The Downside of School Dress Code

The struggles that girls go through on a daily basis at school.


Digital illustration by Kristin Starr

the reality of what happens to girl at school.

Catarina Queiroz

Some students have issues with the school dress code policy, one of them being concerns over sexism within it.

“You know, let’s say you have nurses they have a dress code, they wear scrubs, you have the police they wear the uniform, so they can be identified as that we wear uniform so we could be identified the students,” Senior Lee Navarro de Jesus said.   

Schools have dress codes to keep the students in order and make sure when they are in a school environment they are dressed appropriately, but most school dress codes target mostly younger girls, and they have a more restrictive dress code than the boys do.  

“I feel like they put it more towards us young ladies more, because they say that we distract boys and men when they should be in their proper line and respectful to us as we are the same to them. We are not saying that they need to cover up more, they need to put a shirt on because it does not distract us. If it does not distract us, being in shorts and dresses should not affect them,” Freshmen Jasmine Rodriguez said.  

Something that many students disagree on is how boys can get away with more stuff than girls can, and how girls are targeted more than boys. For example, if both a boy and a girl wore ripped jeans on many occasions the boy would get away with it, but the girl would often get dress coded because “they are a distraction”.   

“We live in a supremacy of men. Men make the rules, men make laws. Men control the world if we are being honest. Since what? Since August 1920, we got the right to vote not so long ago, in the 19th century. But I absolutely agree with that, because how come guys can wear a wife beater but girls can’t wear spaghetti straps? How come a guy can show his shoulders but a woman’s shoulders are distracting. How come guys take their shirt off but because women have breasts, they can’t do that,” Navarro said.  

Many times, boys do not have to worry about what they wear or what might happen if they get dress-coded because far often, they are not singled out the same as females. While girls must constantly think about what teachers and staff are going to say and what people think of them based on their clothing choice. Some people may suspect that most boys get away with breaking the dress code because they are boys.  

“I feel like they get away with the dress code because they are boys. A lot of teachers don’t really care. And   just in general, most people don’t care about what guys do. They can walk around with their shirt off, not a big problem.  But if girls walk around with spaghetti straps or a tank top, it is not ok for anyone. I feel like they can do whatever they want. And because we are ladies, and most of the stuff that happens with guys, it is our fault because they are getting distracted by us. They are making it seem like it is ok for guys to do whatever they want but girls have to be restricted because of what our body looks like,” Rodriguez said.   

Restrictive dress codes can affect what girls think about themselves. They can make girls acutely aware of how they look in certain clothes and stop them from wearing what they feel comfortable in.

“I definitely think that girls think down on themselves because of the dress code, because if a female or anybody in general is not allowed to express  themselves as they please, because  we are forced to cover up our bodies, like our shoulders, or we can’t wear pants that are above our knees, or we can’t even wear jeans with rips on them, and stuff like that we feel  comfortable using we are forced  to wear what other people want us to  wear, then that is what affects our personality, because then  we are walking around with an another image that we truly aren’t,” Senior Emily Bobadilla said.  
Most people agree that something must be done about this, because girls are going to school as a place of learning and being sexualized and called out for what she is comfortable wearing in her own skin 

“I think that females and males should have the same dress code. Because even though we do have different body parts, we each still have the same body. Like for example, females, we can’t wear certain things that shows our breasts but there are guys and I mean this in the nicest way possible, who are a little heavy and have bigger chest than females, but they can still wear as they please and don’t get like offended type thing. But if a female, does it, then it is in the wrong because we have different bodies. We should all have the same dress code if there is going to be a dress code,” Bobadilla said.