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Dress Code Sexism In Schools

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As part of the Jefferson County Code of Conduct, the school dress code has always been a major concern with the administration and students in Shades Valley/JCIB. I, and many other females, have experienced shame because of the clothes we wear. I assume that this is because the administration believes that feminine clothing would cause a distraction and make male students uncomfortable. However, it is immoral to discipline female students for the actions of others, especially when it was not your intention to do anything malicious. Jefferson County unfairly targets females and, as a result, the dress code should be made more gender neutral.

The code of conduct clearly states their restriction on female clothing, and only female clothing. The majority of the rules have to do with covering certain body parts, such as the stomach and chest. Rules indicate that skirts,dresses, and shorts can be no shorter than 4 inches above the knee and that your midriff and back should not be seen (JEFCOED Code of Conduct). Other rules include wearing a cover over tank tops,cutoff tops, and leggings. Articles of clothing such as leggings, dresses, and tank tops are usually worn by females. At the same time, if a guy were to wear a tank top he would most likely be overlooked because there is not really anything to hide but muscles and skin. Girls, on the other hand, are built differently and tank tops would cause a problem. This is basically body shaming at the expense of girls. According to Amber Thomas, a journalist engineer for The Pudding, ‘77% of schools’ policies specifically prohibit the visibility of certain body parts’ (2019).

In comparison to girls, a guys wardrobe is fairly simple. It may include t shirts, athletic tops,basketball shorts, and ripped jeans. Girls, on the other hand, have access to a broader variety of clothing and accessories ranging from headwraps,jewelry, and different types of tops (JEFCOED Code of Conduct).The dress code should be more lineauant considering the way modern fashion is.We, as young people, tend to like to stay up to date with these fashion trends. According to Jennifer Betts , a teacher for several schools, a child’s teenage years are when they care most about their self image and because of this kids tend to dress like their peers. But everyone is built differently. A pair of clothes on one person may violate the dress code and may not on someone else (Betts, 2019). For example, a shirt that was meant to be a midriff top looks like a regular t-shirt on someone who is short, but on a taller girl it might expose her stomach. Then, you have just picked on someone for being tall. The dress code then sends a negative message that makes teenagers self conscious of their body and lower their self esteem. Then,a new problem arises where the student would have to find new clothes. Out of the wide variety of feminine clothes available almost half of them are prohibited because of today’s fashion trends. According to a study conducted by The Pudding , 41% of ‘tween’ girl clothing was considered distracting (Thomas, 2019). This means it must be difficult to find clothing that correlate with the dress code. However, some schools such as Shades Valley and JCIB make up for this by permitted certain coverage under pants with rips above the knee and more. The code of conduct should implement this so females would not have to worry about the exposure of skin on the leg.

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The male dress code targets how guys wear their clothes, and nothing else. The Jefferson County Code of Conduct states, ‘Students are to wear clothing in the manner for which it is designed. Pants must be worn at the waist’. Other rules include the prohibition of wearing hair picks in hair. These two rules are the only rules that are aimed only to the male gender, meaning that more than half of the dress code are aimed toward females. Other students would not have to stress as much over what to wear. According to Thomas, 50 percent of 481 US schools ban sagging pants while 60 to 70 percent ban short shorts. Both of these trends could expose skin above the knee, yet the dress code is stricter against short shorts, making it unfair towards females.

Nevertheless, critics of a strict dress code will probably argue that a strict dress code prevents distraction and provides a more productive school environment because do not have to constantly worry about what to wear. However, according to Betts, banning so much clothing “takes away a female student’s comfort level at best, and at worst, suggests that boys should be comfortable but [girls do not need the same comfort]”(Betts). The dress code implies that is not necessary to pull a female from class because of her clothing, creating a negative influence on her grades and making a male’s education more important. At the same time, a girl’s education should be of equal importance.Instead of saying that certain clothing is distracting, try to fix the behavior of the distracted. Yes, students would not have to worry about what to wear but they would still want to look good in the fashion of their choice. When a person dressed in what they like it makes them look good,feel good, and feel more lively. The more confident you are in your own clothes and skin, the more motivated and productive you could be.

School dress codes in Jefferson County and all over the US seem focus primarily on gender stereotypes, instead of what is really important: the children’s education. These stereotypes do not account for the tremendous amount of modern clothing that may not abide to it, as well as the negative effects and messages it has sent to the young world. The school dress code should be revised so that it does not unfairly target females and creates fair ground for both genders.

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Dress Code Sexism In Schools. (2021, August 18). Edubirdie. Retrieved September 25, 2023, from
“Dress Code Sexism In Schools.” Edubirdie, 18 Aug. 2021,
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Dress Code Sexism In Schools [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2021 Aug 18 [cited 2023 Sept 25]. Available from:
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