Let’s get something straight about dress codes.
High school is when teenagers are supposed to learn what will be expected of them in the real world. And the kind of clothes they’ll be expected to wear on the job. And the fact that dress codes will be a part of your working life. Even in my office where the dress code is casual, some of what teenagers wear to school, allowable under the school’s dress code, would not be allowed. And dress codes are written to, as best as possible, remove subjectivity from the equation.
Yet it seems that teenage women across the country are clashing with dress codes, and labeling the dress codes sexist because they appear to be enforced against women more than men.
Here’s the thing. If teenage fashion, in particular teenage female fashion, is clashing with school dress codes, then fashion needs to change. Again dress codes will be a part of life, so teenagers, especially teenage women, need to learn to get used to it without complaining. In the real world, what you think “looks fine” might get you sent home from work. Without pay if you’re hourly. And repeated noncompliance with a dress code is grounds for termination.
The “distraction” excuse is really just that, and it’s something that administrators need to stop saying. Period. Justifying a dress code is no harder than merely saying “it’s what will be expected of you on the job”. Since you will be expected to comply with a dress code when working, with reprisal for noncompliance.
Perhaps we could completely remove any subjectivity and make public school uniforms universal.
Part of me, however, is actually worried about this trend. And it comes to the narrowing definitions of consent and harassment. I’m wondering if the young women today who are continually purporting the dress codes to be sexist and misogynist will be the working women of tomorrow calling it sexual harassment. Given the trends over the last couple years, I can’t help but wonder if that is the direction all of this is going.