Female students oppressed by dress code


Columnist Eve Pritchard

Dress Codes are extremely discriminatory; they teach a negative way of thinking about the female body, promote body shaming as well as sexual harassment and, at times, can even be used as an excuse to target people in minority. However, the female body is not a dirty thing and should not be treated as such.

“As a woman, I know almost no women who like their body, who feel good about their body. But when you have a daughter, I can literally see it happening, and it’s so subtle, but it’s all of these things. It’s the yoga pants. It’s the short shorts. I think there are these subtle messages that sort of carry on that we shouldn’t show something. Why shouldn’t we show something? Because something’s wrong with our body,” Catherine Pearlman, co-founder of The Family Coach said. “We need to be teaching the boys what appropriate behavior is instead of teaching the girls that they have to cover up to protect themselves from the boys.”

Women and men alike need to stop the justification of bigotry.

“There’s a real culture being built up through some of these dress codes where girls are receiving very clear messages that male behavior, male entitlement to your body in public space is socially acceptable, but you will be punished,” Laura Bates, a co-founder of The Everyday Sexism Project said.

The dogmatic teaching that a girl has to act a certain way to be treated correctly is incorrect.

“I’m a girl, I have to be so lady-like and having things restricted to me because of that that is wrong. Girls can do a lot more than what you think we can,” Sophomore Alexus Blackford said.
Boys will be boys is the most common double standard placed between the two sexes.

“Ever notice how, when justifying a child’s misbehavior, no one ever says stuff like “girls will be girls” or “she’s a girl,” but the list of things a “young lady” can’t do is almost endless? You learn from a young age that masculinity comes with freedom; femininity comes with restrictions,” Tumblr user fashionable-gamer said.

The “reasons” are excuses and they need to stop.

“Female students should not be blamed for their [males’] lack of self-control and intelligence. Perhaps it is not the case of what a female student wears, but more that the male students must learn to control their hormones,” sophomore Kendra Miller said.

“As a society, we routinely excuse the behavior of boys while overwhelmingly placing the blame on women. We need to dress modestly because boys could get distracted. We can’t flirt because a man could say we were ‘leading them on.’ We need to go everywhere in groups and walk to our car with our keys between our fingers. We need to stay sober because a man could take advantage of us,” Kaylene, author of the article 3 Simple Reasons Why My Boys Will Not Be Boys, said.

Sharon Baublitz’s analogy further proves this.

“If a lesbian and a straight boy are both put in a room with a sexy woman, who will make her feel vulnerable or uncomfortable? The one who lacks morals and self-control; the one excused their entire life,” Baublitz said.
Schools have tried to compromise by creating uniforms, though when they are enforced, there is still that underlying disregard of people in minority,

“School uniforms serve to reinforce these gender binaries. Girls, in general, are made to wear skirts and dresses, whilst boys wear shorts and trousers. Although in many schools girls are also permitted to wear trousers, the reverse is not true for boys. Some schools, moreover, enhance this gender divide further by allocating coloured ties or jumpers to boys and girls. Whilst this may seem like a minor detail, and an issue that is not worth bothering about, it is indicative of the entrenched gender stereotypes within our society,” Tilda Gregg-Smith in her piece “School uniforms enforce gender stereotypes” said.

“Over the past several years, school dress codes haven’t been without controversy. Particularly because gender-based dress codes often end up furthering unhealthy attitudes about female sexuality — suggesting that it’s girls’ responsibility to cover up because boys can’t help but get ‘distracted’ — students and parents sometimes protest against what they see as a harmful approach to kids’ understanding of gender roles,” senior editor at ThinkProgress Tara Culp-Ressler said.