Hannick Minnesota

Sexism in School Dress Codes

My letter is on the sexist dress codes in schools and how they body shames girls, and perpetuate rape cultue.

Dear Next President,

I think that sexism towards women in America has gone on for much too long, sexism must be abolished starting with the sexism in school dress codes. Dress codes body shame young girls, telling them to cover up their bodies so that they won't distract anyone from learning. Dress codes are often taken much too far, girls are being given detention for shoulders showing, and/or being sent home from school. Girls have a right to education, that right is being taken away when they are being taken out of classes and having their learning interrupted for the sake of boys not being distracted. This is a serious problem that must be stopped.

Girls are being body shamed, sometimes at very young ages. Schools are putting an idea in girls heads that they need to cover up their bodies to avoid looking like a ‘prostitute’ or a ‘whore’. Schools also tend to shame girls with more curves, and ‘early bloomers’ to an even worse extent. In the article “When Enforcing School Dress Codes Turns Into Slut Shaming” Lucy Sharpiro, who was only twelve years old, stated that both she and a friend wore the same type of athletic shorts, and teacher disciplined her but not her friend because she “had a different body type than her friend..” she was shamed because of her curvy body type.

Girls educations are being disrupted, and put on hold so they can change, or be sent out of class and sent home. The reason many girls are given when they ask why they are being sent out of class, or punished, is that they are disrupting the learning environment and distracting boys. While, in the process of making boys educations less distracted, girl's educations are being affected because of dress code. In the article “When Enforcing School Dress Codes Turns Into Slut Shaming” a female student said that she missed an important test prep for her AP exam because the teacher said she was giving the immature boys in the class an excuse to make sexual remarks at her, the boys were not punished.

Sexist dress codes send a powerful message to young girls in schools that their bodies are dangerous and meant to be sexualized, that boy's are naturally suppose to objectify girls bodies and harass women. This plays into rape culture and the thought that ‘it’s the victim's fault’. In the article “How school Dress Codes Shame Girls and Perpetuate Rape Culture” it stated that thousands of girls testify that boys at school sexaully assault them, whether that is licking, touching, following, or something else, only to be told that ‘boys will be boys’ or ‘he just likes you’. Girls need to feel safe in their own bodies everywhere, which includes school.

Schools make a promise to its students that they are in a safe learning environment when the walk through the door. Yet girls are body shamed into thinking they have to cover their bodies. Girls are being sexuallized and haveing their learning interrupted because of what they're wearing. So, why we are allowing it to happen in our schools that are suppose to be a safe environment for all students? Staff and administration need to enforce dress codes in schools equally for both sexes. If they can't do that then I think dress codes need to be much less extreme, or expunged.



Henry Sibley High School


American Lit.

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