Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Are School Dress Codes Sexist?

A FB Friend linked to What I Teach My Teenage Daughter In Response To Her School’s Sexist Dress Code.  Apparently his teenage daughter ran afoul of the school code and had to change... So he could relate to the article.

After listening to these discussions through many years and 3 daughters, and after spending time in the schools... I side with the schools codes and would almost prefer that they went to specifying uniforms.... Even the best intentioned parent sometimes allows shorts that are just a little too short, leggings that are a bit thin, spaghetti strap tops, etc.

The irony is in our experience the rules are enforced more tightly for students with responsible parents, while the students who have challenges at home get a free pass. (ie soft bigotry of low expectations?)  Here is an example policy:
"DRESS, GROOMING T-SHIRT DESIGN AND POLICY Clothing may not include words or visuals which are obscene, abusive, disruptive or discriminatory, or which advertise alcohol, tobacco, narcotics or drugs. Dress or grooming which is disruptive of the classroom or school atmosphere is not allowed. Shoes must be worn at all times for health and safety reasons. EHS Class or Activity apparel including T-shirts and jerseys must be pre-approved (see T-shirt Designed/Ordered Spiritwear policy below). No face masks or face paint may be worn at any time. Students will be subject to disciplinary consequences in the event of noncompliance with these regulations."
Here is a more useful example of what is allowed and disallowed in many schools.  Now the folks who were anti-dress code seemed to think that they were unfairly sexist with all the focus on hem heights, straps, collar types, etc.  To which I answered that I just don't know many boys who want to wear short shorts and spaghetti strap tank tops that expose their belly button to school.

Then the discussion went towards the intent of the rules. They thought the schools unfairly enforce these draconian rules on girls to prevent the boys from being distracted.  And they believe that the young hormonal boys should be taught to avoid being distracted by attractive young women wearing skin tight clothing and/or showing a significant amount of skin.  I of course thought that was silly since I am 52 years old and still easily distracted after years of working against that millennia old male instinct.

Here were my closing thoughts over there... "As far I am aware girls are told to change because they are violating the district policy. Now I assume the intent of the policy is what you are concerned about, and I sure do not know that intent. Why do you think companies in America have casual Friday dress codes? I agree with ??? that this has less to do with boys and more to do with "appropriate dress".   So what is the consensus, should we all be able to wear whatever we want to work / school? Or should our society define common minimum expectations in these places of learning and work?"

This somewhat applies. G2A Judging vs Noticing


Anonymous said...

Every time you tell a girl that her top is too revealing, her skirt too short, her pants too tight, etc., you teach her that the comfort of boys in the classroom is more important than her education.


John said...

As I told the FB folks. That has to be the silliest leap of logic I have ever heard.

Personally being a man, I am fine with women in revealing tops, short skirts, etc. That does not mean that I think it makes for appropriate work / school / church dress.

If a young man comes to school with shorts and no shirt. Would that be acceptable to you?

If some asked him to put on a shirt would that be belittling to him?

Anonymous said...

You are wrong.

Teach boys how to act appropriately, just like we teach girls to.


John said...

Here is an interesting link.

Dress Code is about Respect

John said...

Now who is being sexist...

"Teach boys how to act appropriately, just like we teach girls to."

How often have you ever seen a boy in school with short shorts and a lace top? How would we know how the girls would react?

Please remember that I am a fan of Go Topless Day. It does not mean it is a great idea for our society...

You skipped answering my question, would you allow young men to go topless in school?

Anonymous said...

Since you seem to know, what do the girls go gaga for these days?


John said...

As for the differences between boys and girls... I think we have just jumped back to the nature nurture discussion.

Here is an interesting link, and I am pretty sure this is not taught. And then we have the guys... Cave boys to say the least... :-)

SBU Dress for Success

BI Dress for Succes

I love this quote... "Many highly intelligent, well-qualified, capable men and women are often disqualified or dismissed because 'they don't sell for what they're worth,'" Price told Business Insider. "They've left the 'business' out of 'business casual' and the lack of professional appearance holds them back. It's frustrating, because clothing certainly does not determine one's actual competence and credibility; it does, however, influence others' perception of those qualities — and that reality impacts career opportunities."

Anonymous said...

I don't think those first two links prove your point.


John said...

What point am I making? Other than that people should dress appropriately for work, school and church?

And it is most important in school because the habits of people are created and reinforced during those experience filled formative years. Remember us reviewing this very successful school? Or this one?

Dress for success matters...

John said...

Or why do you think kids are in school?
- to attract mates?
- to support gangs?
- to rebel against social norms?
- to show how much money they have?
- to show their fashion sense?
- to be political?

Anonymous said...

"Or why do you think kids are in school?"

To learn. But we need to stop teaching girls that their job is to placate hormonal boys.


John said...

From Laurie...
I don't have a problem with dress codes.

John said...

Placate: to appease or pacify, especially by concessions or conciliatory gestures.

I think you have forgotten how to placate a hormonal boy? I am pretty sure wearing conservative clothing is the opposite of appeasement.

Unfortunately a lot of unlucky girls with poor self esteem find more demeaning ways to placate and appease hormonal boys.

Now if the dress code is there to placate someone... Who would that really be?

Maybe conservative parents who believe in children dressing as children?