saying no to dress codes

school clothing restrictions unfairly target girls


Brynn Friesen, Staff Writer

I remember in middle school, specifically eighth grade, girls weren’t allowed to wear off-the-shoulder tops. Multiple girls in my grade rebelled against this policy and wore them to school anyways. They all got dress coded.

Thinking back on this, I realize how utterly ridiculous this was. Those kinds of shirts were very in style at the time, so obviously a few girls were going to own one and want to wear it. I had a few, but I was just afraid of breaking the rules, no matter how much I disagreed with them.

On top of this, most middle schoolers didn’t wear them cropped, so the only so-called “scandalous” thing about them was apparently our shoulders being flaunted. 

While most dress codes I know about have thankfully been updated from this, they still aren’t ideal for girls.

The Blue Valley district published an online reference to view the current dress codes. While most of it is agreeable, the part I can’t accept is the “provocative clothing” section.

Strappy tops are listed as something people can be dress-coded for wearing — we all know they mean women. Men can definitely wear these kinds of shirts, but the women are usually the only ones dress coded for this garment. 

Circling back to my story about middle school, I don’t understand why shoulders and collarbones are seen as risqué or distracting. I do understand why one would be dress-coded for wearing a tank top that covered practically nothing, but the fact that I have had to worry about wearing a tucked-in spaghetti strap that barely shows my chest is not OK.

Most girls in school wear bras. This is a well-known fact, so why should we have to worry so much about people seeing the straps? 

Another item of clothing mentioned in the district’s statement is “bare midriffs,” or crop tops.

When you go to any shop — Forever 21, American Eagle, etc. — they are heavily stocked with crop tops. Personally, the only shirts I wear anymore are either cropped or tucked in. 

A girl this year came up to me and a few others in a class and described how she was just asked to untie her shirt, which was showing basically two inches of her stomach.

I remember being completely shocked that someone would be asked that question over such a minor “violation” to the dress policy.

Society needs to stop treating women like they’re objects and recognize that we can wear what we want to wear while maintaining self-respect and dignity.

I am definitely not saying that dress codes should be completely done away with — some clothes are actually too inappropriate for school — however, these policies need to be heavily modified as soon as possible.