From the blog

I’m Still Mad About Dress Codes

Here I go again.

When I was getting ready to leave for college this summer, I packed up all of my favorite clothes and stuffed them in large boxes. What I soon came to realize was that my wardrobe was dictated by the ridiculously sexist standards that I had been forced to comply with for the past 12 years of my life.

The first thing as I did as a student free of the public school system was buy a ridiculous amount of running shorts. I am not a runner. But it is beyond liberating to slip on a pair of comfy shorts that hit mid thigh in the morning without worrying what my administration will think of me wearing pants that are shorter than an inch above my knee.

And guess what I did yesterday? Ordered a sweater that is cut out on the shoulders. Guess what we weren’t allowed to do in high school? Show our shoulders.

So, yes, I am enjoying the freedom of college. More importantly, I am enjoying finally feeling like my body isn’t seen as a safety hazard for hormonal teenage boys around me.

If you aren’t aware of these ludicrous policies implemented in most school systems, I can explain from personal experience how absolutely disgusting they are. At my high school, dresses, shorts, and skirts were to be no shorter than 3 inches above the knee. Shoulders had to be covered at all times. Girls were not allowed to show cleavage. If these rules were broken the student would be sent home.

What’s wrong with this? Well, first of all, we’re teaching girls that their bodies are something that should be covered at all times to better accommodate males. There are very few dress code rules that actually apply to boys. Secondly, by sending these girls home when they break the dress code, we’re teaching them that what they wear and how they look is more important than their education.

Girls with larger chests can’t help how their boobs look in a shirt. Taller girls can’t help that dresses, skirts, and shorts are shorter on them than most people (speaking from personal experience here: buying dresses is super hard when you’re tall…like, you have no idea). So suddenly we’re supposed to change how we dress and how we act so that boys aren’t distracted by how we look?

Here’s my solution to this problem: send boys home for ogling at girls. If they’re unable to control themselves in school, maybe they should be the ones to change their behavior. Eventually we all have to be mature enough to be responsible for our own actions, so why not start now?

I realize that I’m biased and probably a little too bitter to be taken completely seriously, but now that I’m free to dress as I please I realize that nothing about this system was fair. If this behavior is acceptable, I’m afraid to ask what will come next.

As I sit here and type this post, I am wearing a pair of tight (and probably slightly see-through) leggings and a v-neck shirt that would make my high school principle cringe. But I’m comfortable and I can promise you that there were no boys harmed in the making of this outfit.

xx Annie

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  1. So happy this blog post popped up on my newsfeed. One of the first things I noticed about college, no dress code. How after being sent home year after year from the ROPS system for my average clothing (my mother reprimanding Addams middle school principal at the time for my leggings and skirt combo in 8th grade is still a great anecdote) controlled my looks for 12 years. Being forced to almost die of heat exhaustion because I had to cover my shoulders, it is insanity. Glad you are enjoying the freedom as much as I am. (Norts are always a win) Keep on blogging :)

  2. I’ve read your comments a couple of times and thought about how to frame mine without sounding like I am some ultra conservative who thinks all women should wear burkas and speak only when spoken to. That being said there are two side to every coin. I personally am in favor of dress codes and even school uniforms. While I agree that both sexes need to learn respect for each other what I have learned is that women (especially, maybe unfortunately ,) beautiful ones have an enormous power. And lets be honest here, most of them know it. If you look at history battles have been fought over women, in nature the males will fight for a female while she really doesn’t care. You are tasting the winds of freedom for the first time and it is a heady feeling to know that you can make your own choices but you have to be knowledgeable about them. You know that men and women mature at different rates and stages. Young men and young women in high school are both running on hormone charged energy and while girls are flexing their new found womanhood they are usually quicker to realize that lines should be drawn. Young men operate in a haze when they are around a girl they like and are much quicker to act on impulse and to hear only what they want to hear.. Young women want to enhance this power they are realizing they have and dress is one way to do that. You have admit that it feels good to walk into a room and have heads turn and eyes glaze and if it hasn’t happened for you yet it will. Supposedly the majority of young men eventually become more mature in their attitudes and are able to filter thru the lusty testosterone (and occasionally alcohol fueled) fog and realize that short skirts or low necklines are not necessarily a call to action but simply a statement of a woman’s comfort with and appreciation of her own body. So I guess what all this actually means is dress as you like as it is your right but keep in mind that with this power you have comes the responsibility to wield it wisely and fairly. Recognize problem situations before they arise and you can deal with them as the wonderful adult you are fast becoming.

    1. If someone were to get into a car accident because they were distracted by the bright colors of billboard on the side of the road, the driver who crashed their car would still be held responsible for any harm they caused. We might require the billboard to use a less flashy design, but we wouldn’t sue the company that was advertising and ban all advertising via billboards in the United States.

      I do agree that in theory, dress codes are necessary (especially in high school). I don’t think that high schoolers should be allowed to show up to school wearing bikinis and boxer shorts not because it’s distracting, but because it’s not appropriate for the setting. I have heard arguments that we need these dress codes, and it’s okay to have them as long as they’re just a guideline for how everyone should dress, rather than a reason to target girls for penalization whenever a boy reacts to their attire inappropriately. I’m not sure I agree with this because I am still of the mindset that I shouldn’t have to change the way I act or dress to better suit the males around me, but I do understand the practicality of this argument. Either way, it says a lot about today’s society that we would rather send girls home (thus taking away from their education) than ask boys to change their behavior. I think that we need to shift our mindset so that we stop making excuses and start asking people to take responsibility for their own actions, but that’s just me.

      Thank you for your response though, I really enjoyed reading it. :)

  3. Hey Ann!
    I just found your blog and it’s my new favorite thing! I love this post, I showed it to my friends and it’s just so true. Hope to see you soon! :)

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