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Dress codes: Are they one sided?

Dresscode+page+from+the+Student+Handbook.+Highlighted+points+examine+key+issues.
Dresscode page from the Student Handbook. Highlighted points examine key issues.

Dresscode page from the Student Handbook. Highlighted points examine key issues.

Jenni Marie Schaal

Jenni Marie Schaal

Dresscode page from the Student Handbook. Highlighted points examine key issues.

Jenni Marie Schaal, Staff Editor

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It’s no secret if you look inside our school handbook, our dress codes, for the most part, target female students. But why do they? Well, for one, men are often more conservative in what they wear for the fact that many still see it as a masculinity issue. What you wear is your choice, but the stigmatizing of clothes needs to stop. I want to see a boy come to school in high heels or even a skirt-yes! A skirt. As long as genitalia isn’t showing, what’s the big deal?

Well, until the idea of what is masculine or not is stopped being shoved in our faces, dress codes mostly target female students. I understand and agree with the basics: Don’t show any genitalia, butt, or more than cleavage. It is still a school, and school is considered a professional environment. If you had a job as a tax attorney, you would not show up in a bikini to work. You’d surely be fired because you need to look professional. I don’t want to see one of my teachers come in with a mini-skirt, it’d be awkward and well- unprofessional.

But for students, it’s the 21st Century. School isn’t a formal privilege for students anymore. We all have to go against our will until at least 16 years of age. No, I don’t want to see another student in a mini-skirt too, that is a little overboard. But I mean shoulders, really? I still can’t fathom why females can’t show their shoulders. It says it right there in the student handbook: “Tank top, halters, one strap tops, backless shirts, and inppropriate necklines are not permitted” page 45. It also says males cannot show their shoulders either, but has anyone ever seen a male be dresscoded for tank tops? What is so sexual about a shoulder? Students aren’t allowed to show their stomachs either. There should not be anything sexualized about a stomach. It’s a normal part of the body, both females and males have it. Although crop tops were a thing for men only in the late 80s and early 90s, men don’t generally wear them anymore, leaving it as a “women’s clothing article” Personally, I think men should bring back the crop top fad as well. But either way, right now it is targeted at female students. It isn’t a big deal. Why can’t I show my stomach? And well, thighs, they are iffy territory. Again, both men and women have thighs, women’s thighs just tend to be sexualized by both male and female at a higher rate. Students shouldn’t be distracted sexualising their peers anyway-that’s what unprofessionalism is. I don’t want to hear the excuse “boys will be boys” or “It will distract male students”. For one, I don’t want people to group all males in the category of “always perverted”. It isn’t fair because, surprise, there are men who see women as people and not sexual desires. Two, I don’t want people normalizing perverted behavior from males or females. It shouldn’t be normal to always look at the opposite– or the same- sex in a sexualizing way.

This brings me to a point I want to stress a lot. Favoritism. Let’s be honest: teachers, staff, security, administrators, deans, and yes, students, all favor each other. Unfortunately, this isn’t some new information were all just learning. Each student will witness another be held higher than their peers, or be the student favored, by anyone else. You can’t stop it. I’ll be honest, there are teachers who favor me. There are teachers who very much dislike me. That is just life in general. This influences the dress code being enforced. If a teacher likes a student, they’ll turn the other cheek to a good student wearing shorts a little bit shorter or crop tops. If a teacher hasn’t hit their tenure yet, they’ll be more strict with students. It goes the same way with every other authority position in school. I hate to say this, but I’ve seen it be true. Some teachers will pick on students who don’t necessarily fit “Beauty Standards” when it comes to dress codes. I’ve haven’t personally seen it here at Richards yet, and I hope I don’t, but I’ve seen it before in middle school, and i’ve heard of cases as such in Richards. There is a lot to address here. For one, teachers should definitely not sexualize their students. When unfair treatment of students in dress codes happen, it can be because the teacher doesn’t find them physically appealing. I like to believe teachers are innocent and would not do anything like that to students, but this isn’t a fantasy world. These things can happen. But if you catch an authority figure doing it, you should report them. Unfair treatment of students isn’t suppose to be supported in school and neither should sexualizing of students.

Link to full handbook: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B5m7z8UgDo-nTm1MZ0pVZmdTbzA/view

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The student news site of Harold L. Richards High School
Dress codes: Are they one sided?