Editorial: HHS Dress Code Targets Female Students

Jenna Reiber, Reporter

Imagine being in class trying to focus on your education, when a member of the school staff pulls you out of class, possibly making you miss a crucial lesson, and forces you to change because of something that you happen to be wearing.

School dress codes should be more inclusive, rather than specifically targeting womens’ clothing.

The fact that many school dress codes specifically mention female body parts shows that these rules are aimed more towards girls than boys. Dress codes that state body parts only on a woman make female students feel like they cannot wear what they want, due to possible distractions.

The average dress code prohibits 32 items of clothing, according to “The Pudding.” Dress codes eliminating this many articles of clothing for women can make it expensive for families to meet these standards. This requirement can add stress to families and make female students feel less comfortable in what they are wearing 180 days of the year to school.

Phi Delta Kappan, an organization of veteran educators, conducted a survey at Lincoln High School and, out of the 384 responses, it showed that white females were at a slightly higher rate of being dress coded than any other group of students.

Since girls are at a higher risk for being dress coded, it implies that dress codes are targeting female students. These regulations can make female students feel ashamed of what they are wearing due to only having specific clothing for school.

Schools with dress codes that are more strict often say that these rules are to prevent distractions in class, create a workplace-like environment, reduce pressures based on social status, and limit gang activity, according to Education Weekly.

The schools with dress code reasoning similar to this often makes female students feel excluded. They feel as if they have to dress for school based on what will and won’t cause boys to lose focus.

The female portion of the student body is often blamed for wearing certain clothing items or hair styles that attract the male students. Teenage girls should not have to dress for the sake of not “distracting” the boys during class. The purpose of school is to learn, not be objectified.

“Telling girls to ‘cover up’ just as puberty hits teaches them that their bodies are inappropriate, dangerous, violable, subject to constant scrutiny and judgment, including by the adults they trust,” said the New York Times.

Dress codes often cause girls to have less self confidence in their own skin, and they struggle to understand why they have to dress a certain way to please others.

No matter what a young girl wears in middle or high school, they will always face judgment which can affect how they see themselves everyday.

To help make a change in the school dress codes, you can sign this petition, or talk to your local school officials, such as superintendent Joseph McFarland.