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The Gendered Issue of School Dress Code

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Every girl who has been a student at a public school knows the struggle of dress code. Our dresses are too tight, our shorts are too short, our shirts reveal to much cleavage, our tops show too much shoulder and our leggings are too distracting. School dress codes are unfair, body shaming and reinforce rape culture.

The schools dress code clearly applies more to girls than the boys. Boy’s shorts are made longer, and they have no need to wear bras or worry about cleavage. No one is watching the length of the guys outfits but somehow the girls are always dress coded. Dress codes are created for girls. For example, Cox Mill High Schools dress code is mostly applied to girls. I understand that their need to be some sort of dress code, but girls are not waking up and wanting to go to school in a bikini. The girls just want to be comfortable and look cute without worrying about “distracting” the males.

Girls are apparently to distracting. Well what about girls being distracted? Maybe the short preppy shorts, the boxers hanging out of their pants or those drop tank top that reveal their shoulders, biceps and their side are too “distracting” to us. The problem with school dress codes is not just that there unfair but the logic behind it.

School dress codes are also body shaming. A 17-year-old girl named Kelsey Anderson was told to leave class because she violated the dress code by being “busty” and “plus size.” A principle of a high school in South Carolina announced to the school that unless you are a size 0 or 2 do not wear leggings. A 12-year-old girl wore a skirt that was 2 inches above her knee and was told that she looked like she should go clubbing. Another teen was dress coded for showing her collar bone and her principle response was “distraction always comes back to what the girl was wearing”.

Teenage girls are taught from a young age that they must be careful of what the wear in order to not distract the boys. The schools are teaching young girls that women need to wear more “modest” clothes in order to not be raped. Men can control themselves and their urges. . Men should be taught to be gentlemen instead of forcing girls to take the responsibility.

The school’s opinion on the school dress codes is that we will distract the boys. Girl at a young age are taught not to show off their bodies because of the fear of distracting the males. Schools are teaching girls that they should cover up their bodies and whatever happens to them is their fault for wearing “revealing” clothing. The fact of the matter is that the victim is not the one that should be blamed but the one who committed the actions.

The schools are taking the responsibility from the boys. By enforcing how girls dress to take the boys attention from them, the school are sending a message that is a girl’s responsibility on how boys view them. Since the responsibility is taken from the boys, girls are blamed for sexual harassment. It is not the victim’s fault. The victim is not responsible for the rapist doings. The victim did not wear leggings in hoping a man would take her against her will. The idea that clothing causes rape is false.

The idea that what women chose to wear has to do with being raped or assaulted has been around for a while. According to the Washington Post, the Supreme Court of Appeals in Rome ruled that a woman wearing jeans could not be raped in 1999. One of the questions a victim is asked by the police is “what were you wearing?”. As if what the females wears gives men consent. In 2005, Amnesty International had a poll and a third of respondents believed women were responsible for being assaulted. A Federal Commission Non-Crime of violence found out that just 4.4 percent of reported assaults involve provocative behavior. It has also been proven that rapist could not remember what the victim was wearing. Studies show that a woman who tends to cover up completely has more of a chance to be raped. In a college study 1 in 3 men say that they would rape a woman if they could get away with it. That study had nothing to do with clothing.

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The Gendered Issue Of School Dress Code. (2020, October 10). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 27, 2022, from
“The Gendered Issue Of School Dress Code.” GradesFixer, 10 Oct. 2020,
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