Opinion: dress code in the modern age

School district policies around COVID19 aren’t the only topics causing controversy among students. Students are speaking up about the dress code and its sexist overtones. Whether it be by protesting or creating viral posts, they’re making their points known.

Many look at school dress codes and see rules that primarily target girls or female-presenting people. Thousands of students around the country are voicing their opinions on the dress code and how it affects them. From Los Angeles to Tennessee, people are wanting change. The history of the dress code itself has always been more lenient on boys because of the way women’s bodies are seen as a potential problem or distraction.

Students all over the United States are speaking their minds.

Whether it’s by giving speeches or toting protest signs, teenagers are making their mark from Arkansas to Los Angeles. Recent debate also sparked in Chattanooga, Tennessee about dress code and the double standard it holds. A Hamilton County mom wrote a letter to opt her child out of dress code. Her request came as a result of parents being told they could opt children out of masks. She took that as an opportunity to comment on the misogyny infused dress-code they enforced. This mom and others wonder how school districts pick and choose what rules to enforce in regards to student dress and apparel. How can a district enforce clothing coverings and not face coverings? Which is more important in terms of risks, health, and safety of students? Hamilton County later updated the district’s website noting that “Face coverings are a must,” and that they should be worn at all times. 

For Suhei Denise Rivas of Arkansas, she knew what she had to do to take action. Here she is shown holding signs with fellow students protesting the dress code that unnecessarily sexualizes girls’ bodies. Students of NHS in Fort Smith, Arkansas protested the dress code at the school board meeting, holding signs like “STOP PUNISHING POVERTY” and “#NOT A DISTRACTION” commenting on the state of the discriminatory undertones of the dress code itself, not only there, but worldwide. Not all students can afford new clothes if old ones don’t pass dress code, which is likely overlooked when discussing the trials and tribulations of violating such rules.

These pictures, taken straight from user @suheirivas on instagram is shown with fellow students protesting dress code at the school board meeting in Fort Smith, Arkansas. It was all organized online and by word of mouth, scheduled for Aug. 23, 2021 on an info graphic titled ‘PROTEST THE SEXIST , CLASSIST , AND RACIST DRESS CODE’.

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