Dress codes are biased


Austin Ikard

Many schools have dress codes implemented that students must follow.

Emily Vaughn, J1 Reporter

The dress code at James Bowie High School is fairly relaxed, with no specific measurements for the length of any clothing, and the general rule that no violent images, or massively revealing clothing may be worn.

This is what I consider to be immensely important, to allow students to express themselves, may it be through a crop top or a more traditionally modest choice. It ensures that everyone’s dress code needs can be met, nearly whatever that may be. 

The AISD School Wide Dress Code touches upon a few important rules: that all personal areas must be covered, that clothing cannot depict harmful images, and that accessories cannot be easily used as a weapon.

I would say that these rules make a lot of sense: ensuring that the students that attend Bowie are safe from bodily harm is arguably the most important job at a school, even higher than prioritizing learning. Because of this, violent clothing or accessories should certainly not be allowed.

Despite all this, a common complaint with the relaxed nature of Bowie’s dress code is that it is distracting for a school environment. Yeah, sure, walking around completely topless would be distracting. But spaghetti straps? The hint of a bra strap? The ability to tell that a female has breasts? Bodies and the clothing that is worn on them should not be something that needs to be taboo. It should be up to the person’s beliefs that should dictate their clothing choices, not a dress code.

Bodies, especially female bodies, are something that seem to be sexualized so easily, like they are something so secret and outrageous that women should be ashamed of having them. 

I don’t think that’s right, and I don’t think it would be right if the dress code gave women that impression.

I remembered for years, being terrified of showing any skin at all, because I was worried about dress codes, how people would perceive me, and most importantly, I lacked the confidence to express myself. 

Because of this, I would say that the stigma around skin is something that was perpetuated by the dress code. Instead of this stigma, that associates shame for people’s bodies, they should have the ability to be celebrated, because for some people, more revealing clothes is their version of self-expression. 

That’s not how it is for everyone – no, certainly not. But for those who it is, I would hope that they would have the opportunity to wear an outfit that feels good on their body.

At the end of the day, bodies are bodies, and they are simply vessels of which our soul dwells. The clothes that we put on these bodies are also just an expression of what is going on inside. School dress codes are a heated discussion, but I can simply narrow it down to the ability to keep students safe, both physically and emotionally… Now that’s the school’s job.