Issues With The Dress Code

Sofia Basulto, Writer

Due to the recent protests at other high schools, the topic of dress codes has been more prevalent than ever. Reactions vary from person to person, there has been a lot of support towards the movement, but with that comes the terrible amount of negativity passed on by people sexualizing underage bodies. The discussion was silenced for a while, due to distance learning but has been reopened because of the new school year. 


For as long as I can remember the dress code has always been enforced on me and my female classmates. The dress code, specifically at my middle school enforced the ideals that women couldn’t wear certain items of clothing because it was a distraction. A distraction to who? The boys. 


Tank tops, shorts, skirts, dresses, and ripped jeans (shorter than fingertip length) were strictly prohibited in school. My feminine classmates and I were repeatedly told that our clothes were “distracting and “inappropriate”. 


We were 11 years old. 

Constantly telling children that they are being inappropriate for wearing clothes that they are comfortable with, does way more harm than good for both female and male students. But I think the main issue with the dress code is how incredibly unfair it is towards feminine presenting students.   


The rules are heavily aimed at the girls due to how the boys may react. 


Being repeatedly told that you are “Distracting the boys” and how you should “Cover-Up” can do detrimental things to a student’s confidence and body image, especially at such an impressionable age. According to Amy Unruh, a former student at West Salem High School in Oregon from The Titan Spectator says,“To be told to cover up, or that you are distracting others, is humiliating and extremely damaging to self-esteem.”. If one broke the dress code they would be reprimanded with the punishment of having to change into their PE clothes for the rest of the day, while also facing the embarrassing looks of their peers. 


The dress code also promotes rape culture and pushes the ideology that “Women Should Protect Themselves!” and “Women don’t dress provocatively!” instead of teaching boys to not sexually assault someone. Showing women that what they wear is an invitation for “unwanted attention” should not be a bigger issue than showing boys they need to take responsibility. Common knowledge would show that even if girls did dress however they wanted, clothing is not consent and will never be consent.  


The idea that women should comply with whatever patriarchy wants is completely absurd and should not be pushed onto children from such young ages.