A Letter to the 20th Century
September 4, 2020
Every single morning, students, mainly girls, look through their closet to find an outfit that isn’t to tight, isn’t to short, isn’t to ripped, isn’t to sexual, and won’t draw unwanted attention. Open up any school handbook and you will see a list full of do’s and don’ts, but what most teachers and administrators won’t talk about is how that list is extremely sexist and biased against one gender. Girls. The dress codes put in place at Washington High school is extremely dated, and much more harmful then helpful.
Let’s discuss first of how the WHS dress code and administration specifically discriminates girls. The dress code specifically states that no midriff bearing tops are to be worn, and the administration definitely adheres to that rule…only if you are a lady. Just last week a young lady (who shall remain anonymous) got dress coded twice for wearing shirts that showed a sliver of her stomach. Yet, every football Friday, student body can find VI’s (village idiots) walking around in these midriff bearing tops that the WHS administration is so against. Will you ever see one of these boys be asked to change or even reprimanded? Absolutely not. So I must ask what is the difference, is one boy’s education more valuable than a young lady’s? Is there reason their midriff is not distracting but a girls is?
At Massillon Washington High school, if a staff member sees someone wearing clothing that “breaks the rules”, they will make the student cover up, and if they cannot, they will rip them out of class, and force them to find someone to bring appropriate clothes. Education of a student should be valued over discomfort or “distraction”. In the WHS handbook it states, “If a change of clothes is not available…the student will be assigned ISC the remainder of the school day.” Wasting valuable learning time because wondering eyes cannot control their thoughts seems to reinforce the patriarchal standard that it is okay for young men to look at women as bodies instead of their minds.
Lastly, as time progresses so does style. Nowadays things such as crop tops, ripped jeans, biker shorts, leggings, mini skirts, any many other types of “inappropriate” clothing are growing in style and popularity. It is extremely difficult for girls to go to the store and find clothing that adheres to the guidelines. Through fashion, many students express themselves, (enter quote). High school should be be a place of expression, acceptance, and creativity. It is important for schools to progress with the times and allow students to be there authentic selves.
It is time for schools to stop victimizing boys and criminalizing girls. As a society we have moved past blatant sexism. Education and expression must be valued in this school over past rules and regulations. Let’s uphold the future generations of women and hold boys accountable for the toxic masculinity that has been culturally acceptable for decades. It starts at schools.