School dress codes are a great way to keep students from making mistakes regarding clothing, but some rules are unnecessary. Many dress codes are meant for girls and people of color, which is wrong in every way. Many parents and students have complained about the rules, explaining how it is misogynistic and outdated.
At a high school in Massachusetts, the school dress code was not updated since the 1990s, a time where mostly uniforms were worn, and clothing options are slim. As times have changed, clothing items have expanded, allowing students to express their feelings and personalities. But many high school students, primarily those who classify as female and students of color, have gotten sent home, unfair amounts of detention, and even suspension. Most cases are girls showing their shoulders, knees in ripped jeans, shorts, and skirts, wearing cultural headwraps, and other reasons. Most of the time, when a student is dress-coded for showing their shoulders, knees, or arms, it is because it is considered a distraction.
A fourth-grade teacher in Las Vegas says that the reason for girls being dress-coded for wearing spaghetti straps or showing their collarbone or shoulders is because it’s supposedly a distraction towards males. She defended, “A boy’s education can be compromised by your gender. Please do what you can to neutralize it.” Not only does this claim that girls are a reason for a male’s education to be compromised, but this is also misogynistic towards boys. This quote claims that a male has so little control over their vision that they will be distracted by a girl’s shoulders or head.
Another unfair policy is the finger-tip policy. The policy states that all shorts, skirts, dresses, and other pants must reach below the student’s finger tips. Not only is this unfair to taller students and those who have long fingers, but it’s almost impossible to find shorts and skirts that reach right above the knee. This problem was addressed in a mother’s Instagram post back on March 28, 2017. She said, “My girl was dress coded two days in a row. It’s impossible to find shorts that are remotely fashionable and below her fingertips. She’s tall with long arms and fingers. One more code, and she will have detention…”
Though dress codes do prevent students from wearing offensive clothing with profanity and propaganda, the misogyny laced within the rules and policies is evident. Independent schools and districts should revise dress codes and enforce new ones that are equal to all students. Dress codes shouldn’t be demolished, but they should be revised.