Dress Codes: Apparently, They’re In Season

GFS describes its dress code as “recognizing that choice of clothing is a highly personal matter, a valuable form of expressing the self.” But what if “the self” wants to wear almost nothing?Schools across the country have been making increased changes to their expectations of girls’ clothing choices. A high school in Rockport, Mass., banned all leggings and yoga pants for their girl students. Twenty girls protested by wearing the forbidden pants on April 4. They were sent home and told to change their clothes.

Schools have claimed that girls wearing these outfits is distracting to boys. But is this a fair rule?

Most set-in-stone dress codes set down more rules for girls than boys. From banning skinny jeans, leggings or short shorts to establishing rules for the length of shirts, girls are expected to follow rules that might not allow them to “express themselves”.

Dave Adney, a principal in Minnekota, Minnesota, sent an email to parents requesting that their daughters “keep things covered up”. Later, in a statement to The Star Tribune, he told the girls, “Cover your butts up. We’re seeing too much.”

Now, I’m not saying that girls should be free to wear ANYTHING they want. But we don’t want to see boy’s underwear all the way down to the backs of their knees either! Boys can be just as distracting to girls as girls to boys.

How many times have your parents told you that Middle School is an “awkward stage”? How many times have you been forced to read about “our hormones” and how they “affect our feelings”? We’re going to distract each other no matter what.

I don’t believe that girls should be responsible for whatever feelings boys have. On most occasions, the girl isn’t TRYING to be noticed. If boys can’t stay focused just because they feel something towards a classmate, the boy needs to be disciplined, not the girl for her clothing choices. What schools seem to be choosing to do is teach girls to dress “decently”, instead of teaching boys to act decently.

That said, girls can be distracted by each other’s clothes too. I can’t begin to tell you how many times my friend has whispered, “Did you see what —– is wearing today? No one needs to see all that.”

My mother tells me that revealing too much is disrespectful to your teachers. And while it might be, setting rules in stone is probably not as effective as talking to students about what they wear.

As people, we like explanations. Telling someone that they can’t do something without an explanation is annoying to the majority of people on this planet.

Last year, our principal sent out a letter making it very clear that Middle School students needed to reevaluate what they were wearing. Advising them to talk with parents to make decisions, Ken made it as understandable as possible that students were wearing too little.

Maybe GFS has overestimated its students ability to simply listen to teachers. Or maybe, instead of waiting until a strongly-worded reprimand is necessary, they should talk to us first. After all, don’t Quakers like to sort out their problems with words?