Dear Future President,
School dress codes are very unfair. Sure, we should still have dress codes so kids don't come to school in bathing suits, but the policing of dress codes, and some of the dress codes themselves are sexist and racist. “The only reason I go to school is to get my education. When I get dressed in the morning, my intention is not to provoke or be sexualized. My intention is to feel comfortable in my own skin.” This was a statement from AnaLuiza, a student at Portland Middle School. Girls should be able to come to school and feel comfortable and confident, not humiliated because she got coded for showing her collarbone or shoulder. For example, in an article by Good Magazine, the author, Kate Ryan, described a story of a Texas honors student that got sent home for wearing yoga pants and an oversized t-shirt - that covered her entire backside. Dress codes are said to be in place for a good reason, but I can't really find any other reason than to prevent the “distraction” of male students.
Dress codes make a lot of females feel like their education is less important than male students. It makes them feel like they're not valued. According to an article from Nea Today by Brenda Álvarez, a student from Portland middle school was dress coded for wearing a skirt that was centimeters below her fingertips. She had to wait two hours in the office while they tried to reach her parents, and eventually left before last hour, too embarrassed to return to class. This cannot be allowed to continue. We cannot put the ideas into our future generations that girls have to cover themselves to prevent the distraction of guys. Dress codes also sexualize girls who are too young to be seen that way. By telling them to cover up you're telling them that no matter how young they are, they can be seen as objects by others.
Some schools have racially discriminating dress codes. “Butler Traditional High School in Louisville has decided "dreadlocks," "braids," "twists, and "cornrolls" (which we're assuming they mean cornrows) are "extreme," "distracting" and ultimately not allowed to be worn by any of its students” (Julee Wilson, Essence). The high school in Kentucky informed students of new dress codes, which banned hairstyles worn by black individuals. Luckily, this dress code was taken down after a wave of response and disagreement from the community, and even people across the country. This went viral, and the school, seeing how much hate they were getting, they decided to go back on the rule. This doesn’t excuse their actions. It also does not excuse the fact that enough people in the school board felt that these hairstyles should be banned from schools, which is racist. I don't know how people let this happen, but this shows how dress codes are used to control individuals.
At my sister’s school, Linwood Monroe, they have a start of the year initiation for the new students. When they came to the topic of dress codes, my sister said they showed pictures of famous celebrities in outfits. According to her, they were all photos of female celebrities. That there tells all the girls in the room that they're the ones being targeted with dress codes. At my school, I have friends who came to school with shirts that show only two centimeters of their stomach, yet they get dress coded. I see males walking around school with muscle tees on, with pictures of alcohol and half naked women on the front, and they sometimes don't even get a warning.
Dress codes are sexist and unfair. They teach girls that they are less than males, or that their education matters less than males. I think that there should be some dress codes, but not all of the dress codes that there are in schools. I also think they should be policed better. Dress codes can give power to the wrong people, and the wrong ideas. I don't think we should have unfair rules in an environment that is supposed to support fair chances. I don't think we should tell our future generations of workers that women's bodies are objects, and should be covered to benefit the males’ learning and attention.