Dress codes must enforce equality
By Brendan Villena
According to education.com, the reason why public schools have dress codes is “to promote a safe, disciplined school environment, prevent interference with schoolwork and discipline, and to encouraging uniformity of student dress.” However, current school dress codes are discriminatory against girls, who have to follow stricter rules regarding their clothes while boys are granted more leniency.
Dress codes themselves are effective tools to ensure an appropriate learning environment for students, but their specified in regards to gender are unequal. There are restrictions against clothing items and accessories for all students, but girls in particular have more rules to follow than boys do.
For example, while boys are allowed to go shirtless in school rallies, girls are prohibited from wearing spaghetti straps that are not at least one inch thick.
This double standard against females is not uncommon. It is a popular opinion among girls that this double standard is unjust.
Senior Natalie Wong stated, “It’s totally unfair because girls deserve to have the same freedom that boys do.”
Haven Middle School in Evanston shares the same ignorant mindset as other schools that fail to enforce equality in their dress codes. According to the Huffington Post, one of the school’s rules requires girls to wear a shirt or skirt that is fingertip-length over their leggings. Meanwhile, boys are rarely caught for sagging their pants and exposing their underwear.
The disparity between dress standards for the different genders reveals a clear issue in society’s perception of the female anatomy.
The Free the Nipple campaign is a movement started by feminists that argues that “children do not need to be protected from [breasts] … but from the negative societal norms, expectations, and stereotypes associated with it,” stated U.S. District Court Judge R. Brooke Jackson.
Girls’ bodies and clothing are oversexualized, and deemed distracting in school environments. Such perspectives must be changed so school administrators can create fairer dress codes and teach their students to promote gender equality.
Schools should reform their dress codes to hold males and females to the same standards, whether that means allowing girls more freedom with their clothing choices, or enforcing stricter regulations on boys’ outfits.
The purpose of school dress codes is to maintain an appropriate learning enviroment, not to support gender discrimination. Girls should not be forced to abide by restrictions if boys don’t have to think twice about what they wear to school.