Debatable: Dress code regulations should be significantly reduced


The Magnet Tribune:

Regulations on a dress code are seen in this image taken by a cell phone.

Angie Bravo, Debatable columnist

Across the nation, we have heard of students getting in trouble for exposed collarbones, shoulders, midriffs, and sometimes even knees. Students are told that they need to cover up because they present a “distraction,” but what constitutes a distraction and why is it that showing a shoulder or a knee is a distraction?

In an ever-evolving and more accepting society, dress code regulations should be reduced because they can be more expensive than the alternatives; anyone should be able to show skin without being objectified, and valuing clothes over education takes away instructional time.

Dress codes were first implemented as a way to assure no one gets singled out for not being able to afford certain clothing and to prevent offensive print on clothing. On the contrary to what is commonly believed, “regular” pieces of clothing have become rather inexpensive with thrifting become a more popular way of shopping for clothes and retail brands constantly releasing sales and coupons. Besides, words and graphics on clothing should not be a concern. Regulations that prohibit the use of derogatory content should still be in place so we do not spread or promote hate, violence, racism or sexism. Profanity can debatably be labeled as a form of self-expression but in order to avoid trouble stemming from potentially hateful speech or graphics, the content should be limited.

Additionally, continuing to tell students that they have to dress a certain way to come to school is the further entrenchment to the gender binaries that as a society we have been trying to break away from. Society at a macro scale has shifted to stop telling, more predominantly, females that they should cover up at school. In a school especially that is dedicated to the arts and promotes self-expression in all instances, the dress code is a setback that only serves to retain a norm forced onto everyone.

Lastly, sending students to the office before or during class time is extremely inefficient. Administration takes instructional time rather than give it. A school’s primary goal is to educate but a school cannot do that if it is constantly pulling students from the classes. Rather than simply learn as students came to do, they are forced to sit down in an office waiting for a change of clothes that may never come; schools would rather pull you out so you can wear certain colors and keep conforming to their norms.

While the dress code began with good intentions, its purpose has been distorted and has been used as a means to confine students to an outdated standard. It has been used to justify commodifying what a student should be comfortable in school. If students do not adhere to the dress code they are signaled as if doing something wrong when in reality, dress code is can be more expensive than the alternatives; anyone should be able to show skin without being objectified and valuing clothes over time education takes away instructional time.