Opinion: Dress Code Needs to be Fixed

Opinion: Dress Code Needs to be Fixed

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American public high schools often have a lack of dress code, leaving vague rules. These rules generally not enforced until intermediate grades, and throughout high school, cause grief among many young girls simply trying to dress for the weather or themselves. Dress codes have knowingly set up a double standard which creates a separation in the application of punishment for violating the dress code.

The MISD dress code system has a clear bias against young women.

“From the front and back shorts, dresses, skorts, and skirts must be no shorter than 5 inches above the top of the knee, including the slit.”
Texas’s weather, famous for its unreliable climate, proves hard to dress for during the summer and winter months. Women often turn to dresses, skirts or shorts in the warmer months, switching to comfortable clothes in the cooler months, but often get shut down by being dress coded within the first class or two of the day. Though, unlike female students, male students can wear any type of shorts provided for them. Women, however have the set expectation to follow current fashion trends. These stores that they shop at generally stock the current trends, which almost never come into contact with the length rule of the school’s dress code. If a boy wears shorts, it’s normal. No one notices. But if a girl wears shorts or a skirt, it’s the constant question of if she’s been caught yet, or how many school officials has she dodged that day. The school has an unfair bias against girls because one gender wearing shorts seems acceptable, while the other seems outrageous and distractive. Schools should accustom boys to seeing girls be comfortable, not teach girls that their body happens to be the distraction.

“No visible body piercing will be allowed with the exception of the ears.”
As for body piercings, barring the ear piercings, spacers must be in place for all facial piercings. The most common facial piercing, coincidentally the nose. Thirty-four percent of male and females around the world have nose piercings, the runner-up for most common facial piercing happens to be the naval. In a school setting, the girls make up the higher percentage of students with facial piercings, adding to the issue that girls land in more trouble for just showing up to school as they are. Most people have the nose pierced for the sense of rebellion and “edgy look” that the piercing provides. Some people have two nose piercings, and have constantly run into trouble with school officials for being “out of dress-code.” However, the small nose studs that students typically wear cannot be seen unless being face-to-face in close proximity. As for other piercings, industrial bars that go through both sides of a person’s cartilage should be considered more dangerous as they have the potential to be caught on clothing, and be seen from a considerable distance. Students with facial piercings, should not have to wear spacers or take the jewelry out, especially if it’s barely visible and non-distracting.

“Tops that are sleeveless MUST measure 3 inches or more across the shoulder.”
Tops stretch, rise, and slip. That’s just what happens. Shoulders, sitting here and trying to think about the reason students can’t show their shoulders, nothing comes to mind, they’re part of all anatomy. Women’s fashion fluctuates. Some fashions have an optional jacket or a cardigan, but the school has a required jacket or a forcible suspension. What’s so horrific about shoulders? Sure, if the shirt has an oversized sleeve cut, and there’s the potential for an accidental slip, a cover-up should be required, but a sleeveless shirt? A tank top in ninety-degree weather? Why can boys in football wear muscle tanks, but girls can’t be comfortable in the classroom without being told that their arms seem distracting? In Texas, the weather seems hotter than scorching for the first few months of the school year. During these months, teaching girls that their short-length and sleeve-width appear to be the issue, shouldn’t be the biggest issue in the education system.

Obviously, the argument that each school has it’s own dress code rules and standards seems reasonable. However, when the clear double standard for women can be seen around the nation, and the fact that each girl matures differently, the clear issue consistently proves to be the rules set out. Schools should not be teaching young men that women, and what they wear, are the distraction, but should be teaching young adults that no matter what a woman wears, she won’t be the cause of the issue. Schools don’t want to be in the business of body-shaming girls but don’t realize that that’s what they are doing by enforcing an outdated dress code.