New dress code lessens sexism toward girls and demonstrates open-mindedness about modern clothing

October 16, 2018 — by Selena Liu

At the start of the school year, the administration revealed a dress code that aims to be more specific about what items students can and cannot wear.

This new policy was agreed upon by a committee of teachers, administrators and student leadership that collectively formulated the policy and differentiated between appropriate and inappropriate clothing, according to the 2018-2019 Student Handbook.

The creation of this new policy helps lessen gender discrimination. In schools nationwide, there has been a long-term issue where schools form dress code policies that prohibit female clothing that serves as a “distraction” to boys.

According to parental education institution Motherly, “the language of dress code policies often [makes] boys’ reactions, behaviors and distractions the responsibility of their female peers. It’s an attitude the perpetuates misogyny, laying the groundwork for the ‘she was asking for it’ perception of sexual harassment and assault.”

This type of traditional dress code policy, which objectifies female students to quantify them only as “distractions” in the school environment, is inherently discriminatory. With the creation of its new dress code, the school bans certain types of clothing rather than banning the general exposure of female body parts that are deemed too “distracting.” As a result, the new dress code is fairer to female students.

Additionally, whereas in previous years teachers could make judgments based on their interpretation of the dress code policy, now teachers can only cite students for violating rules explicitly stated in the clothing policy, making dress coding students a much more straightforward process. This process can both save time and shorten a potentially awkward situation for both the student and the teacher when a student is given a violation.

The dress code in the past was less than half as long as the current dress code, and it only included vague general rules about what students should or should not wear. For example, the old rules prohibited “any clothing disruptive to the teaching/learning process,” yet no specific types of clothing were specified in the policy besides clothing that depicted violence or exposed inappropriate body parts.

The more specific and concrete policy prevents the targeting of female students for violations.

For example, in the new policy, the school has specifically permitted spaghetti strap tank tops, halter tops and clothing that exposes cleavage, as long as this clothing does not expose other prohibited body parts. By permitting these varieties of clothing, the school has shown that they take into consideration both genders’ range of clothing and the types of clothing regularly worn in teen fashion.

Times have changed in terms of both clothes and attitudes toward gender discrimination. The new, more specific dress code policy has finally accommodated this shift, and to counter possible gender discrimination, the formation of this new policy demonstrates the school’s new open-minded attitude toward modern female clothing types.