Enforcing Dress Codes Isn’t Sexual Harassment

It’s getting hot out, and my Facebook feed has been full of Mama’s asking what’s allowed at school for girls to wear, and what’s not.  As I read the answers there are always the post of people freaking out that girls are getting in trouble for wearing booty shorts, sleeveless tops, and sharing quotes like:

Instead of shaming girls for their bodies, teach boys that girls are not sexual objects.

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My answer to that is enforcing a dress code isn’t harassment.  It’s  enforcing a rule. Number one, I agree 100% that the female bodies have been turned into a sexualized object. There is no argument there, at all.   Just the thought of  the backlash over someone seeing a little side boob while breast feeding while bulging boobs in push-up bras can be found, giant sized in the window of any Victoria’s Secret makes me crazy.  But telling girls they can’t wear short shorts or halter tops to school isn’t  violating her rights. It teaching her there is a right and wrong place to wear certain clothing. We’ve become so focused nowadays on “My rights are being violated and if I’m not getting what I want, I’m going to make a HUGE deal out of it” that we’ve gotten a bit silly. You are NOT ENTITLED TO WEAR WHATEVER YOU WANT, WHENEVER YOU WANT.  Period.  End of Subject. Rules are rules, and the thing is we all have to follow them.

This isn’t about sexualizing a body. It’s about respecting rules.

If I were to read a dress code that treated boys and girls differently, I’d be the first one calling foul.  But for the most part, what I am reading is about girls complaining when they can’t wear what they want, regardless of the dress code.  Pretty much all the dress codes are alike. In our school district, the rules are the same. There is NO differentiating between males and females:

  • Blouses/Shirts: Blouses/shirts should be constructed so that the tops of the shoulders are covered. Blouses/shirts will not allow exposure of any portion of the waist, hips, midriff, or exposure of the chest.
  • Skirts/Shorts/Dresses/Pants: Skirts, shorts, and dresses should have hemlines that are mid-thigh. (Mid-thigh is defined as: while holding arms down at one’s side, the mid-thigh is at the end of the finger tips.). With safety as our primary concern, pants should be worn to stay close to the waist; undergarments should be completely covered.
  • Attire: Attire that displays indecent language, pictures or symbols that contain sexual references, or that advertise or encourage the use of drugs, tobacco products, alcoholic beverages are prohibited. Messages of violence or gang allegiance are prohibited. Pajamas, slippers and other lounging attire are not allowed.

In other words, these are the clothing rules that they deem acceptable for their school for BOTH MALES AND FEMALES. It’s the atmosphere they want to maintain at their school. I wouldn’t let my daughter OR my son wear clothing that was too short or showed their shoulders, not because it shows off their bodies, but because I want them to learn about real life and how to follow rules. Girls are just as cool in mid-thigh length shorts as the boys are.  Shorter doesn’t mean cooler. It means shorter. The dress codes don’t say “shorts for boys but no shorts for girls”  they say the same thing: appropriate length shorts for both sexes.

If you think I’m saying “don’t wear booty shorts, or crop tops, or mini skirts or any type of revealing clothing”, I’m not! It doesn’t phase me when I see people dressed in shorter clothing.  I’m not slut shaming or saying it wrong to wear them ON THEIR OWN TIME. I love seeing how different people express their individuality with their clothing styles when they are appropriate.  When you’re on your own time ,you deem what’s appropriate.  When your on someone else’s clock, they get to call the shots.

It’s all about dressing appropriately for the place you are.  Here’s the thing, school is basically work for kids. It’s their ‘place of employment’, and most jobs have dress codes.   When I go into my Doctors office,  the staff and the doctors are all dressed appropriately for that office.  When I go into my local grocery store, everyone is dresses similarly.   Simply because it’s high school doesn’t, or shouldn’t get you special privileges on how to dress.  That sure as hell doesn’t happen when you enter the work force.  You are not entitled to wear what you want, when you want.  You may look banging’ in your mini skirt and crop top,  but I’m pretty sure you can’t show up to work at an office in them. You damn sure can’t complain to your boss that he’s being sexist and he’s wrong if he reprimands or disciplines you and  tell him you should be able to wear whatever you want. Well, you can, but it won’t get you a free pass,  it will probably get you a pink slip.   Rules are rules.  Dress according to the rules, and you’ll be fine.

It’s not sexist, it’s life.

43 Comments

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