Two Cents About Dress Codes
I realize, of course, that the last day of school is probably not the time to be talking about dress codes, but I feel like in these last two weeks I’ve seen more about dress codes than usual and it has gotten me thinking. I listened to a podcast episode about dress codes a while back and recently have been watching videos and seeing posts about ridiculously strict dress codes for girls and how they’re more harmful to a girl’s education than her breaking them is harmful to any boy’s education. I’m a conservative human, I believe in wearing modest clothing, but the more I think about it, the more I tend to agree. A lot of these codes are ridiculous and demeaning and very much one sided.
I didn’t have a problem with the dress code while I was in school. Again, conservative: I won’t say I was made to wear modest clothing, but I was definitely trained to do so. In the era of shirts that just touched the top of your jeans I was wearing boys undershirts to compensate. In high school the dress code was pretty much a joke. We got a warning for shoulders being shown, a lot, but they couldn’t really send us home since some of us came from up to an hour away for school and had no way back anyway. We also had dancers who ran around in leotards and tights all day, so it’s kind of hard to enforce a dress code that is broken by necessity by a small portion of the students. Basically we wore what we wanted and got a finger wage every so often. I spent half my senior year in a hat (which was not allowed) and got told off once for it. I took it off and put it back on when he wasn’t looking. Because I’m a rebel like that.
I understand why dress codes are in place. Kids cannot be trusted to dress themselves wisely. They really can’t. I honestly don’t believe they have it in them. But the idea that girls should dress in a way so as not to distract boys is obnoxious and ridiculous. Boys will be distracted by basically anything, it doesn’t matter what a girl wears. Again, I believe in modesty. I believe that a girl should dress respectably and not run around with boobs and butts and whatever else hanging out. I believe that she should be considerate of the feelings of the people around her, including men who might have impure thoughts about her. I’m not saying that she’s responsible for the way men think about her, but just that she should be aware of the effect that she can have by her clothing choices.
So I’ve been thinking about what I would do if the dress code making were up to me and I came up with two rules that I think are reasonable and have legitimate purposes other than “not being a distraction to boys.” My rules are as follows: 1. Nothing strapless and 2. No butts. Here are my reasons.
- Strapless tops are a wardrobe malfunction waiting to happen. Seriously, I spent half my prom adjusting my dress because I was sure it was falling down. There really is very little security there. Tape only goes so far with these things. I know there are people who can wear them just fine but I can’t imagine how. At any rate, the potential for failure is too great for a school setting. Also, teens are super immature and mean and a strapless top, much like gym shorts, can provide a temptation best avoided all together.
- Butts are distracting for everyone. Whether you’re super into butts or super not into butts, you’re going to notice if someone (anyone) has their butt hanging out. This “No butts” rule applies to all students. Your butt shouldn’t be hanging out of your teeny tiny shorts. I get that it’s hot and short shorts are cool, but they can be cool without showing off your nether regions. Also, guys, pull your pants up. I don’t want to see your boxers, I don’t want to see your gym shorts under your pants, they don’t help. No one should be showing off their bum in school, or anywhere else, but especially not in school.
Those are the two rules that I would enforce if dress codes were in my control. Well, those and the inappropriate t-shirt rule, but that’s really common sense, isn’t it? No, nothing is common sense for kids; add that to the list. Anyway, if the goal is not to distract other students or teachers, these are the rules that make sense to me. I might add the basic, students must be fully clothed, because you know if there isn’t there will inevitably be that one kid who comes in without a shirt or something, just because they can. I also feel like heels are a safety hazard, but that’s just me. But now I’ve gotten distracted. The point is, if a conservative Christian thinks your rules are too strict, there might be a problem. Trying to micromanage what a girl can and cannot wear to school is a ridiculous waste of time that could be spent on something actually important. Teach your girls to respect themselves, not to fear what men think of them. I’m pretty sure you’ll get better results that way.