Addressing the Dress Code

The dress code at John Adams High School is repressive and submissive to patriarchal standards. Not only does it restrict what girls are able to wear, but it stems from sexism. The idea that women should dress modestly and cover themselves is not new with its reasoning  that boys will get distracted from their studies by girls’ skin. This concept is simply a glorified “boys will be boys,” forcing women to adapt to their needs, regardless of a desired self expression. This implies that it is acceptable for men to view women as sexual objects and fails to address women’s rights and self expression. An inclination for students to look presentable is understandable and I would advocate for a less restrictive dress code, but wearing a shirt which reveals one’s shoulders does not exemplify a lack of professionalism. A student may wear sweatpants or essentially pajamas everyday to school if they please, and this is considered more appropriate than an off the shoulder shirt or a skirt on the shorter side.  Shoulders are one aspect of dress code which cannot possibly be justified. Shoulders do not even apply to the most basic and flawed argument of “boys will be boys.” The administration’s issue with shoulders contains no logic; I frequently see people who look presentable wearing clothing where shoulders are visible. Additionally, shoulders have no sexual implications. They are not considered “sexy,” or in any way distracting. The same can be said about athletic shorts and any type of shorter shorts or skirt; unless a student is showing truly inappropriate amounts of skin, legs should not be an issue. Human anatomy in general should not be so sexualized by society that girls must dress to fit the needs of boys. The dress code at Adams sends a message to women that the male response is our fault, and we must adapt in an attempt to neutralize it; however, we do not have the power to neutralize it. I find the dress code to be demeaning; whether boys focus on their studies or not has nothing to do with female anatomy. If boys cannot control themselves, they may find solace in homeschooling. Women should never be subjected to patriarchal views determining their wardrobe.