The Dress Code – Is It Targeting One Gender?

The Urbandale High School dress code states; “Students are expected to dress and groom themselves in a way that is not offensive or distracting to students and/or staff.” This is a simple and normal way to start a school’s dress code. However, some of the specifications on what students can and cannot wear seem to target only one group of students, females.

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The school dress code does not begin to specify clothing restrictions until the fifth bullet point in the dress code section of the Urbandale High School handbook. It starts by saying that students may not wear clothing that causes “undue attention to anatomical details.” There really is no issue with the dress code until the next sentence. Some of the items include: bare midriff tops, short shorts, mini-skirts shorter than fingertip length, backless tops and open mesh clothing without proper clothing underneath. When most people think of these items of apparel, they do not imagine boys wearing them. Not all females wear articles of clothing such as these, but for some females, these clothes are something they feel comfortable wearing.

An argument that many people use to defend the dress code (in terms with women’s dress), is that female clothing may be a distraction to the boys’ learning. This an implication that a boys education is more important than a girls comfort level in what she is wearing.

Dress coding is more of an issue in the warmer months of the school year than in the colder ones. Girls will tend to wear tank tops and shorts. On occasion, a girls bra strap may become visible. Is it really that surprising to the school that their female students wear bras?              

Now the dress code does still apply to male students. Some restrictions that are more geared towards the male students include sagging pants and articles of clothing showcasing images or words of violence or sexual innuendos. However, not once have people complained that this manner of dress is a distraction to the education of the school’s female students.

While the dress code is not explicit in its targeting of UHS’ female students, it is implying in the rules and regulations it puts in place that what female students wear is less important than her education.


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