The Problem With Dress Codes

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After the 90s feminist revolution known as “Riot Grrrl,” dress codes have started to become a bit controversial. Women didn’t want to be oppressed anymore. For the longest time, women have been taught to be modest, and those who aren’t are oppressed and called derogatory terms. But, why is this? When did this start?

Modesty is very important in many religions and cultures. Some Muslim women are forced to wear a Niqab, a face veil that only reveals the woman’s eyes. Islamic prophet Muhammad is quoted saying, “O Asma’, when a woman reaches the age of puberty, nothing should be seen of her except for this and this; the hands and the face.” In the Christian religion there are multiple very sexist bible verses. “I desire…that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness—with good works.” While I was researching, blatant religious sexism was mostly justified with the excuse that “a woman shouldn’t tempt a man.”  Why should a woman live her life according to a man’s ability to control himself? The issue has become so deeply rooted in our culture that it’s treated as normalcy.

Do dress codes actually protects students? Often, schools use the excuse that dress codes are to “protect the safety of the students.” But do they actually protect us? Academically, dress codes do absolutely nothing unless the student is working with harsh chemicals. Most dress codes are in place to protect young girls from sexual assault. However, what does that teach these young girls? That their bodies are inherently sexual and they should be forced to cover up out of fear? Sexual assaults happen very often in school, regardless of the school’s dress code. The obvious solution is to teach young students not to sexually assault. The way students dress doesn’t prevent it, it encourages it. The school knows sexual assault is occurring, but instead of teaching students why it’s wrong, they’re “preventing” it by making girls cover up.

Schools need to be more aware of what’s going on at their schools. Just yesterday I saw a video of Hale kids fighting on campus. There just isn’t enough supervision during breaks. I’ve seen a lot of awful things happen at school but there were no staff to witness it. Obviously, teaching students not to sexual assault is the first step, but that doesn’t always work. It’s like, how people are taught from a very young age at school that drugs are bad, and yet many people still do them. Students need to learn that there are repercussions for their actions. Sexual assault is a crime, it should be treated as such. Suspending students isn’t enough, the school needs to get police involved, not to arrest them but to scare them. They need to be taught what will happen if they sexually assault when they’re older.

In conclusion, dress codes aren’t doing anything helpful for students. They’re teaching young girls toxic lessons and they’re not preventing sexual assault, like they’re supposed to.

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