STUDENT VIEWS: The problem with dress codes

By Abbe Campbell
By Abbe Campbell

Eighth grade students in teacher Allie Browe’s English Language Arts classes at Clarkston Junior High School are writing activism articles in their argument writing unit, and we’re publishing some of their top articles. This week, Abbe Campbell writes about school dress codes.
Girls across America are being made to feel like their bodies are inappropriate, and should be covered up.
What is making them feel this way?
School dress codes.
Schools across America are targeting young girls with their dress codes, and it’s becoming a big problem, and with our ever-changing society, the fight against dress codes is becoming an even bigger epidemic in U.S. schools.
Schools across America need to change their sexist dress codes that belittle young girls, take away from their education, and sexualize young women.
Middle school students in South Orange, New Jersey started a social media campaign with the hashtag “#IAmMoreThanADistraction” to fight back against sexist dress codes.
This campaign is becoming increasingly popular among young girls and boys alike. If you’ve ever read a school district’s policies, then you’ve most likely come across their dress code, and you probably noticed how it was directed toward females, with only a small amount of the dress code rules referring to males.
This makes women feel as though they are being called out and being told to cover up their bodies.
To make matters worse, the most used excuse by schools for these sexist dress codes is girls can be “distracting to boys” if they don’t wear “appropriate” clothing.
“So once again, society has failed to advocate for young ladies by confining them in a box, where they are stripped from their sense of self-respect and self-expression, rather than teaching young men to respect the boundaries of young ladies,” said Rose Lynn, a girl who was sent home for wearing leggings to school.
Instead of teaching boys to respect women and their bodies, schools put the responsibility of making sure boys can have a better educational environment on women, and that is not how it should be.
Another reason school dress codes are becoming a huge problem is because of the fact girls are being taken out of class to change clothes so males can have a less distracting learning environment.
A girl in Woodford County, KY was sent home for exposing her collarbone. She missed out on an entire day of learning just because her school felt she was not dressed appropriately.
We need to stop making girls feel like it is their responsibility to make sure men have a distraction-free learning zone, and instead teach men not to be distracted by the female body.
Some argue that there is nothing wrong with dress codes and that they prepare you for situations in the real world.
Ally Del Monte, a high school senior from New Millford, CT, argued, “While they often focus more on girls’ clothes rather than boys’, that’s just because girls have more clothing options—which include more revealing choices, too.”
She believes there is nothing sexist about dress codes. But some argue by teaching young girls what it will be like in the “real world,” they are also being taught being harassed because of what they are wearing is a “normal” situation for the real world.
This should not be something young girls believe, because in return it makes men think harassment is okay if a girl is dressed “provocatively.”
Dress codes have a number of things wrong with them. They not only favor men’s education over women’s, but they also label young girls, which is extremely unsettling, because if they are teaching men that women’s bodies are objects, they are the ones with the problem.
Girls should not be made to feel like they are the ones promoting harassment because of what they are wearing.

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