Is School Dress Code Ignorant?

This is the school dress code for Beatty Middle School!


Melanie Zaragoza

Is the school dress code really that great? In all honesty I believe it’s complete idiocy. It seems as if schools make the dress code strict to “protect” students. I understand why the school would want to make a school dress code, but the school’s dress code can’t be so unfair. 

Schools can’t be targeting females mostly on this. Girls have to constantly be cautious with what they wear so they don’t have to worry about being dress coded. It’s not necessary for the dress code to be so demanding.  

I asked 7th grader Leona Ashley their opinion about dress code. “I do believe that the dress code is sexist because there are certain rules that we have to obey or follow and they seem very direct depending on your gender. Overall what I think about it is that the dress code limits students’ creativity because there are many people who use their fashion to express themselves personality-wise. For example, an art school named ‘Orange County of Arts’ has very minimal things for dress code because it is an art school and I do believe they have that to let students express themselves.”

I think this student made a great point on how many people could express themselves through clothing. Clothing comes in all various colors and designs. It truly is a great way to express yourself! The problem with this would be that you only have so much limit you can do due to having the dress code. The difference between the school dress code here at Beatty and at the Orange County School Of Arts isn’t very major. However, OCA is less strict with what they are and aren’t allowed to wear. As they aren’t allowed to wear very revealing clothes, anything that discriminates against religions, cultures, or race. Nothing that encourages any violence or illegal activities.

Another 7th grader, Naraly De Avila, says, “I think the school dress code is sexist because schools care more about what girls wear other than what all genders wear. For example, girls aren’t allowed to wear leggings, this would be more towards us because it’s rare to see boys on a daily basis wearing these types of clothing items. Girls are constantly getting dress coded for every little detail, either their shoulders are showing or their jeans are ripped. I think that the whole system with a dress code is foolish.”

An 8th grader, who asked to not be identified, has similar opinions as to those above, as they think, “I don’t think school dress codes affect males at all. Our school dress codes are mainly built off of women. For example, we’re not allowed to show our stomachs, not even an inch, you can’t show your shoulders, or even wear anything past your fingers for your pants.” This student has experienced being told that they had to cover up due to it being “distracting” to their male classmates.

I wanted to get a teacher’s opinion on what they think about the school dress code having to do with students. Ms. Young shares, “I do think that the school dress code is restrictive. I don’t feel like schools are keeping in mind that all of these ripped jeans, joggers, leggings, crop tops are all in fashion today. Really that’s the only thing you can find at the store. I don’t see why you need to be so restrictive when you see all the things on a daily basis.”

If you feel comfortable with what YOU put on your body that shouldn’t be a problem at all. All the things listed are “trendy” and most adolescents wear these types of stuff. These clothes shouldn’t be distracting in a classroom or overall shouldn’t affect how students learn. 

The next male student I interviewed was biased on this. This student male believes, “I do feel like a certain aspect of the dress code is filled with misogyny, but in some aspects of the dress code it’s completely rational. Some parts are just messed up, then again there are parts where I feel like it does make sense. There is definitely a fine line where sexism is sexism, but then there is also a level of what you consider being sexism. It really depends on your beliefs of sexism. Overall in my opinion, I would say certain parts of it would be sexist.” 

I understand where this student is coming from. I think that most of the school dress code is unrealistic with their rules on it. Most of the things in the dress code aren’t really things you would see male students wear on a regular day, meaning it would be mostly towards females. 

As I kept on asking around, I got different opinions. As they thought the opposite of the people previously interviewed.

Sarah Barron, 8th grader stated, “I personally don’t think that the school dress code is sexist. There are more revealing clothes for females than males. Although, males can wear crop tops and tank tops and they would get dress coded. If they wouldn’t have gotten dress coded then the school would need to do a better job at responsibility for calling them out. In our world’s society today there are way more revealing clothes now. Either way men can still wear revealing clothes as women can too.” 

Another teacher, Mrs. Joyce says, “No, I don’t think the school dress code is sexist because there are expectations for both of them.” 

These are great reasons as to why it wouldn’t be sexist. However, this issue isn’t just local, it’s an issue all over the world. A video on social media, containing footage of a male and female wearing the same exact outfit that could be considered “breaking” the dress code. In the end, the male never ended up getting dress coded as the outfit was just completely ignored, but as to the girl she was dress coded for wearing that same exact outfit. 

I asked all around the school two questions. Is the school dress code sexist and does the school dress code affect males. The results were interesting to see. With the first question; 26 yes’s and 4 no’s. For the second question, I got 12 no’s and 2 yes. 

Most people that said it was sexist explained that it mostly targeted females and those who said no just explained that dress code affected all genders no matter what. Those who said it doesn’t affect males mostly said that since it targets females it wouldn’t really affect males. As to those who said yes mainly just said that both were equal.

When I think about this, I side more with the fact that the school dress code is sexist. The dress code could be needed for some reasons, but overall the rules in the school dress codes are extremely ignorant. It shouldn’t have to be so strict mostly to females. Girls should all have the right to be able to wear whatever they want as the same applies to males. It’s usually rare to see males getting dress-coded as for females it’s common unfortunately. As we’re told that it distracts. Male students shouldn’t find it distracting in a classroom if they’re just learning! What do you think? Is it sexist at all?