By Kaycee Reyes Ramirez
Dress codes are seen by some as a version of but they could be somewhat detrimental. There have been many reports of students all over the country being reprimanded for their choice of fashion in school.
Many school dress codes use gendered language and are commonly directed towards girls. Most state that female students should not wear a specific item of clothing or dress a certain way to accommodate boys’ learning environment. Girlhood expert Shauna Pomerantz, a professor at Brock University, states on NEAtoday.org, “Sexist rules also set a precedent for men, she adds. ‘It is offensive to men. It suggests they don’t have the ability to talk to a female student without going wild.’”
Not only are dress codes aimed towards girls but some schools have targeted young black girls. According to edweek.org, interviews conducted by the NWLC (National Women’s Law Center) all the girls that were interviewed reported dress-coding enforcement in their schools, mainly towards girls who have matured earlier than others. The more they are criticized for their fashion choices the more class time they are deprived of.
“The concern is that students who may already be struggling academically fall farther behind in class when they miss too much time serving suspensions, changing clothes, or waiting while administrators measure their skirt lengths,” said Sasha Jones on edweek.org
These rules are showing young girls that they have to cover up and refrain themselves from dressing the way they choose. That message is always portrayed to girls. It is never heard of boys being taught to behave respectfully and appropriately. On the other hand, girls are always told to change how they look. This subtly sends the message that their looks are more important than their education or knowledge.
Dress coding is an ongoing issue in many schools and many adults and authority figures refuse to formally address it to make a change. There have been principals who have publicly apologized to the girls who have gotten strictly dress coded enough that it has affected their learning, but they have not taken any action to change the restrictions.
Protests led by students and parents have stated that they don’t want to completely get rid of dress codes; they only want to change them to have relevant policies considering the clothes that are commonly being sold, advertised, and easy to find for young girls.
Those protests have made a difference in some schools all across the country. Schools have officially changed their dress codes to accommodate students of every gender and stay away from sexual stereotypes. Principals and students have stated that the atmosphere in the school is much better and everyone is able to go about their day comfortably instead of worrying about being reprimanded for their way of physically expressing themselves.
Dress code, in general, can be very problematic and cause a large amount of controversy for multiple reasons. That controversy could be avoided if changes were made to the rules for all students and not just one group of them.