The dress code heats things up

As the summer months roll around, students begin to be reprimanded for their clothing.


By Zoe Prekop ’15

News flash: male student fails test due to bare female shoulders! *Gasp* Nothing like spaghetti straps to blame a student for being “inappropriate.”

During the warmer months of high school, there is one rule that causes female students to retaliate. Students are “examined” as they walk into school (as if they aren’t put through enough judgement already from social media-crazed teens.) Yes, that trend is the dress code.

I understand that a college preparatory school is a place to prepare us for the future. That is important. But what are those expectations? What are the standards we are being put up against when we walk into school before 8 a.m. every morning?

Being a female senior at Jones, I’ve seen this happen every year. Regarding various high schools throughout the U.S., the topic spurs articles on students standing up to their administration and photos of female students in their deemed “inappropriate” attire.  But does anything get resolved? Does administration ever take back their “policy” that they implemented? Nobody ever knows and there needs to be a change.

While the dress code is very vague overall, it is also biased against women. As the styles change, so do the “policies.” And somehow they always seem to ban what is popular. Clothing changes and so should the rules. We are living in a time when progress is encouraged yet we are still stuck in this pathetic rut. Let’s get it together.

Just this year, I have seen students at Jones subjected to unfair punishments due to their clothing. One such punishment was for wearing crop tops. With the ever-changing trends in the fashion world, high waisted bottoms are in. And what to wear with those great high waisted American Apparel jeans you just bought? A crop top. But to administration, this new trend is a no-go because when you lift your arms (oh no!) your sexualized midriff shows. The horror. Girls have been forced to put on Jones T-shirts over their oh-so-seductive short tops. Their phones are then taken away and will only be returned to them at the end of the day.

What. Does. This. Accomplish? Nothing.

A sense of security is diminished when the administration makes students put on big, bulky T-shirts to hide their features. Also, why are their phones taken away? Are they being punished? What is the correlation? “Oh, you are wearing a distracting outfit. Your phone should be taken away immediately to fix this problem. Here, let me keep you from your first period class while I get you unsuitable clothing to hide your femininity. It’s much more important for male students to learn and not be distracted than for you to be comfortable. Sorry.”

Which brings me to another point: the argument by administrations that female students are a distraction to male students when wearing “inappropriate” clothing.

This argument is unbelievably upsetting to me for multiple reasons. In 2015, why are we still putting women after men? Why are we a distraction? Why are you speaking for the male students at Jones? Are YOU, the administration, looking at me inappropriately and judging what is deemed respectable and unsuitable? Not only does this sexualize women’s bodies, but it puts the male students in an unfair position as well.

If male students were to dress in these types of attire, would they be reprimanded? While this question may not be tested by male students, it still encourages the fact that most female students’ popular fashion choices are described as inappropriate in the student handbook.

Also,  another question: should these female students be ashamed of their bodies? If you were to walk into school and immediately be judged for what you look like, doesn’t that immediately make administration just like the bullies they are trying to eliminate? That’s up to you to decide.

Clothing looks different on different people. It just does. We aren’t Barbie and Ken dolls. We have different shapes, sizes, and heights. So why does everyone have to go by the same “policy?” If two students wear the same exact shorts, but one student is taller than the other student, that immediately changes the “policy” of middle-finger-to-end-of-bottoms rule. The taller student is criticized and shamed, while the other student is encouraged for dressing “appropriately.” This is just due to the amount of scandalous thigh they are showing.

While the school may not mean to instill ideas of our ever-present rape culture at Jones, it does. When students are told what is inappropriate and distracting, they will associate that with events outside of school. When I refer to the rape culture, I am referring to the false idea that if you are wearing something revealing, you’re asking for it. This idea, in terms of the dress code, is exactly what this type of “policy” enforces. With what “good” intentions the rules regarding clothing may have, they are toppled when it comes to their negative effects.

So there’s your news flash.

I rest my case.