Why our dress code enforcement is fair

by Abby Stern, Staff Writer

In 2018, dress code is a big deal.  Students are becoming aware of how their schools can target young girls unfairly through dress codes.  Thankfully, Glen Rock is not one of those schools.

I firmly believe that no young woman should have to feel self-conscious about revealing her shoulder or knee under the pretense that this would distract her male peers.  This national and international issue is something that America needs to work together to fix, and Glen Rock is in a perfect position to help.

That is because the dress code here is fair.  The rules target both males and females. These rules are put in place to show students that, to be professional, there are certain things you can and cannot wear.  No one should walk into a job interview wearing a crop top the same way no one should walk into a job interview wearing a “bro tank” that exposes their ribs. A dress code should be educating students and not hindering their education.

Our dress code aims to be professional.  I am not going to lie, I find the rules annoying, but all in all they are not sexist or unfair.  For example, the dress code denies students the right to have a bare back showing. This is a nuisance if you have a thing for wearing cute halter tops, but, in my opinion, it is a rule put in place to give the school an air of professionalism and not a rule made to keep girls from “distracting” boys.

I would also like to point out, it is very easy to bend the rules of the dress code.  The unwritten law is that you can break one rule at a time. If I wear shorts that don’t “reach a finger tip length when the arm is fully extended along the side of the body,” no one will say I have to change.  However, if I wear these aforementioned shorts with a skin tight crop top, I’ll get in trouble.

The dress code written in the handbook is not the dress code that is enforced.  Because of the relaxed dress code enforcement, not only is the dress code even more fair, but students learn boundaries and how to read the situation to see what is and isn’t appropriate.  

Learning is what dress code should be about.  Life is about learning boundaries and knowing when you can and can’t stretch the rules.  As a student at GRHS, I have learned how to dress in a way that shows I care about school rules while also wearing clothes that make me feel good.  

As a proud feminist however, I realize that, as a country, America has a ways to go to make dress codes fair throughout the nation.  The big problem that many people have with dress codes are that they blame girls for boys’ behavior.  The reason that spaghetti straps are not allowed is because a young girl’s shoulder can “distract” boys.  It is an unfair idea that aims to desexualize children.

There are schools where girls are told that they can’t wear yoga pants because “the boys would get turned on and then be embarrassed.”  They are told to wear shorts that extend below the finger tips when most stores don’t sell shorts that length.  The problem is that dress codes blame girls for the faults of young men. It’s clear the purpose of the rules is to protect boys from girls’ “sex appeal”.  Thankfully, this is not Glen Rock’s purpose.

If you feel that you want to help change the issue of unfair dress codes, I highly recommend researching all of the infuriating firsthand accounts to inspire you to change the world.  Use your position as someone who goes to a school with a fair dress code to help others who lack this luxury.

There are many protests and petitions to be part of, and social media is a great place to shed light on this issue.  Spread the word and educate others; this is more constructive than trying to change a dress code that is not part of the core issue.  So many people have it much worse, and we can help them.

For me, dress code is all about intent and purpose.  Glen Rock’s intent in their dress code is to teach and to create a professional atmosphere.  It is not to shame, to desexualize, or to harm, and this is what makes our dress code fair.