Dress Codes: Who's To Blame?

With feminist power on the rise, heads have begun to turn towards the injustices that many women, young and old, face each and every day. Most recently, dress codes have been a huge buzz phrase in the media, and not for good reasons. About two weeks ago, news came out that high school senior Mireya Briceno was ejected from her prom for her dress being “too revealing”. The dress in question was a blue and white spotted mermaid styled dress. The dress was backless, but her school’s dress code explicitly allowed backless dresses.

So why was she kicked out? The principal says that when Mireya entered the prom with her date’s jacket on, it was because she knew her dress was too revealing. Some sources say she agreed with that statement, and others say she denied it.

Not even a day later, another story of a prom dress code violation popped up. This time, student Alexus Miller-Wigfall was able to attend and enjoy her prom. However, a full 3 days later, she was hit with a suspension for her dress also being “too revealing”. Her mother, Alisha Sneed believes that because Alexus is “plus-sized” that she was targeted. Alexus’ statement aligned with her mothers. Alexus said that the assistant principal told her as much. “She said, ‘You have more boobs than the other girls. The other girls have less to show.'”

Sources go on to say that many modifications were made to the dress to better comply with the school’s dress code.

Here is the question that I pose for my readers today. Why are these girls being punished? Of course it’s my personal opinion that neither of these girls were wearing anything against the dress codes imposed upon them, but why are these dress codes so strict in the first place? A prom is supposed to the night of a girl’s dreams, and what worse a way to have those dreams dashed than by something as silly as a dress code. I’m sure many schools would like to say that they are protecting the modesty of these girls, but I don’t find that true. They cover us up because our body parts are deemed “distractions”. Who are they distraction for? The hormonal teenage boys that we attend school with,right? So why, instead of going to the root of the problem, are we punishing these girls?


These signs, and many like them, have begun to appear in the halls of our nation’s high schools. Girls want to step up and make changes in how society perceives us! Still don’t believe me? Go to Google and search “dress codes”, then click on the link that says “News”. Unfortunately, there are way more examples of dress code “violations” in today’s news than the examples I’ve left above. Go see for yourself. Again, these are my personal sentiments, and if you have a different opinion, I’d love to hear about it! So what should we do about these dress codes? Blatanly ignore them? Go to the media like the girls above did? What can we do to make a change? With summer coming up and school’s letting out, it’s time to make a game plan ladies!

Girl Power!

-The Mechanic <3

Sources:

http://www.seventeen.com/prom/news/a30441/gorgeous-prom-dress-was-deemed-inappropriate-got-this-senior-kicked-out-of-prom/

http://www.seventeen.com/prom/prom-style/news/a30490/plus-size-teen-faced-suspension-over-too-revealing-dress/

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3061213/High-school-senior-sent-home-prom-teachers-said-floor-length-backless-dress-violated-dress-code.html

http://www.pennlive.com/midstate/index.ssf/2015/04/harrisburg_prom_dress_triggers.html

http://getschooled.blog.ajc.com/2014/11/21/girls-getting-fed-up-with-school-dress-codes-that-treat-them-distractions-to-be-shamed-and-covered-up/

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23 Comments

  1. It’s so stupid that this has became such a big issue. Girls shouldn’t be wearing revealing clothes regardless of whether they’re there to learn or not. This is not a matter of education, it’s the parent’s responsibility to make sure that girls are in school to learn and get the hell out and get into the work force not become fashion models waiting to get pregnant. Indecency is not in anyway permissible, hot or not; a girl can wear less heavy clothing without looking like a prostitute. Just saying.

      1. Yeah I even I don’t understand why the shoulder thing is an issue, as long as the cleavage is tucked in and they aren’t showing they’re legs up to their panties (AKA booty shorts) everything’s fine.

  2. Ugh this is really so annoying. I understand dress codes and they should be respected, but some of these incidents are just awful. Schools are really sexualizing these young women and shaming them in all sorts of was, instead of teaching the girls to be confident and wear what they want as long as it’s modest and abides with the school dress codes, and teaching boys to not get distracted by mere shoulders and a bra strap.
    Honestly, if I was a boy here, I would be more offended if my school suggested that these kinds of things would distract me. When there’s the internet and free porn, schools are trying to censor shoulders and backs and legs. Really makes me laugh.

    xox
    head2heels.co

  3. Having gone to a Catholic school for high school where, strapless gowns were a no-no until my senior year in 2002, I understand their frustration. I think the biggest issue here is that modest only applies to women because only women are responsible for a man’s action. Even as an adult in the workplace I hear and see things that are equivalent to this with the thought behind it being, “your evil legs will temp a man into doing something he may not want to do.” Insane.

  4. This is troubling on many issues. Addressing both cases as they stand- neither of these dresses seem to be “too revealing” and both follow the dress codes. My goodness. Both have sleeves and are quite long; two things that tend to be common measuring sticks of whether a dress is “acceptable” or not.

    The larger scale issue of dress codes in schools is also an interesting one. As schools are entities, they have that right to impose dress codes, and enforce them. Sadly, litigation against institutions for reasons relating to inappropriately attired people is not unknown, and I’d be willing to bet that many schools have dress codes in place to cover such situations. Additionally, learning to dress appropriately for certain situations is important, as dress codes (though not hard rules, usually) certainly exist in many parts of life, and understanding the image you project is useful. What bothers me about such dress codes, especially school dress codes, is they tend to be very sexist, far more concerned about what women wear than what their male students wear.

    Focussing on one group does unfairly punish that group. Since most of dress code rules relate to girls, and how much skin is revealed, it does sexualize them. It also implies that male staff and students cannot be held accountable for their own actions or words.

    1. I definitely agree that in life there are specific dress codes we should adhere to,such as in the workplace. I’m pretty much just watching to see if any or all of this media coverage prompts someone to do something.

  5. Even in when I was in elementary school girls weren’t allowed to wear tank tops! Like what the heck! These schools need to stop and think about what gender is the real problem.

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