Opinion: Dress Codes are Sexist

Imagine this – you walk into school in your brand new outfit that you got for your birthday. You’re wearing a brand new pair of jeans with a hole in the knee and a shirt that reveals your shoulders. Immediately, you’re pulled into the office. A staff member gives you a generic pair of sweatpants and an old t-shirt, and they tell you never to wear revealing clothes again. As you walk to your first period class, you wonder what you did wrong. On your way to class, you see a boy wearing a sleeveless shirt and shorts that end right above his knees. He is walking the halls freely, without being dress coded. Sounds crazy, right? Unfortunately, that is a reality in dress codes all around America.

Girls have always been overly judged on what they wore by staff in fear of distracting boys. They don’t want girls’ bodies being the reason for boys not being able to focus in school. To a certain extent, that’s understandable. But when you go as far as not letting girls show their stomachs, knees, thighs, and even shoulders, but male students are often allowed to, then it’s gone too far.

Some schools have even enforced new rules such as completely prohibiting girls from wearing shorts and leggings. They can only wear jeans, sweatpants, and other forms of “unrevealing” bottoms. Tank tops, crop tops, and off the shoulder have also been banned. It’s a matter of keeping boys from being distracted by random body parts rather than letting girls feel good about themselves because of their outfits.

Traditionally, women have been labeled as objects, something for boys to look at and drool over. Over the years, objectifying women has “gone away,” but there are still so many signs of objectifying women every day, typically in teens. All girls want is to learn comfortably, wearing the clothes they want to wear, instead of worrying about whether their leggings and t-shirt are distracting the boys in class.