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Dress codes send a sexist message to students

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For thousands of years, women have been degraded and told they are unequal. It’s the 21st century, and women are still being degraded to the extent where even our clothing is judged. In many schools, strict dress codes are becoming very common.

In a lot of high schools, including Wilson, the female students are told that “boys will be boys.” The administration tells young women to cover up or they’ll give boys the “wrong idea.” Instead of teaching their female students that women have to cover up so they don’t give off the “wrong impression,” schools should be teaching their male students to respect women.

Dress codes are not only sexist, but plain unfair. Girls should be able to wear a tank top and walk down the hallway without being stared at or judged for their clothing choices. Girls should be able to wear shorts in the summer heat without having to be pulled aside because ‘they’re too short.’  

Not only do school dress codes give off the attitude that ‘boys will be boys,’ they also imply that a man’s education is more important than a woman’s. Girls are constantly being pulled out of classrooms, sidetracked in the hallways, and even sent home because their bra straps are showing, or their shorts aren’t arm’s length, or their shoulders are exposed. By pulling girls out of class just to tell them that their outfit is too revealing, schools imply that a girl’s education can and should be taken away for simply a show of skin.

Female students aren’t the only ones who disagree with dress codes. “[Dress codes are] stupid because girls should have the freedom to wear whatever they want without having teachers or guys being distracted,” says sophomore Billy Blu.

Mary Lambert, one of Wilson’s art teachers says we shouldn’t be “belittling either gender by saying that any dress code is too distracting.” Instead, Lambert says “we should focus on what the dress code of the business world looks like.”

When you interrupt a girl’s school day and force her to change clothes, or send her home because her shorts are too short or her bra straps are visible, you are telling her that making sure boys have a ‘distraction-free’ learning environment is more important than her education. If schools continue implementing dress codes that objectify female students, they are teaching their students that a boy’s education is more important than a girl’s, and that what a girl wears is more important than her mind.


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