Society’s Standards: Clothing


The winners of “Best Style” in the yearbook, seniors Emma Jarvis & Dylan Amaro. Photo taken by Bennett Proegler.

It is the year 2018, and women and girls are still told what to wear. Many schools and communities have strict dress codes that take away the ability for women to express themselves through their clothes. Chelsea School District has done a reasonable job at managing the dress code. In the high school, they give us more freedom to wear what we want. However, this does not mean that this isn’t a problem in our society. Telling a young girl that her shoulders are too distracting sets a precedent that can never be reversed. This teaches girls that they are at fault for a man staring at them, when in reality, the blame should be put on the boy. I understand that there must be a limit on some clothing, such as gang related symbols that can be associated with violence, but in my experience, fingertip-length shorts are far too excessive.

The shape of a student’s body is a major factor in determining the school’s dress code for that individual. One student, Greta Robbins, said that she feels more comfortable dressing differently than her sister because of their different body types. “I’m worried that I am looked down upon when wearing lower-cut or tight shirts simply because I am bustier than some other girls, so I just decide to dress more conservative,” Robbins said. She is just one of many girls who have these feelings about their body in relation to what they wear. Women should not be ashamed to wear something because they are worried about being judged. This concern is rooted in adults telling girls from a young age that certain outfits call unwanted attention to their body.

Some girls also feel like they are being singled-out for their body features that aren’t seen a typical. Nina White has always been blessed with long legs and arms–which hasn’t always been a positive thing. “My most notable dress code violation was when I was in middle school, and I was wearing a skirt that was just as long as my friend’s shorts. My friend on the other hand, had skinnier and shorter legs than I had, but I was the one taken out of class. I was escorted to the office, and I had to call home and wait to get new clothes.” Nina has since then embraced her body. She was once shamed for her long legs and arms, but now she uses them to dominate on the volleyball court. The moral of the story is that it is more of a disruption for the girl that is deliberately taken out of class than it is for the boy that is supposedly distracted by the girls body. School is a place of learning and positive social interaction. Focusing on a girl’s outfit takes away from the major focuses of school, and that is why the school’s dress code should be more of a standard to follow rather than a punishable act.