Here is a link to an interesting article about the challenges high school principles and administrators face when it comes to enforcing dress codes after a rash of negative publicity has exploded across the country calling out sexist bias in their policies.
It explains some of the ideas administrators have come up with to address the issue of sexism in schools including gender neutral dress codes and getting students involved.
If you have been following my twitter for a while, then you know how I feel about dress codes. It will be interesting to see if gender neutral dress codes will be a step forward, or if they will only be a new layer of bullshit for those who are in control to hide behind.
And even if these dress codes are truly gender neutral, there’s no logical reason that midriffs or cleavage must be covered up considering that those body parts are not inherently sexual or shameful. Let’s be real: I don’t think a V-neck or a crop top will stand in the way of any student’s education.
Plus, selective enforcement will be a problem with any dress code that revolves around modesty, whether or not it’s gender neutral on paper. For example, if you send me home for my shorts but look the other way when a male person breaks dress code, that’s sexism in action.
I have a suggestion for school administrators: you should keep reasonable rules for school dress codes such as no gang attire, no explicit imagery, and no pajamas. But, it’s time to do away with dress code rules that ban shoulders, legs, midriffs, and bra straps.
Dress codes are too often utilized to police women’s bodies and absolve men from blame when they sexualize us. Something needs to be done, and I’m glad to see that school administrators are realizing it.