Dress Code: Why is it Mostly a Female Struggle?


Courtesy of Tribune News Service.

A ten year old girl in shorts.

Z Goodman, Fashionista Brigade

As you all know the weather’s getting nicer, and that means I will not be covered head to toe in scarves, hats in sweaters. I will be wearing shorts and tank tops because it reality I am only human and I get hot. However, here at school we have a dress code which is mainly directed at female students.

It was forecast to be 80 degrees today and I was excited to wear shorts. I’ve had my outfit picked out since Sunday afternoon, and could not wait to wear my shorts. I got ready this morning (with my shorts on) and headed out the door in order to catch the bus. As I sat on the bus I began to think, “are my shorts too short?”and “Will I get dress coded today?” I have heard stories of female friends of mine being dress coded for things that I felt to be appropriate for school. What if this was the same case for me? The whole bus ride I was sitting there and dreading the thought of being dress coded. I finally got off the bus and successfully made it to homeroom without being dress coded. I was relieved, and that’s when I started thinking, I shouldn’t be afraid to get dress coded. Does any male who attends this school really have such worries?

The Indian River 2015 Handbook has a brief section on dress code, the rules regarding to female students are very vague and unclear, leaving much room for interpretation. The dress code begins with “Be safe, appropriate and not disrupt or interfere with the educational process” Who determines what is safe and appropriate? How will my outfit serve as a disruption? (These things aren’t explained in the Student Code.)

The dress code continues with some brief rules on clothing that can be deemed as offensive or disruptive, most of which is focused on female clothes: “Recognize that brief garments such as: tube tops, net tops, halter tops, spaghetti straps, plunging necklines (front and/or back), short shorts and/or skirts, and see-through garments are not appropriate. Midriffs must be covered and tops and bottoms must touch. This list is not inclusive.” So, exactly how long should my shorts be? Shouldn’t I be able to determine what is appropriate for myself?

Getting dressed in the morning should not be a game of  “Will I get dress coded for this or not?” My shorts or tank tops are not distracting to anyone–if my mother is OK with my outfit, why does the school have any say?  And if anyone here is choosing to sexualize high school girls, they are the problem.  I am at school to receive an education, not be anxious on whether this outfit will get me in trouble. To me, having to worry about that interferes with my education process.