Student Opinion on Unfair Dress Code Policies

Student Opinion on Unfair Dress Code Policies

Jordyn Taalib-Din

A lot of girls, not just here at Cypress Creek but at many schools around the U.S and even around the world, believe that the dress code and its policies are unfair. Many feel as though the dress code specifically targets girls’ bodies. I talked to some girls who attend Cypress, and they all have a very similar response: that it unfairly critiques the things girls are allowed to wear in comparison to things guys are allowed to wear. However, some girls particularly at Cypress think that it’s not so bad since the dress code isn’t as heavily enforced here as some other schools. Even if this may be true, this doesn’t entirely hinder or object to any of their opinions or concerns. 

The first person I interviewed was a girl named Emma and I asked her how she felt about the dress code policy. She does believe that the dress code is unfair towards girls because “girls do have a stricter code to follow.” But she also did say that at our school they don’t seem to dress code too many people. How it is written out is unfair, but when applied she “hasn’t heard of many girls getting dress coded”. Not to just mention the opinions, some girls have personal experiences that have led them to their current opinion of an unfair dress code. Hannah Castillo says, “I once had someone tell me my shorts were too short and that I’m lucky she didn’t dress code me because people would start ‘looking’ when the shorts showed nothing out of the ordinary, they were just pink sweat shorts.”  

A question that arises is, why is there something so wrong with a girl wearing shorts that aren’t “6 inches above the knee” but when a guy does the same, nothing is said. The same thing goes for tank tops, guys are not given dress code related punishments or seen as out of the ordinary by authorities for wearing tank tops, but girls are. Is it not the same instance just a different gender? Even though this argument is centered around girls & their opinion on dress code I also asked guys for their opinion on it as well. When I asked, they told me that my target audience for the article should be girls because they are the most scrutinized for being out of dress code. They felt as though they didn’t have enough experience to be able to talk about dress code; it was almost like they had little to no opinion on the topic because it rarely, if ever, affects them.  

Hannah has also been “told to grab a jacket or to cover her shoulders when she wore a tank top”, mentioning that we live in a state with an extremely hot climate, Florida. On her way to 6th period, she saw a guy who had no shirt on at all. She feels as though it’s unfair for her to simply get dress coded for her shoulders, legs, thighs, etc. When a guy can walk around without a shirt at all, and no faculty member saying anything. I wonder what would be so distracting or provocative about teenage girls’ shoulders.  

The double standards of dress code don’t only have to do with gender. There are girls who have expressed their concern with being dress coded for their specific body type. Girls with curvier more developed bodies are claiming to be dress coded more than ones with less developed, skinner bodies. A junior I interviewed by the name of Kelsey was wearing a spaghetti strap tank top with a thick lace shirt over the spaghetti strap top. Even though, she is currently a junior this situation happened to her as a freshman. A teacher approached her saying, “Excuse me, excuse me, you need to put on a jacket right now”, Kelsey, being confused replied “Huh, me?” and the teacher replied, “Yes you, you need to put on a jacket right now”. The teacher saw what she was wearing as an urgent matter. Kelsey said, “Let me open my locker and get my stuff out of my locker first”. The teacher continued to yell & tell her, “No, you need to put on your jacket right now.”  

Not only was this situation unnecessarily aggressive over a simple spaghetti strap. There was a girl walking past Kelsey & the teacher antagonizing her, who was showing more than half of her stomach. Kelsey said the girl was “practically naked”, and she was annoyed that the teacher “pounced” on her over a spaghetti strap (that was also covered by another layer of clothing). Meanwhile a skinnier and less developed girl walked right passed her wearing something 10x more revealing. This instance of the enforcement of dress code policies was both unfair and a double standard.   

Talking to some of my older teachers as well as my parents and older siblings, they all had the same type of dress code policies. No spaghetti straps, shorts must be 6 inches above the knee, etc. This goes to show that not only have there always been double standards for girls in comparison to guys, but that dress code policies have not been updated for decades. Something else worth mentioning is that telling girls to cover up their bodies because it’s a “distraction”. This belief pushes the ideology that when a girl is raped or sexually assaulted it is because of what she wore, which is known as victim blaming. This is 100% not true, if someone is a pervert and wants to sexually assault someone they will. Regardless of what the victim is wearing. 

Most girls hold the same opinions on dress code. Their opinion is that it’s unfair and there are not just double standards against girls as a whole, but against specific girls as well. Not to mention the lack of updates to the dress code policies throughout the years. In addition, if we take the conversation a little further and look deeper into it, the policy pushes harmful rhetoric about girls’ bodies and the actions of others when being “distracted” by girls’ bodies. At cypress the dress code doesn’t seem to be heavily enforced, however at other schools it is being heavily enforced and unfairly pushed upon girls, causing people to protest it and go on strike against the reportedly sexist dress code policies. You may think that’s doing too much over a dress code, but the people speaking out against it beg to differ.