Are school dress codes telling girls to change for the comfort of boys?

By Elizabeth Patch ‘21

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“You cannot wear that. Your shoulders are showing.” “Your outfit is a distraction.” Are these strict dress code rules making girls change because a guy simply cannot control himself at the sight of a female’s shoulders? This is a huge issue when it comes to girls with self-confidence. Simply showing a shoulder or maybe a thigh is not what people should be looking down upon. Just these “small” rules could cause major damage to a girls’ self-esteem at an early age by body shaming.

In today’s generation a woman’s body is constantly being discriminated. This issue causes women to stop wearing clothing they are most comfortable in because of the fear of getting body shamed. It is said to be a distraction during the school day, but maybe boys should be taught to focus instead of gawking.

Enforcing the dress code makes girls feel bad about themselves, especially when they thought they were dressing appropriately. These codes are training girls to not distract boys and to make sure we conform to the stereotypical prejudices we are subjected to. This makes girls believe that sexualization is the fault of the girl and not the person sexualizing her.

Dress codes teach people that girls’ bodies are something to keep hidden, and that it’s scandalous to show too much skin, even if it’s just your shoulders. It leads toward confidence issues and sets a standard in society on how girls should be seen and how they should behave.

We’re not influencing modesty of student focus as a collective here. We’re shaming women’s bodies and favoring male education. Subjecting women to this kind of treatment is what really can ruin one’s self-esteem. Self-confidence is a huge part of someone’s life, but if they do not have it, how will they ever feel comfortable? Big whoop if a girl’s shoulder is showing, or maybe her thigh. It’s time to think. Is shaming girls for what they wear worse than the dress code itself?

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