I Say So: The Dress Code

Caution: Opinions

Written by Maggie Lindenthal-Cox

Last year, a group of students fought to have the dress code changed to make it less sexist, and as of this year, the dress code has been rewritten to be completely gender neutral. The dress code now is written to have the same restrictions for boys, girls, and nonbinary* students. When I read this new feminist version of the dress code, I was filled with pride for my school. However, the longer that this school year dragged on, the more apparent it became that while the dress code appeared to be gender neutral, in practice it really had not changed at all. An inch of a girl’s stomach showing can still get her a detention, yet a boy can break the dress code in the name of school pride and somehow get only applause and teacher approval.
Spirit Days seem to be some unwritten exception to the dress code. On Spirit Days, boys roll up their shorts so that they look like booty shorts and no longer have the 4 inch inseam required by the dress code, supposedly for all genders. Are these boys dress coded? Of course not. But my friends have been dress coded for an inch of skin below the side of the bra. I understand that these types of shirts do break the dress code, however, the boys wear muscle tees with rips from their armpits down to the bottoms of their ribcages which definitely do not conform to dress policy either, but are worn on the daily by these boys without consequences.
By only enforcing dress codes only on young girls rather than equally enforcing them on people of all genders, the administration is teaching these girls that their bodies are something to hide and feel ashamed of, in a way that boys bodies are not. This shaming of the female body is a large societal problem, perpetuated through media of all forms, which needs to end now. We can help stop this issue by ending the discrepancies in the dress code, and teaching teenagers that their bodies are never something to feel ashamed of. We can begin a new generation of people who actually believe in equality, rather than believing in it on paper but not in practice. We must stop body shaming, and we can, simply by adhering to the same rules for all genders. We can end the dress code for all people, or enforce it for all people, but we can not pick and choose whose body is acceptable and whose is not, based on their gender.

*Nonbinary is an umbrella term to cover all people who do not identify within the gender binary (male/female) Ex: agender, bigender, genderfluid, demigender, etc.