How School Dress Codes Target Young Women


Image via the Daily News

Sofiah Gravley, Writer

In the recent months, young individuals have been protesting outside of their schools to get their dress codes changed. For years, women have been targeted in dress code conduct. No shoulders, no bottoms shorter than your fingertips, and even no bra strap is allowed to be shown. Even though the support of undergarments is needed for women, some people still don’t think they should be seen. All these issues have made it very clear that dress codes have been targeting women for hundreds of years. 

The first issue I would like to address is the “Fingertip Rule.” The Fingertip Rule is a rule that has occured since the early 2000’s, where a girl’s shorts or skirt may not be shorter than her fingertip length when arms are to the side. This is not only unfair because everyone has longer/shorter arms than others, but also there are not a lot of men who are known for wearing skirts or shorts, therefore the rule is clearly directed at young women. It is not common for many young women to wear shorts that go past their mid thigh, this is because it is not a very common fashion piece in that age group. Not many teenage or younger girls are going to go out of their way to make sure their shorts are okay before they go to school. During this time in a young woman’s life they are going to be focused on how they look and feel, not if they fit the dress code. 

After a long time of  young women battling to feel comfortable at school there are some schools with more lenient dress codes, but are still struggling to fully hear their female students and their complaints. Compared to the boys’ dress code, there are not nearly as many rules as there are for girls, they just have rules like “no low cut tank tops” or “must be clothed.” There’s not nearly as many things that boys have to look out for in the dress code. Yet for the girls, there’s probably over 15 different things that they can’t wear because they’re dictated as “distracting”. Even after many years of arguing this unfair dress code, now in 2021, the boys stand with the girls when saying that one little rip in their jeans or their shoulders showing are nowhere near distracting. In the past few months, young women protested against their school’s dress code. Some of the boys decided to stand with them too. Dressing the same as girls for a day, wearing exactly what the girls did and even walked next to them. The girls would still get dress coded while the boys stood right next to them, wearing the same thing. The boys were never dress coded. This shows how not only dress codes target young women, but so do the teachers. Most of the girls dress coded that day were all dress coded by male teachers. All because what they were wearing was said to be distracting to the boys, yet the boys even told them that they weren’t distracting them in any way. 

Everyone is starting to come together against these sexist dress codes in schools. We need more people to step up too. You can do your part, help change the dress code, for everyone.