And now it’s collarbones

In Woodford County, Kentucky, a young woman named Stephanie Hughes was allegedly released from school for a dress code violation. Here’s what she wore:

The story says she was released because the shirt showed her collarbones. Except she’s not wearing a shirt. She’s wearing a tank top with a sweater-like garment over top — pardon my lack of knowledge of female fashion.

Here’s the dress code for the school in question regarding shirts (emphasis mine):

Rounded crewneck shirts are to be worn by all students. The only exception is when they wear a button down shirt (polo style or dress shirt) which may only have the top button open. A crewneck is defined as a rounded neck t-shirt that does not extend below the collarbone. Turtlenecks and mock turtlenecks may be worn in place of a crewneck shirt. All scoop neck, v-neck and tank tops are prohibited unless worn with a crewneck shirt. Other shirts may be worn in addition to the crewneck shirt. All shirts must meet the following criteria:

  • Sleeve must have a measurable underarm seam
  • Must be able to be tucked in even during movement (although does not have to be tucked in)
  • Midriff should remain covered at all times
  • Must not extend below the collarbone

As emphasized above, the dress code applies to all students. And it’s clear that Stephanie violated it, willingly and, I’m willing to bet, knowingly. And her mother is complaining when it’s both hers and her daughter’s combined responsibility to ensure she is compliant with the dress code.

Hey look, mothers and fathers, dress codes exist in schools for a reason: they exist in the professional world as well. The best time for them to get used to these dress codes is while they’re still in school. About 1 in 5 public schools have even gone so far as to require a uniform.

Yet these dress codes are routinely criticized as being misogynistic and biased against girls and young women. Or at the least disproportionately enforced against girls and young women. But if that’s the case, it’s likely because young women are more likely to violate the dress code. Given how much of young women’s fashion has clashed with dress codes, I’d say it’s a reasonable hypothesis. While men also wear flip flops, women seem more inclined to do so, along with wearing shorts that don’t extend far enough to satisfy a number of dress codes.

The dress code, as quoted above, is pretty clear as to what is not allowed, and what Stephanie chose to wear to school qualifies on that mark. Did she actually read the dress code?

The above image was also posted to Imgur (from where I’m embedding it), and a follow-up to it was posted on August 15:

Our dress code states that all students must wear a crewneck shirt. This was instituted to remove any subjectivity from the dress code (because really how does one measure cleavage appropriately?). Of course, students began to push the boundaries and administrators were forced to define what a crewneck shirt meant. They stated that it must cover your collarbones.

No one ever said that collarbones were too sexy or distracting to be in a learning environment. Our school just wanted a simple way to enforce the dress code. And, yes, I think appropriate dress is a reasonable expectation at school. It’s not about whether boys are distracted by girls, it’s about professionalism.

Lastly, this girl wasn’t suddenly sent home witout [sic] warning. Everyone in our county knows the crewneck rule, it’s been around forever. So don’t give me that crap about parents being burdened by having to leave work to come pick up their kids. Everyone involved consciously chose to break the rule.

So a dress code has been around a long time, everyone knows about it, it’s worded in such a way as to remove subjectivity — making it enforceable against everyone in a consistent manner — and school dress codes are misogynistic? Give me a fucking break.

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