Dress code enforced: is this a recession of modern feminism?

JUST A DISTRACTION high school dresscode is a backwards policy targeting girls

Coco Meyerhofer | Writer

October 1, 2021

Dress code is truly a plague. San Clemente has recently reintroduced its dress code policies, which mainly include covering midriff and cleavage. Any major changes for the boys? Seemingly not.

If the dress code is broken, disciplinary actions will be: being told to “cover-up” and finally detention, if a student breaks the code enough times.

Dress codes are almost always targeted towards young girls and can be extremely harmful for the learning experience of those dress coded. Feeling unacceptable because of the clothing one wears can be deeply disappointing, and it is a tragedy that SCHS is regressing to this backwards policy. 

The 21st century is one of the most progressive eras of all time, with human rights being the focal point of most political discussions. In fact, the modern feminist movement has been building momentum for decades, fighting against sex-based discrimination and stereotypes for the liberation of future generations of women. 

With sexist dress codes still enforced around the US, though, it seems like we’ve hit a snag; the entire tapestry could unravel at any moment. The plague is spreading. 

Dress codes exist for the sole purpose of sexualizing young girls’ bodies–to put limits on what they have to wear because their bodies are seen as “distracting” to others on campus (boys). Women and young girls for generations have been judged for what they choose to wear because the patriarchal mindset degrades girls who show “too much skin,” or who don’t show enough. It’s a direct result of sexism to be deemed something negative because of any form of self-expression.

But this has been established time and time again. Modern feminism has fought against discrepancies like this, and, thus, the real question comes to light: Why does the educational system continue their blatant sexism, even in the face of societal change?

SCHS: your conservation of sexist standards is a humiliating recession of new ideas.

This sexualization of bodies–to automatically look at a young girl with her stomach out and label her “distracting” and “inappropriate,” and then blame her for it–perpetuates the same objectifying views of women that are the foundation of rape culture. This creates an environment with prevailing ideals that normalizes sexual harassment.

Dress code is sexual harassment. To sexualize bodies in a non-sexual context is a form of sexual harassment, and schools are encouraging it.

“Since the dress code is geared towards mostly females, we feel almost targeted by our schools,” junior Ella Jobst said. “When the administration came by and informed us of the dress code and behavior expected for homecoming, the administrator that came to my class talked only to the girls. The boys should also be talked to since they usually take their shirts off or undue them during moshing.”

Telling young women to change because they are a “distraction” places the blame on having a body, rather than the people who cannot practice self-control. 

Not to mention, it’s an assumption that all men, young boys and male teachers, cannot practice self-control. Boys aren’t sexualizing us, SCHS–you are.

“Dress codes infringe on the learning process when they are intended to aid it,” junior Mary McGraw said. “These dress codes are created to keep distractions, those being girl’s bodies, away from other students, while in the process, removing dress coded girls from the learning environment. Anyone who is sexualizing girls’ bodies should learn about respect before any girl should have to go home and change.”

To continue dress codes anywhere would be counterproductive to liberation–a safe learning environment does not encourage the sexualization of young girls, but rather puts repercussions on the individual who decides to sexualize them in the first place.

My body, my life, my clothes, my education, my choice.

3 Comments on Dress code enforced: is this a recession of modern feminism?

  1. “To sexualize bodies in a non-sexual context is a form of sexual harassment, and schools are encouraging it.” !!!!! Place blame where blame is due!

  2. “Dress codes are almost always targeted towards young girls..”
    “..Any major changes for the boys? Seemingly not.”

    The reason dress codes are almost always targeted towards young girls and there no major changes for the boys is pretty simple— young boys already choose to wear less revealing and appropriate clothing than young girls do.. and so, there is no need to make changes for the boys.

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