School Dress Codes: Unfair and Sexist


Sara Hauser

Schools almost everywhere have a dress code, but the rules are unfair and sexist. Why should people (girls in particular) have to cover they’re shoulders or have to hide something that’s natural and nothing to be ashamed of? Telling girls to cover up is really telling them that their bodies are inherently – and only- sexual and it’s their fault for causing “distractions.” 

Litzy Martinez, 17, a student in Florida who was reprimanded for not wearing a bra. “She explained to the school’s dean that she wasn’t wearing one because she had a sunburn.” Ms. Martinez agreed to put a second shirt beneath her long sleeve shirt. “After Martinez changed, she returned to the dean’s office, where she said she was told to stand up and move around.” “That’s when the Dean asked Martinez to go to the nurse’s office for Band-Aids, which she could use to cover up her nipples”. School officials told her she was a distraction to boys in class and required her to put Band-Aids over her nipples. I am of the opinion if a male student is unable to contain himself because of girl’s anatomy, it has less to do with her and more to do with him. A school official should not have to nor feel compelled to tell someone to cover up something that every girl has– and every male has for that matter.

 “Kate Wilson, a student at Honesdale High School in Honesdale, Pennsylvania, said her vice principal called her outfit of a baggy T-shirt and leggings “inappropriate.” She was told that her pants were making teachers uncomfortable and her vice principal said it was distracting to see her walking up the stairs. 

A lot of dress codes are towards girls, told not to wear low cut shirts, not to show cleavage, their midriff, or shoulders. What if guys were told not to wear certain pants because we might be able to see something? That would be a weird conversation, wouldn’t it?

On the other hand, dress codes could be positive. For example, most schools ban shirts that display racist or sexist language, or anything gang related, as well as jewelry that could be used as a weapon. Here at Village, students are not allowed to wear any clothing that glorifies drugs or drug use (like a shirt with a marijuana leaf or alcohol brands etc.) Obviously, I am not advocating for students to be able to wear anything– no one should come to school wearing underwear, of course; but schools need to make sure that in telling young women to “cover up” that they aren’t sexualizing these girls unnecessarily.