertipped length she can get detention, but if a student comes to school without wearing a mask in the middle of a pandemic they are completely fine? Now, SJUSD is requiring a mask upon the opening of campuses, but many schools do not require it. 

If a school can dictate what clothing items can be worn on campus, why is a mask any different? Schools claim that it’s a “personal choice” and a “freedom” to decide if you will wear a mask on campus or not. It is infuriating how the rules bend in the favor of personal choice rather than morality.

The issue of dress codes will be prevalent unless there is a communal action against it. Without many voices, nothing will change and we will just fall under the jurisdiction of the ones who’d like to maintain the status quo. Let us be the voice of change; let’s utilize what power we have in social media and connections to the world to make a change for the better.