Dress Code & Discrimination

Are current school dress codes biased against female students?

Many dress codes throughout the country - in both private and public schools - often target female students by banning clothing that is commonly worn by female students, such as leggings, yoga pants, and tank tops. Female students also are often kicked out of class and subjected to suggestive looks and comments from older adults based on their attire.

Take for example a case just this week in Florida. A female student was pulled from her class for having a rip in her jeans at her knees. Her mother, describing the incident said:

In the middle of a quiz in her IB History class, a male administrator came to classroom, told her she needed to consider the guys in her class and their hormones when choosing her wardrobe, yanked her out of class and threw her into In School Suspension for the remainder of the day. So she missed an entire day of core classes and couldn’t finish her quiz.

The rhetoric in this statement highlights a common rationale behind many dress codes: it is "distracting" to other students and there should be a certain standard to ensure all students dress in a more conservative manner. Others, however, see this as targeting women in particular. For example, my own high school permitted boys to wear tank tops but prohibited girls from doing the same.

With this, do you feel as if there is an inherent bias against female students in school dress codes, or is this just an inconvenient consequence of an overall necessary policy? 

 

Other question(s) to consider:

- What are other ways to approach this issue? In other words, should we be seeing the way girls dress as the root cause for "distraction," or could we instead focus on other things, such as teaching students to not view / sexualize women in this way?

 

Sources:

- http://www.foxnews.com/lifestyle/2018/09/24/west-palm-beach-county-mayor-calls-out-daughters-high-school-for-sexist-response-to-dress-code-violation.html

- https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/sexist-school-dress-codes-and-the-oregon-now-model_us_59a6cd7ee4b00795c2a318e5


Additional Reading:

- https://www.aclu.org/blog/free-speech/student-speech-and-privacy/we-took-our-schools-sexist-dress-code-and-we-won

 

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