Dress codes in public schools across the world often do more harm than good. The standard the codes are based off of are outdated and unfortunately, young women are often targeted over young men. Dress codes create an uncomfortable atmosphere in a place where people should feel comfortable spending most of their days.
The hyper-sexualization of young women in public schools is an undeniable and tragic reality. The notion that a female should modify what she wears with the sole purpose being to avoid posing as a “distraction” to her fellow male classmates is illicit. No one should be made to feel as if their bodies are shameful. The archaic ideologies of the dress codes turns a blind eye to the fact that we should be teaching boys to control themselves when a girl decides to show above the knee. School is for education and education alone. Not to focus on hiding female bodies in hopes that the men will control their sexual urges.
Dress codes have recently been a hot topic in the Canadian media. Boys in Quebec are protesting against their school’s sexist dress requirements by wearing skirts everyday to school to show support for their female peers who are relentlessly targeted. Their protest also aimed to promote LGBTQIA+ equality. Although there is no rule stating boys can not wear skirts in the code of conduct, the principal of the school, Cosentino, ordered the boys wearing the skirts to “go change right away.”
In France, a movement similar to Canada’s took place this past September where the hashtag #lundi14septembre spread over social media. The tag supported protesting of sexist dress codes and sexist remarks about wardrobe choices. On September 14, students put their foot down and gathered wearing anything that would normally be seen as “inappropriate” by school staff.
While some may argue that dress codes are a way to make a classroom setting more comfortable and professional, the effects of them often result in the false perception that a women’s wardrobe should cater to the habits of men. The treatment of women as sexual objects and distractions must end.
Dress code policies need to be reformed or eradicated. They should promote a learning environment that makes all students feel comfortable without making girls feel as if they are walking around with a target on their back. It is not a girl’s responsibility to control a boy’s behavior. Sexual behavior is not coerced by apparel and a women’s exposed shoulder should never come before a women’s education. Generation Z is becoming increasingly fed up with gender inequality and they will not tolerate any more. It is time to take a stand and make a change.