Imagine arriving to middle school as a young, seventh grade girl and being told by your science teacher that your shorts were “too short” and they needed to be pulled down. I always followed the rules and was an exceptional listener, however, my shorts that ended right above my knees apparently didn’t meet the standards.
Of course, there’s no doubt there needs to be some form of a dress code enforced. This will prevent students from arriving to school in extremely revealing or scandalous attire.
Additionally, dress code teaches youths how to be professional and dress within the rules according to their future jobs. On the other hand, some regulations that are written in school dress codes are unfair and outright target girls.
First of all, there is a rule printed that shorts shouldn’t rise above fingertip length. But what about students who are taller than others or have longer arms than most? In seventh grade, I was tall for my age, and I was required to purchase shorts that went down to my knees so I could conform to regulation. Somehow, those shorts were still considered distracting by my teacher.
In stores, it’s hard to find shorts that make it down past fingertip length. How do schools expect students to show dress code if it’s hard to find shorts that meet regulations anyway?
Additionally, there is a restriction against the width of tank top straps. Even when it’s a hot day or when classes are doing activities outside in the blazing sun, schools still make students cover up when the straps are too thin.
This is unfair, especially when there are activities occurring outside in awful heat. It should be normal to have a body and not normal to make a girl’s body an object of sexualization in school in any way.
It also seems as if dress codes target girls more than they do boys. Young girls in all different places are pulled out of class because their shorts are “distracting” and are sent home or forced to change into baggy clothes supplied by the nurse. Doing this to girls can be indirectly body-shaming and can make young girls feel even more self-conscious than they already do (CNN).
Also, this shows they are worried about about what clothes they should wear instead of young student’s educations. When a girl, or boy even, is pulled out of her class, she’s more stressed over her fingertip length shorts than her studies.
Schools also say that shorter clothing is distracting toward boys and it will cause them to be unfocused during school. They want to keep their schools free of distraction while most young girls wear their leggings to be comfortable. This teaches young women that people aren’t comfortable around girls’ bodies and even if there’s just a bra strap showing, it makes people feel distracted or awkward.
People at school pointing out something that’s too short or too tight in an outfit to girls can make them feel distressed. It’s odd to think that your body is under surveillance by teachers or administrators. The girl probably didn’t even view her clothing in that way so when a teacher points it out to a student, it can be disturbing and shameful (Time).
The objective of dress codes are to make the learning environment of schools more productive, but it often does the opposite. Students often get pulled out of their learning just to change their shirt, put on longer shorts, or take off their leggings.
Not only is it slightly directed toward women, it is also sexist towards young boys. Dress code rules indicate that if a boy talks to a girl showing skin, he will go berserk (neaToday).
Overall, dress codes need to be altered to be more fair toward everyone. They have multiple faults in them that can shame boys and girls and target certain kinds of people.