Dress code protests need to be for the right reason

Not every policy is unfair

Taylor Anderson, JAG reporter

In recent months, the topic of dress codes in schools has become more prevalent in the news. Teenage girls nationwide are protesting against the banning of crop-tops, low-cut tops, short shorts and skirts in schools. They argue that they should be allowed to express themselves by wearing whatever they want. I’ll be honest; as someone who advocates for dress code changes, these protests bother me a lot. While I’m thrilled this issue is getting the attention it deserves, it seems like everyone is missing the point.

The real problem with dress codes is that these policies demean young women. Girls are forced to miss class while they change clothes because the sight of their thighs or shoulders is evidently too “distracting” for male students. We are fortunate enough to attend a school with a reasonable dress code policy. If someone is forced to change at MV, it’s because their outfit is definitely not appropriate for school. Others aren’t so lucky.

Last spring, a Virginia girl was kicked out of prom by a male chaperone for wearing a dress he thought was too short. Though the dress met the school’s dress code standards, the administration still upheld the decision. There have been many other similar instances in which girls have been treated unfairly based on what they wore to school or school events. In October, a girl in Florida was forced to wear a “dress-code violation suit” and a high school in North Dakota banned girls from wearing skinny jeans. Policies like these are ridiculous and unfair.

While these instances are problematic, not every dress code rule is unreasonable. Many girls protesting are simply upset because they got in trouble for wearing something that clearly wasn’t appropriate. Teachers and parents argue that dress codes should be enforced as you’ll likely have a dress code at your future job. I would have to agree. You wouldn’t wear shorts to a wedding or a t-shirt to a funeral, so I don’t think it’s unreasonable that there are some things you shouldn’t be allowed to wear to school.

The real issue is that some policies are too strict and unfair to girls, not that you had to change for wearing shorts that don’t cover your butt. If you’re going to protest about dress codes, do it because girls across the country deserve to be treated better, not because you can’t wear a crop-top to class.

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