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Noh Uncovers Sexism Behind Dress Code
Garam Noh '15 Editorial Associate
December 8, 2013

Dress code has been a point of dispute for countless years, so much so that it’s becoming a trite conversation. It is time for a fresh new voice. Enter Garam.

First of all, the dress code, which was intended to prevent the sexualization of girls, actually achieves the opposite. It stigmatizes female body parts as if they are something to be ashamed of, rather than something to celebrate.

Our modern culture preaches that all girls’ bodies are beautiful. If they are so beautiful, why not dress to emphasize them?

A strict dress code like ours can quickly morph into slut-shaming, ironically in a world in which society is increasingly in agreement that girls should not be condemned for having obvious assets.

In my opinion, emphasizing “appropriateness” as a female virtue is sexist. If you criticize the girl for wearing a short skirt and distracting those around her, you should equally criticize the boys who are looking. And oftentimes, it is the case that the boys are not looking.

Furthermore, if the honest-to-God purpose of the dress code is to make girls cover up, it does not even achieve this end successfully.

The application of dress code is inconsistent (male teachers will often hesitate to point out the otherwise obvious), and the dress code in itself leaves leeway for the truly “inappropriate” aspects of female dress while it slaps down freedom of expression in others.

Do I have a solution? Heck no. Dress code is a complicated issue—it often engenders conversation about gender roles, as well as conversation about socioeconomic differences and how they are manifested in school culture.

I’m just saying that the implicit message of the dress code, as well as its irregular application, sends some dubious messages to an already confused female student body.