What Do Dress Codes Say About Girls’ Bodies?

a7fbbc987e2b972ddf57c11e6c6244fd“You’re not going out dressed like that!”

“What mother would let her child wear such a short skirt?”

Think about it: How often do we police girls’ bodies? Recent talk of school dress codes reveals that it happens an awful lot, and for some confused reasons.

After a New Jersey middle school banned strapless dresses from a school dance, more schools have been making headlines with various clothing bans and restrictions. Some of these bans focus on attire for dances while others target daily wear such as yoga pants and low-cut tops. All, however, focus only on girls’ clothing, and most of these restrictions are put in place to avoid “distracting” other students (i.e. the boys).

The concern for overly exposed young bodies may be well-intentioned. With society fetishizing girls at younger and younger ages, girls are instructed to self-objectify and see themselves as sexual objects, something to be looked at. A laundry list of problems can come from obsessing over one’s appearance: eating disorders, depression, low self-worth. Who wouldn’t want to spare her daughter from these struggles?

But these dress codes fall short of being legitimately helpful. What we fail to consider when enforcing restrictions on skirt-length and the tightness of pants is the girls themselves—not just their clothes, but their thoughts, emotions, budding sexuality and self-image.

Instead, these restrictions are executed with distracted boys in mind, casting girls as inherent sexual threats needing to be tamed. Dress restrictions in schools contribute to the very problem they aim to solve: the objectification of young girls. When you tell a girl what to wear (or force her to cover up with an oversized T-shirt), you control her body. When you control a girl’s body—even if it is ostensibly for her “own good”—you take away her agency. You tell her that her body is not her own.

When you deem a girl’s dress “inappropriate,” you’re also telling her, “Because your body may distract boys, your body is inappropriate. Cover it up.” You recontextualize her body; she now exists through the male gaze.

Says Soraya Chemaly in The Huffington Post,

What is a girl supposed to think in the morning when she wakes up and tries to decide what to wear to school? They aren’t idiots. The logical conclusion of the “distracting” issue is, “Will I turn someone on if I wear this?” Now who is doing the sexualizing? My daughters would never have thought these things without the help of their school.

Suddenly, offensive hypersexuality isn’t just something a girl sees in music videos or magazines: It’s embodied in her, and her dress-coded school reminds her of that every day.

So what about those distracted young boys? Where do they come in? By barring particular outfits from school, dress codes help boys identify and objectify “inappropriate” girls and women. Girls who violate dress codes are violating rules, and girls who violate rules are bad. Bad girls can be desirable and sexy, but they don’t necessarily deserve respect (even from other girls).

And where respect is absent, objectification is easy. In her guide to self-objectification, Caroline Heldman explains how sexually objectified women are dehumanized and viewed as “less competent and worthy of empathy by both men and women.” Those who are dehumanized may be mistreated and made to feel inadequate. And if poor self-image is linked with objectification, it isn’t hard to see that this cycle feeds itself: Those who are objectified by others are treated as less than human, and in understanding themselves as less than human may self-objectify.

Asking girls to cover up is a Band-Aid solution to far more socially ingrained problems such as general misogyny and rape culture. As long as a girl or woman is always sexualized, it won’t matter how much she covers up—she’ll still be faulted for her inappropriate behavior.

It’s unfair to expect a young girl to understand the full implications of her body—implications put in place by an all-too-often misogynistic society—and punish her for not knowing better. A girl needs empowerment, not more complications in her relationship with her body. Jada Pinkett Smith had the right idea when asked why she would “let” her daughter Willow shave her head:

This is a world where women, girls are constantly reminded that they don’t belong to themselves; that their bodies are not their own, nor their power, or self determination. I made a promise to endow my little girl with the power to always know that her body, spirit, and her mind are her domain. Willow cut her hair because her beauty, her value, her worth is not measured by the length of her hair … even little girls have the right to own themselves.

Photograph credited to Lindsay Kamikawa via SanClemente Patch

Comments

  1. I am a fourteen year old girl who has recently stopped going to school because I was getting fed up with the fact that they would force girls to cover everything and anything that was skin. Yes, you should at least have enough clothe on to cover your breasts and butt, but I believe that covering your shoulder because they show is crazy! It makes girls feel like they are not good enough to feel good about their bodies. I am glad that their are certain dress codes for schools. But seriously? Half of them are just plain crazy!

    • A random girl says:

      PREACH IT!

      • somebody who's also a girl says:

        Yes! We have this problem all the time, and it’s like “so you care about boys learning more than girls getting depression and health issues??” Dress codes have gone over the top, and I totally agree. PREACH.

    • GirlPower says:

      You go girl, my friend and her boyfriend wore matching tank top to school one day (that were three fingers) and her boyfriend got a warning but she had to be sent home and she got three after school detentions. Dress code singles out teenage girls and young women.

  2. i’m not saying to let girls wear what they want. i say that if they want to wear short shorts, they should be aloud, but not to the point where their ass is hanging out. if they wanna wear tank tops, let them, but don’t let them wear belly tops or bras to school, no one wants to see that.

    • ” if they wanna wear tank tops, let them, but don’t let them wear belly tops or bras to school, no one wants to see that.”
      I think the issue is that plenty of people “want to see that”. It is becoming a huge control issue between the school, the girls, and the boys. The school is making stricter dress codes, because they believe the boys can’t control their own thoughts and behavior. They believe that if the girls are more covered the boys will do better in school because they will be less “distracted”. This seems to be sending the girls mixed messages. One, that her body is bad and needs to be covered. The other is that she has control over others with what she wears.

      • It also preaches the belief that “boys will be boys.” That there’s nothing we can do to stop it, but by preventing girls from wearing “sexual” clothing; we can combat this. I hate this belief. I hate the phrase, “boys will be boys.”

      • Also to add to that, this is making the boys think that there thoughts cant be there own, i mean like im a girl and i understand that boys think some horrible things when other girls wear certain things, but seriously not all boys are like that! Us teens cant be expected to not do something that the last generation did, you gotta live what you preach.

      • Actually, I think that the point is that it shouldn’t matter who “wants to see that.” If a girl feels her best in those clothes it shouldn’t matter what other people think of it. If she’d rather feel good in her own skin and face the (screwed-up) possibility of uncomfortable comments, then more power to her; conformity might avoid trouble but it won’t make her free. So instead of raising your daughters to cover up and be ashamed of their bodies, raise them to be themselves and stand up for themselves when someone mistakenly believes he or she has the right to judge them based on something like choice of clothing.

        • I believe that dress code is important by restricting major things like short shorts and skirts or no shoulders but at my middle school I went to, the dress code was ridiculous. And it was all girls:
          No jeans
          No shoulders showing
          No camo
          No logos or words
          Nothing four inches above the knee
          No “outerwear” (leather jackets and leather gloves arnt aloud!)
          No shirts with one thing I it it has to have a pattern

          Feet have to be covered as well as legs in the winter
          No cleavage
          No sweatpants
          No leggings
          No shoes above 1″
          No hats or anything covering the head unless it’s religous
          Heel has to be covered
          (no flip flops)
          So basically you have nothing “inappropriate” to wear
          Where I went to 5th grade the only dress code was nothing shorter than the fingertips and no shoulders. you can’t restrict a whole closet. Some dress codes don’t even help

          • anonymouss says:

            what are you supposed to wear if you cant wear jeans or anything above four inches

      • GirlPower says:

        It isn’t our job to make sure boys are paying attention in school, if you want to stare at my damn shoulder in the middle of class then I say let your grab drop. Don’t pull ME out of class because my clothing is “Provocative”

    • I agree that no one wants to see a girl walking around in a bra but there is nothing wrong with belly tops. And lots of girls wear whatever they want to school but it’s mostly a certain kind of girl that gets forced to wear over sized sweats or t-shirt. And that’s been me for four years. I’m tired of it. I agree schools should have a certain kind of dress code, to avoid girls walking around the school naked. And a 2 inch hole above the knee is not naked, nor a dress above four inches of the knee.

  3. My friend was recently sent home from a school dance because her shorts were about a cm from her fingertips. Yet the principles let girls with skirts that cut off half way down their butts. My friend is very confused because she wears the same shorts most days at school.
    Spaghetti straps are banned at my school because shoulders apparently turn guys on. It’s not like I’m going to go up to a guy and be like “look at my shoulders! Aren’t the freckles sexy? Do they turn you on?” If guys do get turned on by a girls shoulders they must have problems controlling their

    • GirlPower says:

      I was talking to my English teacher about the dress code and he said “Sometimes I have to cover my freckles because they are too attractive” Sorry but your comment reminded me of thatXD

  4. School should be treated as a more or less workplace. If you wouldn’t want to wear it to work, don’t wear it at school. I’m twenty and agree that some rules are utterly ridiculous. Like skirts being just above the knee, or not being allowed to wear tank tops that cover bra straps but I still feel like dress codes need to be enforced. Workplaces all have dress codes and they have no wiggle room for exceptions. Schools should behave the dame. If you have a uniform, then wear it. If not, dress appropriately. You’re at school to learn, your clothes should reflect that too. And the reason why girls are governed more than boys is because boys’ clothing options are much simpler.

    • I 100% agree. My highschool had a strict dress code with boys having to wear ties and shave everyday, and girls had to be appropriately covered. Starting that behavior at 14 has definitely helped me when dressing for interview/work/other formal situations. I’m sure at this school tanktops /muscle shirts are probably not allowed for boys, and I’d love to see what they would say to any boy who comes to school wearing a crop top and yoga pants. It’s not just distracting when girls do it, and by telling them to cover up doesn’t mean we’re objectifying them.

      • I read an article recently where boys did just that to show how ridiculous the standards were. There were no rules or regulations on the boys but girls were restricted. This group of brave young men came to school wearing dresses, skirts, and shirts that were not allowed under the girls’ dress code. I think one even wore yoga pants and a tank top. They were by far the most distracting thing at school that day but the school could do nothing about it as the dress code only banned those things for girls and didn’t restrict what boys could wear. Double standard much?

        If you want it to be an intro to the work place and teaching them how to dress for interviews and such both sides should be restricted. That said though, why are we constantly trying to force our children to grow up so fast? When it comes time for their first interview they will come looking to their parents and other adults in life. If they botch am interview or two for jobs early on (ie in highschool or college) they will learn quickly.

    • I think the main problem that is being addressed is that dress codes are causing women to have a hypersexualized view of their bodies. Yes dress for success is always a strong determination of how well you do in certain situations. However the way schools are attending to the problem of over revealing clothing that women wear is perpetuating rape culture. Schools should be teaching boys and girls that women’s bodies are not sexual objects. They should be teaching that a women’s clothing does not imply any implications of sex. If schools say girl’s clothing distract boys, and that’s why girls will punished for what they wear, than does that mean it is the woman’s fault when she is raped because her clothing choice implied she was “asking for it”?? In my opinion schools should focus on teaching that women’s bodies are not sexual objects.

      • Marissa says:

        “In my opinion schools should focus on teaching that women’s bodies are not sexual objects.” I couldn’t have said it better. This is all you need to know. This statement sums up the whole debate of womens dress code.

  5. A random girl says:

    This is 100% correct. I admire your intellectual input on this subject. I do not know why we are not aloud to wear spaghetti straps, it won’t “turn” anyone “on”. Something so simple can be so drastic. I once wore a shirt that covered my shoulder but not my arms, I went to the principals office because there has been some “complaints” from the faculty that the way I am dressing is provocative, they said that “if I ever see you wearing inappropriate clothing again you will be expelled” . I clearly do not agree with these terms and policies of the “New” dress code. Nothing seems to exceed their expectations. No girl in the right mind wakes up and says: “Hey today I will dress provocatively so I can turn guys on, and show my shoulders and wear a see-through shirt to get their attention….”

    • Disappointed Girl says:

      Today I was “Dress Coded” for my shirt that I thought was perfectly appropriate. It came to the edge of my shoulders, showing a minuscule amount, if any, of my “provocative” joint, but I was made to wear a jacket in 80 degree weather. Another time I was in the hallway with a group of friends, and an administrator came up to me and told me that my shorts should be no more than a sticky note’s length away from my knee. She then proceeded to hand me a sticky note, which I then placed on my leg, and found that my shorts were actually LONGER than needed. What did the administrator say? “Oh, well I guess it’s close.” If it’s close, then why the hell did you just make this big scene of “Dress Coding” me in front of a group of my peers?! Calling girls out on such insignificant “violations” doesn’t help boys, it just hurts the girl. For the rest of the day I was the one distracted, because I just had a sick feeling in my stomach for having been shamed for something I hardly think is worth it, and for having to wear a jacket in 80 degree weather! Boys can control themselves, teach them to grow up, and respect their fellow classmates. There should be a Respect Code for ALL students, not a Dress Code for Half.

  6. Sarah Todd says:

    This problem isn’t new either. Nearly a decade ago, when I was 14, my fellow female classmates were kept after school to be told that we couldn’t wear coloured bras under our white shirts. Because we would be distracting male pupils and staff. I’m sorry but shouldn’t men have the self-control not to stare at my tits. Why is it my job to police their behaviour with my outfits?

    • Someone says:

      Its called hormones. You’re trying to fight evolution with sociology.

      • Yes, boys are affected by hormones as teenagers, but they are not incapable of controlling themselves. We should be teaching boys to treat women with respect rather than teaching young girls that it is their fault boys don’t have the self-control to stop staring. This also, by extension, teaches boys that they do not have to be responsible for their actions; if a boy is caught staring at a girl and the girl gets sent to the principal’s office for her clothing, what does that teach the boy? That he can continue to objectify women (and ignore whatever lesson is being taught in class at the time) and he does not have to face any consequences—in fact, he learns that it is the girl’s fault anyway and he does not need to control himself. Boys should be taught to respect women rather than being taught to view them as mere sexual objects. It is also insulting to boys to insinuate that boys do not have that self-control. They are high schoolers not sex-driven wild animals.

        • Well put.

        • Yes, girls are affected by hormones as teenagers, but they are not incapable of controlling themselves. We should be teaching girls to treat themselves with respect rather than teaching young boys that it is their fault girls don’t have the self-control to objectify themselves. This also, by extension, teaches gilrs that they do not have to be responsible for their actions; if a girl is bothered by staring from a boy and the girl gets the boy in trouble, what does that teach the girl? That she can continue to get away with objectifying herself (and ignore whatever lesson is being taught in class at the time) and she does not have to face any consequences—in fact, she learns that it is the boy’s fault anyway and she does not need to control her behavior, or make better decisions. Girls should be taught to respect men rather than being taught to show others that they are mere sexual objects. It is also insulting to girls to insinuate that girls do not have that self-control. They are high schoolers not attention hungry wild animals.

          • Natalie Ryan says:

            Nobody objectifies themselves, rather other people choose to objectify you within their own minds. No matter what I do, I can not control what other people think. The only people that can control what you think is yourself. By imposing dress codes, we are teaching boys that if they get distracted when they are wearing summer clothing, that it’s not their fault, it’s the girls fault, which you perfectly exemplified in your response. You said girls shouldn’t be responsible for their actions (sarcastically), but you realize that the girl is literally doing nothing, she’s just sitting in class getting an education. You control your own thoughts, your own mind, your body and your actions regardless of what someone else is doing. Wearing a crop top doesn’t mean that I’m showing myself as a mere sexual object, and if you think that, well it says a lot more about you than it does about me.

      • That is rape culture

    • Bill Hayes says:

      You are absolutely right! Stand up for equality!

  7. I have read through a lot of these comments and I have sympathy for the innocence behind wearing some things for comfort or style. However prior to comming here i went to another website, and was reading about over sexualised and sexually Exploited girls.Girls who wish that someone would have let them be little girls for a little bit longer. You know what……….as a mother of a young girl I’d rather hear you moan and groan that I was too conservative and that I didn’t let you express yourself enough and that I was too much of a prude or crazy or overbearing and mean, then spend one more second with my heart wrenching in sorrow from reading the comments coming from young girls. Eyes that have seen atrocities then I never want to imagine. So you go ahead and get angry that there still is a standard for some people that you don’t like.but the constant re occuring culprit,is that ,they all wish someone would have taught them self respect is gained through character, not through pair of heals, mini skirt and a tiny top. They wish someone told them NO ….Consistently.And taught them how to deal with it while it was easy. Perhaps reading some of the broken ones stories might make you button your blous one more notch for the sake keeping all our standards high!

    • As much as I agree, it is about educating your daughter. My mum pretty much always let me wear what I wanted, but there were clothes that she wouldn’t pay for. Making sure your daughter knows the nature of your issues with her attire is important, just saying no is just going to make her upset and sneak around behind your back to wear something just as, if not more revealing than what you told her not to wear. I saw it with friend after friend in high school and I’m sure you did too. When I ask my mum why she let me out of the house in some of the things I wore, she just says “I knew you could take care of yourself, and I figured there were worse ways for you to rebel. I’d rather know than have it happen behind my back.”

    • Just because a woman is proud of her body doesn’t make her any less respectable. Woman should be able to express themselves however they want, with no bias on their worth or character. Media and society is perpetuating that women who dress a certain way are less deserving of respect and dignity. No wonder so many girls and women have eating disorders and low self esteem. We are constantly told that being overly sexy is bad and not being sexy is bad. There is no winning it seems like. In my opinion women should dress in a way that makes them feel good and confident. If one women feels confident when men look at her and another feels confident with no make up on, than who are you to judge her? We all find happiness in different ways, just as we all feel confident dressed in different styles.

  8. I hate that women are objectified even at a young age. I had a beautiful shirt that made me feel like a princess but it had only one shoulder. I made the ‘mistake of wearing it to school one day, and was given an oversized T-shirt. It was a really bad T-shirt. :/ I think the sooner people realize that beauty and sexualization are not the same, the sooner the world will learn what real beauty is.

  9. Maybe there is a place for bringing uniforms back to schools? This would mean restrictions for everyone. There are too many variations of acceptable for young men and women.

  10. It does not matter what we do to cover ourselves, women will always be objectified. Think back to Victorian era. The sight of an ankle could cause a scandal. Now, with much more relaxed social structures, the only thing that I think matters is that a girl should cover herself from breast to well below her genitalia. I, for example have a very hourglass figure. If I were to wear bermuda shorts, I would look very out of proportion. In high school this was very disconcerting. There were no shorts to fit my 5’7″, long legged frame that fell into the dress code standard, except bermuda shorts.

    Now, I am 36 years old. I work as a technician, so our dress code is business casual (including jeans). Though, today, I received an e-mail from my supervisor about “complaints” that he had received, asking me to bend over in front of my mirror every morning, and if I saw cleavage that I was to change. However demeaning that was, it does not change that fact that if I wear a golf shirt with the buttons unbuttoned and bend over that you can see cleavage on me. I am a woman, I have breasts. So, off to Goodwill I go for shirts that button to the neck and crew neck tees so I don’t titillate or offend anyone. The battle never ends, and we can’t complain.

  11. Honestly as a girl I think we should be able to wear what we want and I don’t care if I get stared at… I’ve never had a problem wearing a mini skirt to school this year of crop tops nothing ever, now I know I’m 18 and that makes me an adult but I felt the same way last year and the one before. My father has always supported me with what I want to wear and I appreciate him for doing so and buying some of my more revealing clothes. Since no matter what I wear it will not change who I am or the morals I have. You can keep your virginity for as long as you like and still wear anything you find pretty or sexy. Oh and believe it or not I don’t get called a slut behind my back, and I do not wish to rebel against my parents or school since they have never tired to limit me which is a lot more then I can say for some of my friends.

    • Dear Manager,

      It is shockingly unprofessional of my peers to be looking at my breasts. Please feel free to discipline them at your earliest convenience, since I can hardly stop having breasts and it would be unpleasant to make one person change style of attire from everyone else, when the attire is otherwise thoroughly acceptable.

      Sincerely,
      A woman considering sex discrimination an EOE suit with email proof in hand, you id10t

  12. I dont understand why they r focused on the students for dress codes and what not bc some teachers are waring shirts that show their clevage or teachers the ware their pants to tight it shows the package or cameltoe like really it their is a dress code to be placed start with teachers and thenaybe students but in my point of view their should be any dress code besides ur privets being covered and same as belly but other then that it sgould be ok bc the way ppl dress shows the way they are it gives them confidence in their body and makes it so they r not shy. I know a lot of ppl that r so ashamed of their bodies and dont have self confadence bc in school they had to adby by the dress codes

  13. As a girl I support dress codes 100%. Dress codes are not put in place because we “distract boys”, they are put in place for school to be a place to learn rather than a place to show skin. I personally went to a uniform school and I think that worked quite well. School is first and foremost for learning and having everyone wearing the same thing I believe aided in that goal, whenever I put on my uniform I knew it was time to learn. Don’t forget there are restrictions on boys attire as well, though they seem less because boys clothing options are more limited. They can’t wear tank tops, they can’t wear hats, they can’t let there shorts hang down revealing their underwear; at least thats how it was at my school. With uniforms, or even just with a dress code, it teaches kids that the best and most appropriate way for them to stand out in school is with their minds. As a self-confident girl pursuing the male-dominant career of engineering, I have to say that learning my mind was my strongest tool brought me more self-confidence than a short, tight fitting dress ever could.

    • While I do agree that the original principle of a dress code wasn’t to avoid distracting boys from their learning, and rather were put in place to put more focus on education and less on what kind of labels so and so has on, etc, I think like many things today, dress codes have morphed into a completely new issue. I am lucky that my school district and high school have not joined the trend of overbearing dress codes, my school follows the fingertip shorts rule and tank too rule officially, but most staff members will not go out of their way to discipline girls on their clothing choices if they’re not overly inappropriate. Most weeks I will wear sweats one day and short shorts the next, because that is what I feel comfortable in that day. I know that on days that I feel unhappy with what I’m wearing it is more of a distracting to my learning than if I feel comfortable and confident with my outfit. I have been fortunate enough to live in a society where I have never felt objectified or hypersexualized, and at age 17 in today’s society I think that shows a lot. My high school is well known for it’s high graduating percentage and that is with a fairly loose dress code. While there are schools where something like uniforms might be effective, I think schools like mine are proof that there are times when not restricting things like dress works out for the best.

  14. I agree. Dress codes aren’t about making anyone feel crummy and they aren’t primarily about the fact that boys are distracted by beautiful girls. It’s all about keeping the focus on learning and off labels, fashion statements, and attention seeking behaviors. We just need to be smarter about how we deliver that message. We also need to take to heart messages about body image and help both girls and boys know that their worth goes far beyond clothing!

  15. I think they should have dress codes, but sometimes they are over board. Like you can’t show your shoulder that is just a bit to much. I mean of course don’t let us go to school with booty shorts and a midriff top. I’m in middle school my self and I would like to be able to wear a tank top. Also honestly why do we have to cover almost every inch of our body. Mostly boys are the ones causing this big issue they/their parents need to teach the boy to have a little respect. I agree sometimes girls are to flashy but most the time we just want to be comfortable.

  16. In my school were forbidden to wear see through clothes. Wow…. Also, my mom makes me late for the bus or makes me cry on the way to school because of my inappropriate wear. I tend not to wear dresses or skirts anymore not because of what boys say, but because of how my mom makes me feel. Even when she approves of the skirt, I never “wear it right” I’m not very provative at all. But after my mom tells me how she feels about my clothing and half the things in my closet I can’t go out it, I feel guilty for my big breasts and self consious about myself. I start blaming myself for the comments guys have made to me even when I’m just in jeans. I guess u just can’t hide a size d

    • Oh baby girl!

      *hugs*

      *More hugs*

      Signed,
      Mama to a D-cup pre-teen beauty

      PS- I don’t treat her that way.

  17. Jason Spiegelman says:

    I see a lot of contradiction in some of these posts. I’m sure they aren’t intentional, but I want to point them out. One poster said something like, “girls should be able to wear what they want, as long as it doesnt…” and that is when I stopped reading. So what you are really saying is that a girl canNOT wear whatever she wants, because you are imposing standards on what is or is not acceptable. You are saying she can wear what she wants, as long as it falls within your prescribed list of what is okay. So, in fact, she cannot wear whatever she wants. Now let me also be clear that I don’t disagree with that, and it should apply to boys as well, but the notion that we should let people do/wear whatever they want otherwise we are sexualizing or stifling them seems to me to miss the mark. I find contradictory the notion that one can be objectified by society after they have objectified themselves already. If one chooses to let their parts hang out for all the world to see, then they have clearly made a statement that this is how they want to be viewed. Turning around and telling them that they may NOT do so in certain certain circumstances is an attempt to return tact and class to those settings. Can that go too far? Of course it can! It is LUDICROUS to tell a girl that her bare shoulders are too sexual. IT is obnoxious to suggest that she must cocoon herself so that no skin is visible. But cmon, folks. Let’s strike a BALANCE!!! Now this article speaks almost exclusively about women, and that is what my comments have addressed. For balance, let me also say that guys walking around with their asses hanging out of their pants is equally as inappropriate and, to me, offensive. What is even sadder is that we even have to have this conversation in the first place. How friggin’ hard is it to dress appropriately!!??!!??

  18. Careful! I heard knees, ankles and wrists also turn guys on. So make sure you wear a hazmat suit to school.

  19. I actually agree with the fact that there should be some sort of dress code as long as the list doesn’t get too long. having general rules like covering up your breasts and other appropriate areas should be part of a schools ‘dress code’. my only problem with this is that girls come in all different shapes and sizes in high school. I, myself, was a little overweight in high school and even in middle school, and being a larger woman, I have larger breasts that I was constantly getting in trouble for wearing shirts that “were too revealing” because I had cleavage and other girls didn’t. I shouldn’t have had to make myself uncomfortable throughout middle school and high school by wearing clothes that covered me up entirely because of my genetics while other girls who weren’t as big in that area wear clothes with a much deeper neckline.

  20. At my school out skirts and shorts have to go past our fingertips and no tank tops at all. We cant even wear a tank with a see through sweater over top of it. I think it’s so stupid that we are seen as objects that have to please the guys at my school. That is exactly what they told us. That it is our responsibilty to make sure the boys will pay attention to the work and not us.

  21. I think it’s dumb that us girls have to cover our legs thighs stomach and brests while guys go shirtless in the summer! What happened to equality men and women should be treated the same! After all we’re BOTH human so why should women have to cover up in the summer (especially in California and arizona i have lived in both places) because guys can’t control themselves!!

  22. As a guy in high school we would get suspended for wearing white t shirts and saggy pants and there were even some U.S. Cities that tried to implement laws about men sagging their pants that would lead to their arrest. So for all you women on here saying that boys don’t have to adhere to a dress code are telling complete lies. In fact I am sure most of the women commenting on here saying girls should wear what they want are probably the same ones who says they can’t stand to see guys sag their pants and are in support of punishment for doing this. To be honest girls shouldn’t be able to wear inappropriate clothing in school even if it does make you feel comfortable. I am sure these girls has appropriate clothing that is comfortable, so that is a really stupid excuse when women say that. Guys shouldn’t be showing their underwear too. And lets not be ignorant and say they are promoting a boys will be boys culture. Boys are disciplined for any inappropriate actions towards a female and as a man me and my group of male friends have always heard respect women when growing up. These schools do teach guys to respect girls. Why do young girls have to dress in sexy clothing , it’s school not a club. By telling girls some clothes are inappropriate isn’t hurting their confidence, it’s teaching them right. In the real world what you wear does matter. Everyone is judged everyday whether it’s good or bad. When you go to a job interview, the person interviewing is judging everything about from the way you are dressed to your resume. When you say someone is ugly that is judging them negatively, but if you say someone is beautiful that is judging them positively. How can you wear provocative clothing to class on campus and still eexpect your college professor to believe you are the best person for the internship. Again how you dress in public does matter and how you dress says a lot about who you are. If someone wears a suit everyday, pepeople will assume this person takes their business serious. Yet if someone wears bandanas, tank tops, and baggy jeans or revealing booty shorts and see thru tank tops with the belly button showing then people will have negative judgements about this person if they don’t know them. The notion of I let my child wear anything cause I trust them isn’t the resolution. You are a parent set the example. First impressions do matter and including every impression after that. You should dress the way you want to be addressed and if you can’t dress appropriately without getting your feelings hurt then something is wrong and you need to be educated that you can dress within the dress code and still be beautiful, you don’t have to dress like a video girl to get attention or for people to think you are pretty, beautiful, or sexy. As a man I can’t even wear a tank top to some gyms, do I complain no I follow the dress code. I am 24 years old urban black male with no kids but a lot of younger sisters and cousins. I grew up in less fortunate communities and I feel like a lot of these young girls and boys got their values twisted. As a kid growing up I pretty much did what ever I wanted because I was responsible. I grew up without a father and sometimes I wish my mother was harder on me growing up because I learned about the Real World once I became a man. I learned HOW YOU DRESS DOES MATTER and people need to realize this and stop teaching their kids to make excuses about how unfair it is, life is unfair.

    • Terell,
      Thank you for your thoughtful opinion from a guy’s perspective. As a woman, I agree that what we wear does speak volumes about us. I’m not a prude, but a teenager in booty shorts and a belly top is making a statement, “Look at me!” For some girls, it’s about getting attention…even if it’s sexual attention. I’ve seen enough selfies on Instagram to know that there are plenty of girls/women who think their worth is measured by how many comments they get on their revealing pictures. It’s sad but true.

  23. I think the argument would go just as much the other way if it were a problem for boys. In reality boys and men tend to wear clothes that are in no way revealing or tight, and if they did i’m sure the schools would have just as much a problem with it as they do with what girls are wearing. When i was in school a big problem was boys wearing their pants too low, and they were always called out and made to pull up their pants, but in reality, other than images on shirts, boys tend to dress far more conservatively than girls.

  24. reilly r. says:

    my dress code makes me feel like crap. no spaghetti straps- I didn’t know my shoulders gave guys boners sorry. leggings- sorry I have a butt, I was born this way stop it. shorts- tf it’s my body, is it yours ? did I sign a contract allowing the school to own my body as soon as I step foot in school? no. last year I was shorts that were completely appropriate but I bent across a table to turn off my computer and this teacher walked me to the principals office. I started crying. I had no other clothes to wear. then the other day I was wearing a crewneck and leggings and my spanish teacher goes pull your sweatshirt down a little more you can see too much. I hate school dress codes. what’s next are they going say skinny jeans are a violation? sweats? Im so tired of being dehumanized a girl. guys ask me for nudes all the time bc they like what they see. guess what school? it’s going to fcking happen. guys are going to look at butts , I even look at guys butts. one time in 6th grade they tried to ban yoga pants so all the girls wore yoga pants the next day then the day after all the guys did.

  25. Honestly schools are just dumb and girls have a right to wear what they want and if my parents let me out of the house wearing a tank top and shorts and sandals why does the school have a problem with it? *my parents are also very old and strict*

  26. What I absolutely hate is that the reason these dress codes exist is because boys get ‘distracted’. So while girls are treated like sexual objects and garbage, the boys aren’t even spoken to or shamed…they can keep on being themselves. Even my mom now will tell me to make sure my butt is covered everyday. Well you know what, I am more than a distraction!!! All girls are!!! I love my body and who I am and I should not be ashamed of it because of the perverted nate of boys. Why should us girls change a part of who we are (our clothing) because boys look at us? The boys can look at my body all they want and the only reason they’re looking is because I have a nice body like every other girl out there and I am not ashamed. I am not ashamed to be a woman. I wil wear what I want because it is who I am and not who the school and boys make me out to be. I am not a sexual object nor a distraction. I am human and a woman, and I demand to be heard. I can wear short shorts, because it gets too hot in long shorts and capris. My shoulders are apart of me, why should I hide them? And my boobs and butt are part of me as a woman. The people making these dress codes need to grow up and respect women.

  27. SpeakOut & SpeakUp says:

    My dress code makes me constantly worry about how I look. Do these jeans my my butt look too big? Is this skirt too short? It this t-shirt too revealing? All these rules lower my self esteem. I feel like an object. Being shaped and molded by society and the people around me. Everyone comes along, turns me into something they think is acceptable to society, and then walks away. Then another person comes up and they always manage to find a flaw. Something they think needs to be fixed. As a girl, I already have self-esteem issues, and rules about what I can and can’t wear make me feel small. I have a teacher who is married with two children. The school had an assembly about the dress code. He had to speak, and told the girls that our bra straps should never show. If a shirt sleeve slips a bit and our strap is revealed even for a short period of time, that shirt is inappropriate to wear. I thought to myself, “Why do you care? Are you looking at my bra straps?” It seems as though a girl can never get it right.

  28. Ok, after reading all these comments, I have come up with a list of things to say. First of all, girls that think, “I’m a woman I have a butt and breasts and I can show them if I want” are complete imbiciles. Go ahead, walk down the street of a reletivaly populated city wearing something with breasts and/or butt stucking out. Nobody is going to stare at you, they will look at you with disgust and continue their work. Same thing goes in the classroom, most boys just ignore and continue. Im a boy in a 7th grade class where all the girls dress like sluts, and I am a straight-A student, and I have also skipped a grade in math. Along with 5 other boys, and 1 girl. Hmm. Boys are distracted, eh? Maybe you should think about girls being “distracted” on how they dress, trying to please the boys. Even if it is true that it is just “for comfort”, more appropriate clothing is just as good! And for those who wear very short-shorts because they say appropriate clothing is “too warm”, think about the dieing people all over the world. The homeless people. Suck it up and wear something less exposing. I agree that the reason for dress codes is “its too distracting” is wrong, but still, girls can easily fix this. A) dont buy innappropriate clothing in the first place. B) If a guy would be staring, don’t wait until the teacher gets you in trouble and you whine and complain. Tell the guy to stop, or cover up more by turning at a certain angle or pitting on a sweatshirt. So my point is: Girls, dress codes can sometimes be a bit ridiculous, but sometimes you just have to do all the extra hard work it requires to put on an extra few inches, and this problem wouldn’t have occurred in the first place. Suck it up girls, people have lots of worse problems then dress codes.

    • I beleive you are right in some aspects, i see where your coming from but, not all girls dress like sluts ( or atleast not on purpose some are just blind to it beleive it or not) most just want to be comfy they even put on spandex or leggings under their shorts to comply with the rules. Girls cant help it if they have a butt or boobs. Im a girl and its kinda hard to find pants that dont make your butt stand out. Not everyone is ok with sweat pants 24/7. I understand booty shorts are all out of the question but if the shorts are a little above the knee do you absolutely need to cover up because your a distraction to boys? When you said the way a girl dresses does not lower a boys grade i was like DAMN STRAIGHT! Girls are not at fault for a boys grades. I do beleive some girls feel the need to show more because they are insecure. But dress codes are a pretty big issue of course not as big as the ones you have metioned but, to the point where they ruin prom or other school socail events. Again outrages attire isnt ok but the schools take it way~~~ to far with the shorys and the goddamn shoulders. Like oh shit u saw that chicks shoulders like they be hella fine i think im gonna rape her now. Like is that how they see males? If so they got something wrong with them. Some (very few) have issues with keeping their hand to themselves so that makes girls have to cover up shoulders to their ankles so the school is happy and the girls feel more ashamed of their body. Im in 7th grade and those rules make me feel like my body is bad and i make the boys unable to get good grades. Like wtf? No have more fath i. The guys and have more repect fo the girls. I do agree with most of what your saying though.☺️

    • No one wants to please you. You are a 12 year old. Also, females don’t dress the way they do because they want to be fucked or something (honestly, what do you think we want?). It’s because they find the outfit aesthetically appealing and have the confidence to pull it off. For example, say I’m looking through my closet and I see a shirt that I like that’s a bit short I don’t think “haha yes now all the boys will want to have sex with me” and I don’t think “This is comfortable”, I think “bro this shirt is cool as hell” and I wear the shirt. Girls revealing their arms, legs, or backs a bit isn’t inappropriate. Boys walk around completely shirtless or with their underwear hanging out all the time. Are we really the sluts here?

      • Men can be arrested for having there underwear hanging out. P.S I don’t know where your from but most guys don’t go shirtless in school.

  29. Girls have the right to live in their own way it depends on us what we want to wear obeviously it’s not that girls can show up their bodies but it doesn’t mean that Inorder to suit others girls should coverup their bodies from top to bottom even if the aren’t comfortable with it ……. No one thinks what a girl feels but people blame girls for everything without thinking whether it’s their fault or not …… Even today a girl can’t step out of her house without fear if it is the problem with their dress codes then why does those girls who cover up their bodies from top to bottom be teased and still they are blamed without a reason come on girls there is nothing wrong with our dressing we don’t need to change it we need to change those cheap thinkings ……….. Plz like my page on fb “it’s not us it’s you ” don’t wish to change the world be the change you wish to see the world…..

  30. Dress codes are so stupid. Why do boys get to wear tight muscle shirts and low ride jeans, but girls can’t even show their shoulders. What guy looks at a girl and says “Damn, look at those sexy shoulders”? Girls should be able to wear what makes them feel good about themselves. I cried this morning, going through my closet trying to decide what to wear. If it was over the summer I’d throw on a pair of shorts and a tank top (if it was cold I would layer a leather jacket) and be on my merry way. but with school it’s like long sleeved shirt with a camisole underneath, jeans without holes, tennis shoes, and no brightly colored: hair, makeup, or accessories.

  31. Robert S Moulds says:

    If they where as serous about creating more empathy in men toward women. School and even the work uniform should be pants are a female privilege though both sexes can wear dresses and skirts. The women can even encourage waxing and shaving among men. I personally would be happy to be employed by a business run by women were it was the men wearing mini dresses and skirts while pants were women only. Better yet heels and silky smooth legs obviously wearing cute little panties. Naturally the women can still wear any dress or skirt they want.

  32. I’m a 12 year old girl who totally agrees. I get some ot the rules but wow some of the other rules. I think that the no showing your shoulder rule is so stupid. What’s wrong with shoulders?

  33. At my school when girls are out of dress code that have to go home, my school also has our dress code because “We’re distracting boys from their learning experience”
    So my School/County is basically saying the boys education is more important than girls.

  34. Luzita Ball says:

    Obvious from this long conversation is that the way women dress affects male hormones, and possibly vice versa. If women do not want to be objectified, disrespected, or stared at, then they should cover up more and behave in a business like manner, and avoid chatting unnecessarily with men or boys. If boys want to not be distracted, or have their hormones affected then they can do something too, which is to lower their gaze, behave in a business like manner, and avoid chatting with women unnecessarily. Both have a role to play in keeping things calm, so they can get on with their studies. Separate classes at least usually help them to get on with their work better. If women want to feel confident then we can help as a society by being a bit more appreciative of each other’s good qualities, and women should compliment each other’s character, intelligence, and achievements, rather than just each other’s appearances, and stop letting you look sexy being the top compliment a woman can receive. The same goes between men, and between married couples, close family members etc. Too much criticism goes on, and this is part of the reason for women having low confidence. They should not need to feel sexy or attractive to feel confident, when it has negative consequences for them. We cannot change men’s hormones, but we can change the way we women dress and behave, as can men who are well informed. If we show that we have self respect and also are considerate towards men who do not want to be distracted, by covering more, then we will be respected and treated better. Women would be pretty distracted if men walked around in tight, transparent or little clothing, showing glimpses of their private parts, so why do women expect anything else from men? Demanding the right to wear anything they like seems rather unreasonable to me. Freedom from men’s stares and disrespectful thoughts, from people’s judgements of your body, and from feeling vulnerable and self conscious, and having your mind free to think about other more interesting things, is worth more than freedom from slightly less comfortable clothes- don’t you agree?
    From an English hijabi Muslim

  35. Today at school it was a dress down day for SIDS and I have a pink tank top on and it was NOT spaghetti strapped and I got in trouble for it and had to put a different shirt on and I saw 9 others girl with tank tops on but they didn’t get in trouble and the 9 girls were in the same grade as me….. Like really?

  36. I have a uniform, and in it, we can wear shorts. Plus people are dumb, to think of dress codfe

  37. I think that some adults miss read our actions and interpret them wrong we don’t mean any sexuaulty ( most dont) yes we look but not enough to lower test scores u make it seem like we our dogs chasing a bone without any thought or tatic to to get yes girls look amazing in theses clothes but again boys have self control

  38. Girls shouldn’t be told that they can’t wear shorts that go above their knee or shirts that don’t cover their entire arm. I mean, think about later in the school year, when it’s getting really hot and the girls still aren’t allowed to wear tank tops because it’ll ‘distract the boys’. (Note: I do not think that boys are unable to control themselves. That is actually what happened to a cousin of mine. She was told that she couldn’t wear a tank top because it would ‘ditract th boys in school from their learning.) Seriously? I get that girls shouldn’t be allowed to walk around in booty shorts and bras, but not being able to wear a shirt because the sleeve slips in gym or something and it shows her bra strap for a few seconds? That’s just harsh.

  39. Are you kidding me? This is ridiculous. It’s not intended to shame you, its to teach you common sense and self respect. Strapless dresses lead to wardrobe malfunctions. Same thing with short skirts/shorts. Cover up your lady parts, that’s all.

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