It is quite honestly a miracle that I actually learned anything while in public school. I’m not stating that I had awful teachers. There were a number of teachers that taught me that were amazing. Several of them have become permanent voices in my head still guiding me in the right direction. The public school system had failed me. It taught me that my education was not nearly as important as my male counterparts.
The school board had decided to implement a dress code during my time in hell, I mean, high school. If one chose not comply with the new policy then they either had to sit in the office until their parents could bring them a spare outfit or they had to sit in ISS, In School Suspension. I drove the only car my family had every day. Often times the school would not let me leave campus to go retrieve another outfit. Probably for the best, I likely would not have returned that day. I honestly would have enjoyed ISS except for the fact that I wasn’t allowed to do anything. I’m not complaining because I couldn’t play games on my phone or doodle in my notebook. I mean I was literally not allowed to do anything except sit there and stare at the wall. I was even yelled at for trying to complete my homework in ISS. Please tell me that I am not the only one who sees a problem with that.
After I graduated, I continued to see news stories about high schools around the country trying to regulate the way teens dressed. As I read many of the new policies being attempted, I began noticing a trend. This trend had been noticed by many before myself and has continued to be recognized by many after me. A lot of these policies often seem more geared toward regulating the way that female students dressed. Even as I had sat in ISS, I noticed a discernible difference between the number of female students in there with me for violating dress code than males.
What exactly was the reasoning for the dress code in the first place? The school board wanted a distraction free zone for learning. That would totally make sense, except for the fact that I wasn’t learning. I was missing class and sent to a place where I wasn’t allowed to study or do homework. Now you may be thinking, ‘If you wanted to learn so bad then you should have just abided by the dress code.’ That does seem logical but let’s not forget that I was a stubborn teenager who hated authority and refused to follow rules that I felt were unneccessary. I was often sent to ISS for wearing holes in my jeans. How exactly are my classmates being distracted by my thighs while they’re hidden under a desk? How are my shoulders so appealing that it prevents people from focusing on what the teacher is saying? We should be more concerned about people being turned on by a shoulder.
Recently, the school board in my area decided they wanted to ban skinny jeans. Why? Well, they’ve stated that some over weight girlshad become the subject of ridicule for wearing these type of jeans to school. Instead of suspending the bullies, they decided the best course of action was to ban this particular type of pant. The policy seems rather sexist. Reading through it, I says that if a student does wear these type of jeans then they must wear a dress or large shirt to cover their butts. I am not saying that men are not allowed to wear dresses. In fact, I would absolutely love it if a bunch of high school boys showed up to school in skinny jeans and dresses. However, in this current day, it is far more common for women to wear dresses. Meaning that this policy is attempting to target women and show them that their education is still not as important as their male classmates.
It’s so easy to find flaws in these dress code policies. The skinny jean ban, for example, is notably hilarious for the fact that their labeled that way for being skinny around the calf and ankle. Many jeans, no matter what style, will typically be fitted around the butt. If they really wanted women to look like shapeless blobs, then they should be banning fitted jeans. Just saying, if they want to hide their sexist intentions then they should be a little more smart about it. They are, after all, a board for our education. Shouldn’t they be capable of figuring out ways to improve our education instead of prohibit learning for women?
That being said, I hope that women keep trying to prove that these policies are sexist. I hope students rebel. Not just the women because women aren’t taken seriously. If only women take a stand for their rights, then they will never be treated the same. If men take the same stand in defense for women, then maybe some changes will happen. Maybe young girls, who actually want to learn while in school, will get the same chance as men.