thing of the past? – Basement medicine
Dress codes, while gone from most people’s lives by the time they get to college, are certainly not forgotten. Just mentioning them brings heated discussions to life. But why is this such a big deal?
First of all, it is important to understand the intention. âWe are preparing students for an outside world, and we should think of it as work, and students should see coming to school as work,â said Darcy Fletcher, administrator of a local college. “I think we’re just preparing people for the real world.”
Many other administrators agree, saying that in the world beyond school, what you wear determines some important things. âIf you are dressed professionally, you act professionally,â said Diane Reilly, principal of an elementary school. âClothing can really affect your behavior. “
It can also affect the way you learn, according to elementary school teacher Daylin Judkins. âYou come to get professional and learn,â Judkins said. “You’re not coming to show what’s under your clothes.” This sentiment has been echoed by many others.
The idea that professional dress promotes a professional environment is prevalent in school communities and the world at large. Although widespread, however, it is not necessarily shared among students.
“They say it’s for professionalism,” said NVU student Ally Marcou, who has researched dress codes. âThey talk about how it is for consistency and school spirit. I really think it comes down to a bit of patriarchy and a bit of societal expectations, though. “
Arlo Adrich, an NVU student who attended high school at St. Johnsbury Academy, was also disappointed with the professionalism that was the reason for the dress codes. âThey say the point was to encourage professional behavior, which was so stupid and completely wrong,â he said. âIn reality, it was very outdated.
He added another reason to the dress codes, at least in his experience. âI think it was a question of image. They wanted their school to be that place of professionalism and elites, but in the end I think it was an outdated thing that will never change, unfortunately.
While students interviewed for this article agree that teachers and administrators cite âprofessionalismâ as the rationale for dress codes, many also feel something darker behind the codes – sexism.
âI don’t think the intention is to be misogynist,â said high school student Adelle MacDowell. âI think it comes from a half-conceived and mistaken notion of ‘we should try to keep things professional and have a safe learning environment’, but it turns into something that can be used as a tool to oppress women. “
It is a common feeling among a number of female college students that although the wording emphasizes creating a safe space, the idea behind it is pervasive in society. Bodies, and women’s bodies in particular, are considered unprofessional.
Male college students also agree with this. âLike most things in society, dress codes only exist to make old whites happy,â said Union 32 student Colby Frostick. âThey have this idea of ââwhat a woman should be. , but in reality it is very different now. We have a lot more body positivity and it’s more open.
NVU student Danye Bell asked, âAt the end of the day, what’s unprofessional about a woman’s breast? This is the real question that many people struggle with. In our company, you are expected to cover up when you go to work, and after working hours you can take off your outer layers and have fun.
While there is nothing inherently wrong with the notion of different clothes for different occasions, there is clearly a group of people that this idea centers around. Men’s outfits are judged professional or unprofessional by the amount of pimples, while women’s outfits are judged by the amount of skin.
This was the case at Craftsbury Academy. âMen were given a dress code for profanity on their t-shirts, while girls were given a dress code to show off their skin,â said Orion Cenkl. “But that was pretty much at the manager’s discretion, and she was traditional and old-fashioned and didn’t like new fashion trends.”
Some say that in addition to the idea that bodies are unprofessional, student dress code negatively affects the quality of learning.
“I have some anguish against the current policies, as I have the impression that they mainly concern the police bodies and the accumulation of unnecessary disciplinary measures,” said a teacher, who wished to remain anonymous . âWhen I think of a dress code, I think of growing up in the South, and I would always be in trouble for having ripped jeans. It would clearly disrupt my educational experience and take me out of the classroom to meet the dean just to have holes in my jeans.
Many students agree that dress codes are completely unnecessary. âMy school doesn’t really have a dress code and everything seems to be going well. Seeing someone’s stomach isn’t something that makes learning more difficult, âsaid high school student Anna Gale.
Other schools also function very well without dress codes. “In England you can really wear anything and nobody cares.” Cenkl said. “It’s just an unspoken rule that you don’t wear anything too much out there.”
Even in schools where there are dress codes, students are not necessarily required to go home and change. Mae Searles, a high school student, remembers wearing shorts that violated the dress code.
âMy shorts weren’t at my fingertips, but I didn’t have to change. It was just public humiliation, “she said. This theme of being questioned in front of people, without direct disciplinary action, is common.
MacDowell experienced this when his shorts broke the dress code. âIt was just a little embarrassing – to be berated that way when you didn’t feel like you were doing something wrong, especially in front of other people,â she said, recalling ‘a time when one of her friends wore a skirt. who, while technically respecting the dress code, was questioned by several teachers. The student was eventually asked to pull up her skirt to prove she had spandex underneath, much to her embarrassment.
“My sister [got dress-coded] all the time, âBell said. “She’s plus size so she couldn’t wear certain things without them saying ‘oh, this is inappropriate.’ Women are much more affected by the dress code than men, especially plus size people. .
âTheir bodies are naturally more restricted by dress codes, because you can’t show your cleavage and your thighs, and you have to have your skirts below a certain point, but if you’re a certain size your skirts won’t. are not. will drop that low.
It’s not just tall people who feel particularly targeted. Marcou said the issue goes beyond narrow consideration, extending to areas of the classroom as well. âWomen from low-income communities are particularly affected,â she said. “It’s done like an equalizer, but I personally feel like it can create more problems.”
In the end, there seemed to be one main characteristic in those most affected. “[Dress codes] predominantly target women, âsaid Frostick. “I would never have a dress code for something I would normally wear, but girls do it for totally ridiculous things.” He once recounted that he and his friends decided to have an express dress code, just to prove a point.
Dress codes aren’t just for women. âI have a dress code for sure, all the time,â Aldrich said. “But I would just ignore it.”
âThe girls probably had it much harder,â he adds.
Of course, some administrators and teachers have little use for dress codes.
âIf mutual respect for identities remains, there is no need for a dress code,â said another teacher who asked not to be identified because of her position. âI wouldn’t want to see things that promote extreme vulgarities, but I wouldn’t say it would be detrimental because there are no dress codes in society.
âWe don’t go out to the grocery store and get destroyed all day by other people and what they’re wearing, even if it’s not a work environment. I think if we instill culture and norms and mutual respect, and that’s ingrained, I don’t see the need for a dress code.
In the end, it is true that dress codes are a thing of the past for many college students, but we remember the feeling they caused.
âIn high school I was always scared if what I was wearing was too revealing or showing too much and if I was getting stares,â said Mei Elander, an NVU student. âBut here I can just wear whatever I want and not have to worry about comments.
âEveryone wears anything, and everyone is okay with that. I think [dress codes] relate to how women are sexualized and how it becomes their fault if they wear certain clothes. Girls will be called sluts and whores for wearing certain things, and schools respond to this by having a dress code. “
Dress codes are likely to remain in place in many schools across the country, which elementary school teacher Erin Carr finds disturbing. These codes reflect distorted priorities, she suggested.
“When the dress code is written in a way that says ‘clothes are a distraction for others’, it feels like part of the spectrum of cultural practices that force women to cover up to prevent thoughts. “unclean” of men, “Carr said. âWe need to think about the source of the problem. Is it in the clothes someone is wearing, or in the mind of the beholder? Adults should focus on the student’s schoolwork, not on their clothes or body.