The Problem with Dress code: this “painful necessity” is an issue contributing to deeper systematic issues

Kendall Stout

     Dress code is a heavily debated top around teens.

    It is something they can speak knowledgeably about from experience and offer many different perspectives.

    Aside from the obvious stances embedded in personal benefits such as self-expression from one side and an added institutionalized reason to judge someone by the other, when this issue is debated, other ones are surfaced and discussed.

    One of the most popular arguments is that the rule of hiding midriffs, undergarments and shoulders contribute to rape culture by enforcing victim blaming. Instead of trusting men and others to respect people regardless of how much skin one is showing, it becomes the victim’s fault.

    This whole issue is even more questionable in the high school education system where the topic is on minors.

    A female, 16, says she feels “sexualized by forty-year-old men” and that “it makes [her] uncomfortable” when asked to cover up her body by male authoritative figures.

    Telling a woman she is responsible for someone’s sexual thoughts is not only misleading but systematically oppressing.

    The reason so many people break the dress code rules knowing they’ll be reprimanded is because they’re just being themselves and expressing their humanity.

    However, like many things in school, censorship becomes an ideal instead of proper explanations on appropriate behavior.

    Ten-year-old London begins to explain, “it feels like teachers are always looking to embarrass their students. Like, I didn’t wear an appropriate shirt because all of them were in the wash.”

    This is an issue of practicality and it is one that many struggle with.

    The most popular clothing stores tend to follow the trends, meaning that crop tops are more accessible.

    People buy what they sell, and not everything a girl does is for someone else.

    Women actually have the ability to gather up their own opinions, pinpointing what they like and feel good in. Not every woman feels the most confident in a sweatshirt, and it shouldn’t be a crime to show your shoulders.

    The fact that it needs to even be brought up, as if an adolescent’s shoulders cause for arousal is more of an issue of the mind than an innocent teenage girl, trying to feel confident.

One argument for dress code is to stimulate a distraction-free environment. But, this is put to shame when recognizing the possible punishments.

    One punishment for showing a bra strap, midriff, or shoulder equates to being sent home on the third offense.

    Nothing is more distracting than being stripped away from your right to learn and forced home because of your stomach. Not only is it insulting, but it is ironic.

    Another punishment(which is even worse), is wearing the school’s designated dress code apparel.

    One has never felt more popular than in a dress code t-shirt.

    Dozens of people suddenly care what you were wearing and how it all went down.

    People end up snapchatting it, and suddenly you’re the face of a new feminist club about terminating the dress code system.  

    It’s as distracting as it gets (besides being sent home).

    Boys agree that this system is not only ineffective but also harmful to their stereotype which is painted as a boy who has no self-control and is easily distracted.

    There is also the possibility that the skin showing doesn’t have an impact on the dwindling mind of a pubescent male anyway, because there are many loopholes for showing off your body in ways the dress code can’t calibrate.

     Dress code isn’t the only inexplicable and random rule, but it is one that is losing more and more support as the generations learn about self-love and activism.



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