Double Standards in the Dress Code


Justin Pineda

The dress code is a system of obsolete and sexist ideas that are forcing women to cover up  on our campus for the sake of promoting “success and safety for our students, staff and community.” As a male, I understand that the promotions of these qualities in our students should be top priority, but not when the way of promoting it is through the overt sexualization of women’s bodies. Although the dress code is enforced by many school officials, it is only enforced on the women of our campus and having little to no punishment for men. This is a growing problem as many female students are dress coded daily and having their physical appearances.

When writing this article, I had wanted to see if any women on campus wanted to give a testimony of their issue with the dress code; sophomore, Sydney Rich, gave me her personal account. “As I was on my way to the first day of school, I felt proud of the outfit I had on,” Rich said as she was describing the events before she was dress coded. “I was walking through the front and Ms. Gross stopped me only to tell me that ‘You need to cover up your midriff because it’s inappropriate.’ I felt so ashamed and wrong for exposing.”

“I felt angry and attacked,” because Rich felt Gross was “it felt like a limit on my creative freedom to express myself through clothes.” Rich felt so hurt by this infringement on her clothing she has coined the phrase, “She was limiting my plus.”

Why is it that the school has this abhorrent need to censor the bodies of the women on our campus? Is it a crime to be someone with breasts and a vagina? Does our school really believe that a bra strap showing going to compromise anyone’s education? Also, do the men on our campus ever get dress coded?

I have single handedly tested out the school’s dress code to see if it were sexist and I came up with interesting  results.  Many male students indulge in wearing socks with a marijuana leaf on the side and tank tops, but never have I seen a school official dress code a man for wearing these articles of clothing.  Which is interesting because in the 4th and 7th paragraph of the dress code it clearly states “… tank tops, basketball jerseys without shirts, muscle shirts, (boys’ shirts must have sleeves) … All shirts must touch top of pants at all times. All these items are unacceptable at school even when worn under an over-garment.” and “Any article of clothing that refers to any type of alcohol, drug, or act, which is illegal or hazardous to one’s health (examples: alcohol brands, tobacco products, marijuana, firearms, weapons, etc.)”

This proves that the school’s dress code is a sexist institution against women because not only are women the only ones being dress coded, there seems to be no dress code against men.

I understand that the dress code is trying to encourage “standards to prepare students for success in the working world,” but if it only applies to 50% of the population of our school, what’s the point?

For the argument saying the dress code is in place because gang members tend to use certain logos or shirts to signal to each other, well who’s to say that the gang won’t find another thing to use as their symbol. The dress code does little to nothing in stopping anything having to do with gangs. Therefore the dress code can’t serve it’s purpose in this area.

In my opinion, dress codes harm students more than help because instead of giving the proper promotion of  “success and safety,” it just shames one gender from being able to dress however they want and teaches the other gender that no matter what they wear, it’ll be acceptable because of their gender.