Are dress codes sexist?

Lanie Wood, Staff Writer

Dress codes in public high schools today have generated a community in which female students are being chastised and targeted for what they wear. Dress codes send the harmful message to teen girls that it is their responsibility if their male peers can’t concentrate in class. These policies establish the mentality that, “boys will be boys”. In today’s society, it is pertinent to change these policies. Although they are made with good intentions, they are actually detrimental to the minds of the girls victimized by them.


According to an article from The Atlantic, school administrators create dress codes to implement “safe and orderly schools that maintain an environment conductive to learning.” However, with these dress codes comes the body-objectification of female students in the classroom.


It’s no secret that HB’s dress code is far more relaxed than some of the school’s dress codes mentioned in the news. The HBHS student handbook states that “any appearance or dress that may be a distraction to the educational process or infringe on the rights of others is not permitted” and “extremely low cut, tight fitting, or transparent clothing is not allowed; in addition, bare midriffs and other suggestive clothing is unacceptable.”


Alexi Mignault ‘16 agreed with the statement that HB’s dress code is relaxed, “I don’t think our school’s dress code is strict at all. I think administration is really flexible by allowing us students to wear what we want.”


However, it seems that when violating the dress code, a majority of the time it is the female students who are being sent to the office for inappropriate clothing, not men. This is more relevant at other public schools throughout the nation. Maggie Sunseri, producer of the film, Shame: A Documentary on School Dress Code, comments that she has “never seen a boy called out for his attire even though they also break the rules.”


There has been an uproar of protests at other schools with far stricter dress code policies. Many female students across the country have taken their anger to social media.


An article posted on the Miami Herald accounts for the story of a high school student in South Carolina was chastised for wearing a skirt that ends no more than 3 inches above her knee. Another high school student from Kentucky was sent home for showing her collarbone. In an interview, the student’s mother reported, to the news station, WTVQ, “This isn’t indecent. There were several girls in the office, one was crying.” These girls have posted their experiences to social media. To many, these outfits deem as perfectly appropriate to wear to school.

While many school administrators are changing dress code policies, the body-objectification of females and what they wear is still relevant. Before sending home a student for wearing a shirt exposing her collarbone or shoulder, administrators should realize that they are causing detrimental harm to their student’s psyche.