Who? What? Wear?

The dress code at UHS may prevent some inappropriate clothing items from circling the school, but the rules are outdated and sexist towards female students. Every year, once school starts in August, students walk through the halls in their new outfits. Teachers watch for “revealing” outfits that violate the school rules. Many students feel that the dress code is unfair and unnecessary. Young women want their voices to be heard.

The Urbandale school website has the guidelines for how to follow the dress code. The dress code is enforced and those who do not follow these rules will be forced to cover up. Almost everyone agrees that rules against clothing with hate speech or graphic images are necessary. But some of these rules are simply too much for some to handle.

“Some rules are not necessary, such as the thumb rule because it is not fair if a girl with long arms is dress coded wearing the same item of clothing as a girl with shorter arms,” said Kari McFarlane, UHS parent.

McFarlane is referring to the rule that states short shorts and mini skirts must be longer than fingertip length. Most of the restricted options are pertaining to what female students are wearing.

“I have never seen a boy get dress coded, but I have seen a boy get away with wearing a curse word on his shirt,” said Bellah McFarlane, UMS 8th grader.

Now, young women are making their feelings about these dress codes clear. They believe that the school’s efforts have been focused on keeping young women from distracting males when they should be making sure young men don’t get distracted. The use of social media has brought this important conversation to light. In other schools across the country, protests have been lead by students. Their message is clear: dress codes are sexist in that they blame females for sexual harassment. This point has become even more important due to recent women’s rights movements such as the #metoo movement.

Young women are the clear reason the dress code is so strict. Women’s fashion is designed to let women express themselves. The addition of some of the “risque” details found in young women’s clothes is not inherently sexual or distracting. The school created this ban on showing “too much skin” but what gives them the authority to approve or disapprove a student’s outfit because it is too sexual for their taste. I believe if a staff member finds a young woman too sexual they should be the one going to the office.


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