Dress codes discriminatory toward girls

Sossi Gallagher, Business Manager

“Ladies, always remember to cover your shoulders.” 

“If you are going to wear leggings your shirt better be past your butt.” 

Schools have always had the reputation of having strict restrictions on the clothes female students wear in school. Most female students have heard their teachers or faculty members tell them “your shorts are too short,” “your midriff is showing; cover up.” 

Women younger and older alike have all experienced the over-sexualization in the workplace or school. Girls in school have been called out for the articles of clothing on their body. From elementary school to their place of work, girls are told to “cover up” because “boys will be boys” and “you have to do your part in keeping them focused on their work.”

People say dress codes are made to create a safe, work-like environment, take away socioeconomic status from students, or discourage gang violence. But dress codes are still negatively impacting female students. Being told the clothes on your body are distracting can be demeaning to people who use clothes as a way of self expression. 

Some of the dress code rules in the USD 383 school district include minimum 1 inch straps on shirts, rips or tears in clothing has to be below 5 inches, clothes cannot show midriff, etc. 

Students should be allowed to express themselves through clothing. This doesn’t entail displaying every bit of one’s body. Students, especially teenagers, are old enough to dictate the amount of their body that is appropriate to show through their clothing. 

In schools all around the country girls continue to be discriminated against because of the body they live in and the clothes they absentmindedly put on their body. Most women don’t purposefully “show off their bodies;” they find clothing they find flattering on them — clothing that makes them feel pretty. 

Placing such strict dress codes is a problem often overlooked. By placing these strict dress codes on young girls, they start to feel uncomfortable. Not only do they start to feel uncomfortable but also feel as though they can’t express themselves through clothing. Over-sexualizing young girls and making them feel uncomfortable leads to self esteem issues.

Dress codes can be used to discourage inappropriate graphics on clothing, but over time has been changed into a discrimination toward young women in schools. These behaviors start the minute they enter a school building and stays with them for the rest of their life. 

Keep dress codes for keeping inappropriate graphics out of schools, not shaming girls’ clothes.