Kiri F. Georgia

Public School Dress Code

The standard dress codes that are enforced by over half of the U.S public schools are unfair to both genders and LGBTQ students alike.

Dear Future President,

      The standard dress codes that are enforced over half of the U.S public schools are unfair to

both genders and LGBTQ students alike. Dress code, though it may seem small, is actually the

background music to many public schools. Despite the bad lyrics it sends out, we continue to

listen to it, because it hasn’t been changed. I believe that the standard dress codes need to

be altered in order to be fair to all genders and other students attending public schools.

      The concept of public school dress code is fairly new, and has only been around in the last

several decades. This shows that the rules have remained the same, since they haven’t been

around enough for people to feel the need to change them. Due to the lack of change, the

differences in girls and boys dress code has risen. For example, a recent study

showed that 200 high schoolers were given detention for dress code. At least 90% of those

students consisted of girls. This then poses the question, “Is it what the girl wears that is

inappropriate or is it the system that immediately makes her outfit inappropriate?”

The answer all has to do with a faculty member’s interpretation and subjectivity.

Calling someone out for breaking dress code all has to do with how the person is feeling that

day, or what they feel the need to change. For example, in the documentary “Shame”, a high

school boy wears soccer shorts that expose his knees. Despite how the dress code states that

showing your knees is inappropriate, the boy does not get in trouble. His girlfriend however

wears the exact same shorts, and she is the one dress coded. This comes to show that despite

what the dress code says, teachers and faculty members tend to target girls more than boys.

      The common explanation for why a girl is dress coded is simply that they will “distract” their

male colleagues. Some may say that this statement is true, since girls bodies are naturally

distracting to boys causing them to not pay attention. They are wrong, due to the fact that girls

bodies are not the reason for why they might be distracted, but is actually the result of society’s

depiction of women, and how their bodies are over sexualized. For example, many schools

have banned articles of clothing such as leggings and yoga pants. The reason why rests

completely on the fact that a girl’s body is seen as distracting when wearing tight clothes or

pants that might expose her bottom. This, and many other rules send bad messages to younger

girls telling them that their bodies are something to feel ashamed of just because it’s seen a

certain way in our society. This can eventually lead to issues such as sexual harassment, and

even rape due to the power that boys feel that they have over what a girl wears.

       Another example, is that of the LGBTQ community and how dress code may limit how they

choose to express themselves. For example, if a transgender boy decides to wear an outfit that

is commonly female he could possibly be suspended or even taken out of the yearbook, despite

following the same requirements for girls. This shows that the dress code system is subjective

and is not gender-centric when it comes to LGBTQ students. Based on a recent study by

GLSEN, 19% of LGBTQ students were told not to wear clothes outside of their gender, while a

shocking 32% of transgender students were criticized for wearing clothes outside of their legal

sex. This again calls to attention the lack of change among dress codes that has affected the

new and diverse generation of students.

      Some ways that the dress code can be altered is to let the actual students have a say. A

set of clothing rules created by adults who grew up in a world where these things weren’t seen

as unfair is not the way to go about things. Instead, we need to include students of all genders,

race, and background in order to create a dress code that is equal. After all, they are the ones

wearing the clothes! Another change is that of not using the excuse,”It will distract the boys.”

By not using this, boys will no longer feel as if they can’t control themselves, and girls won’t be

taught that their bodies are a distraction to everyone around them.

      In conclusion, I hope you take my ideas into account, and see how changing something as

small as a dress code could help prevent future social issues from arising in our country.