RANTS and RAVES: Don’t Tell Me How to Dress – The BHS Dress Code

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Emily Ganshaw, Op-Ed Editor

Ah spring: that wonderful time of year. The sun is shining, the flowers are blooming, and the fear of being called down for an “inappropriate” outfit is thick in the air. Every year, we hope the administration will ease up on these unnecessary rules. But every year, we are disappointed.

The basics of the dress code, as printed in every agenda: no “short shorts,” spaghetti-strap tank tops, or halter tops. For some reason, these items of clothing are considered distracting. Shoulders should not create a distraction. Do you really have that little faith in the boys at our school that if a girl isn’t totally covered up, he won’t be able to focus on anything but those shoulders? I mean really, will teachers be rendered unable to teach because all the kids are so distracted because someone’s legs are out?

I find this offensive. My body, nor anyone else’s, is not something to sexualize. How dare you tell me to change how I dress because other students can’t control themselves. This promotes a culture of victim-blaming, and it’s downright wrong. Maybe instead of teaching girls to cover themselves up, we should teach boys to not treat girls like sexual objects. Just a thought.

This goes the other way around as well. Apparently, if a boy wears a tank top, girls won’t be able to concentrate because they are so overwhelmed by the guy’s arms. Right. I can promise you that no girl in this school is that stupid. We’re all treated like we’re idiots blindly controlled by our hormones, and it’s completely ridiculous. No one’s education is being interrupted over an outfit.

Also, I’ve seen multiple boys on various occasions wear shirts with pictures of girls in bikinis on their shirts. I’ve seen a boy wearing a shirt with a close-up of just a girl’s chest on it. I mean really? So guys are allowed to actually display the female body on his attire, but a girl can’t wear her own? The hypocrisy is astounding.

Look, I get it, we all want a certain level of professionalism within the school. But shorts and tank tops are not crazy, inappropriate, outfits. When we put on these clothes, it is because we want to be comfortable. When the weather gets warm, the school gets hot–like sticking-to-your-chair hot. It’s very easy for administrators to tell us to dress a certain way because they don’t have to face the heat like we do. They get to escape to air-conditioned offices. We’re stuck in sauna-like classrooms, and nothing is more distracting than feeling like you’re going to die from heat stroke.

It is time to stop teaching girls to cover their bodies. Stop teaching girls that their bodies are something to be ashamed of. Stop telling us we are so incapable of controlling ourselves. It is time for a change.