Daily 49er

Breaking the code

Dress codes that unfairly target girls miss the real problem.

School+dress+codes+often+target+shorts+and+bare+shoulders%2C+resulting+in+female+students+being+more+susceptible+to+disciplinary+action.
School dress codes often target shorts and bare shoulders, resulting in female students being more susceptible to disciplinary action.

School dress codes often target shorts and bare shoulders, resulting in female students being more susceptible to disciplinary action.

School dress codes often target shorts and bare shoulders, resulting in female students being more susceptible to disciplinary action.

Lorraine Debbas, Staff Writer

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In college, the idea of strict dress codes is absurd. Today I woke up to sunny weather and threw on shorts and a tank top without hesitating.

Seven years ago, this decision would have cost me a shameful walk to the front office and an outfit change into boy’s gym shorts and a T-shirt. Flashback to spring in seventh grade, when the weather was warm and the girls decided to break out their shorts and tank tops.

We would hide from administrators and teachers in fear of being reprimanded for our skirts and camisoles. To us, it was spring apparel, but to administrators, it was like we were running around half-naked and asking for attention.

To those strict administrators enforcing dress codes: Please stop. You’re not helping boys and you’re definitely not helping girls.

Girls should not take the blame for boys being unable to focus in class because of their desires. Changing how girls dress is not going to fix the problem; it’s only the tip of the iceberg. Society needs to work on how to fix the attitudes of boys and how to respond to sexual temptation.  

For school administrators, the rules were simple: skirts and shorts need to pass your fingertips, shirts needed to cover your shoulders, bra straps must be hidden. However, with schools hosting a wide range of body types, the strict dress codes enforced by schools are impossible to uphold.

How can a vague word like modesty be defined and applied to all girls with different body types? The middle school rule of wearing shorts longer than your fingertips was impossible for a string-bean middle school girl like me.

Schools enforcing modest clothing for the sake of keeping boys from getting distracted in class is impossible. Some guys will be turned on if a girl even breathes in their direction. Covering her shoulders by a couple of inches will not help him out.

Long Beach Unified School District has a uniform policy for the public school system. After enforcing the uniforms in 1994 the district saw a decrease in sexual offense by 74 percent. But what happens when these boys and girls graduate and enter the real world? Is this how we stop sexual assault? By making everyone wear the same outfits?

Maybe modesty isn’t a girl’s body problem, but a guy’s attitude problem.

I tried my best to not break the dress code. These regulations made me feel uncomfortable with my body in an already awkward stage of my life. There has to be a better way to handle how students dress.

Here’s an idea:

Instead of strict dress code rules and enforcement for girls, what if there were loose case-by-case guidelines for both girls and boys?

However, if the girl or boy just wants to wear a trendy outfit let them wear what they feel comfortable in and let them express their unique personalities.

 

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