With the school year starting, it’s the perfect time to discuss one of our favorite topics, dress code. It’s usually the first complaint you hear about school. After a summer of wearing whatever I wanted, going back to a uniform with dress code reminded me of all the things wrong with it. There are subtle hints of sexism and body shaming. In this blog post, I’m discussing if school dress codes are the problem and what it says about our society. More importantly, I wanted to write about the impact it has on kids/students.
my school. Now, my school is a little different because we have a uniform/dress code. We have to wear collared shirts or polos. No jeans, hoodies, open-toed shoes, etc. It’s mainly because it’s a private school and a certain “formal-ness” needs to be maintained. We also have a “one inch above the knee” rule for skirts. The pants are from Macy’s, the shirt is from Aeropostale, and the sweater is from Old Navy, and the shoes are basic converses. Click here to see more about my back to school shopping!
what is appropriate? It’s really funny. The difference between a dress code that’s one inch above the knee and two inches is that one inch. That one inch that can be scary to one school and acceptable to another. Or the rule for shirt sleeves. What makes a piece of clothing appropriate?
is it ever ok? I think that uniforms and dress codes, while aren’t fun or convenient all the time, can be justified. Things like the actual plaid uniform and shirts. Rules about shoes make sense. The stuff that keeps the school atmosphere professional.
can you be who you are even with restrictions? The main backlash against dress codes and uniforms is that you can’t express yourself or your own style. I do think, however, that there are ways to show your personal style and still abide by the rules.
shoulders aren’t scary. shoulders aren’t distracting. shoulders aren’t scandalous. shoulders aren’t inappropriate.
what’s the real problem? We all know that the two inches of skin showing above the knee isn’t the real problem. The real problem is that we live in a world where society makes us believe that our bodies should be controlled with these rules. It’s full of contradictions that prove that there is never going to be the right answer. The media, movies, music, etc. shows female bodies in an over-sexualized manner. Yet we are told to cover up. On the other side, when women covered with clothing, they are no longer “desirable”. Sure, this is probably a little much for school dress codes. Nevertheless, these rules set the foundation for us to be more submissive to people telling us what to do with our bodies.
dress codes are just the beginning of a life of social rules.
I asked people on my Instagram what are some dress code rules that make no sense, and these were some of the popular ones.
- no visible shoulders
- no facial hair for boys
- no wearing all black clothing
- girls being allowed to wear skirts during the winter, but boys not being allowed to wear shorts
- no non-natural hair color
- solid color pants and polo shirts
my conclusion. Dress codes are not good for the minds of kids. The restrictions get set in their minds so that in the future, kids are afraid to own their own bodies. Everyone should be able to show our shoulders, without feeling ashamed or unacceptable. Despite all the negative, I think for certain schools, uniforms and certain rules are okay because they create a polished school atmosphere. There’s a difference between scandalous and unprofessional.
I wrote this post to make a point. Not just about dress codes, but about the brainwashing, sexism and body shaming that is hidden everywhere. It starts at a young age until you grow up and see these things as life. They don’t choose to overcome it, because they don’t think it’s anything out of the normal. I wrote a post, click here, about body positivity, that kind of connects to this topic. Leave your thoughts in the comments, because I’m really interested in them!
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