Schools should implement gender neutral dress codes
September 6, 2019
Many people have come to see clothing as a form of expression as opposed to just a show of status. This new idea has started a discussion about old dress codes and traditional ideas of clothing. Typically, these dress codes state that women should be covered up and look very modest, while men’s hair styles and facial hair are to be minimal. Personally, I believe that schools should not put so much importance on dress codes. Schools already have many responsibilities and goals when educating students and during many classes, dress code violations take up time that could be spent more productively. Administrators should focus on educating and bettering students and be less concerned with the clothes students are wearing.
According to the Central High School Student Handbook, students are not permitted to wear spaghetti straps, short shorts, pajamas or loungewear. Spaghetti straps are usually worn by female students as well as shorter shorts. These two rules seem unreasonable as there is nothing inherently sexual about shoulders, and women’s shorts are made shorter than men’s shorts. Pajamas and lounge wear are also very broad restrictions. Are students allowed to wear sweatpants or sweatshirts? Shouldn’t students be allowed to be comfortable in their learning environment? This gray area leaves much to be desired in our handbook.
While schools may have to have dress code rules to protect students from hate speech or other problems, they can adopt gender neutral dress codes in order to solve these problems. This dress code states that shirts must have straps, shorts must be at least 3 inches in length and the entire area from the top of your shirt to the bottom of your shorts must be covered. This would prevent bias dress codes that unfairly target based on gender and provide very clearly stated rules.
Another point to consider when discussing this topic is the different ways clothing is used in modern-day society. Clothing is used to express political stances, religious beliefs and personal interests and preferences. An individual’s clothing style can also be used to express their individuality and complexity. For many people, the way they dress is an outlet. Taking away this outlet could be emotionally and mentally taxing, like telling Beyonce she cannot make music anymore or telling Stephen King he can never write again. Students should be able to freely express themselves through clothing style as long as this expression does not harm others.
Schools should put less emphasis on school dress codes and more emphasis on school curriculum and other educational priorities. A person’s style of clothing is a unique expression of that individual and should be left up to him or her regardless of gender, as long as their expression does not harm others.