INTERVIEWS AND ANALYSIS OF OUR CURRENT UPPER SCHOOL DRESS CODE… WHY IT’S PROBLEMATIC AND WHY IT NEEDS TO CHANGE
by Camryn Parsons
Some questions I asked the head of school Dr. Biselle to think about. Everyone should consider these! ☺
- What do you think is the point of our school’s dress code?
- Why do you think dress code is so strongly enforced when there are various other issues that seem to be more critical matters?
- What is it about blue jeans in particular that make them not permitted to be worn in the school while any other colored jeans are acceptable?
- Do you think our dress code is in any way contradicting our school’s empowering feminist beliefs for young woman?
- Where is the problem in wearing a formal sleeveless dress in a school with no air conditioning?
- Do you think the dress code and what we are allowed to wear enforces the disparity between socioeconomic classes? Or do you think it helps lessen the line of distinction?
- What is the point of finger tip length skirts, dresses, and shorts when many stores don’t even give these options? Could this be a sign this rule is outdated?
- If the goal is to be “professional” how is wearing a baggy HB T-shirt and sweat shirt any better than nice leggings and a formal top or sleeveless dress?
- Do you think the dress code in any way is limiting to self expression?
- Do you think that the “professional” aspect of our dress code attempts to define and simplify what professions we are supposed to pursue?
What a student has to say when asked about dress code (most other responses I got were fairly similar):
“I don’t know. Like, um, I mean I feel like since we’re in high school we should have the freedom to dress ourselves. When we are adults, we will know how to dress professionally. We’re not going to wear sweatpants to our job. But we’re in high school. And the whole thing is sort of sexist too.”
Next I asked teachers some specific questions about their thoughts on our dress code.
- Question and response with Ms. Day:
Why do you find it so important to enforce the dress code here?
“Well I think if the school is going to have a dress code we should enforce it.”
- Question and response with Ms. Armstrong:
I have heard you voice your opinion which seems to be anti-dress code. Can you explain why this is?
“I do not support dress code in any way. I think women, including young women should be able to put whatever they want on their bodies and wear it.”
- Question and response with Mr. Dimitrov
As a new teacher here, what are your opinions on dress code?
“I have been to schools with extremely strict dress codes and none at all and I see no impact on a student’s performance.”
After discussing dress code with Dr. Biselle, I’ve decided to come up with my own idea for an alternative dress code. She mentioned it having to fill the following criteria: financial, cultural, parental, and female empowerment. In my eyes, there’s a very simple way to improve and update our dress code making the majority of the student body much happier. After all, about 50% of students or more are not following dress code anyways and wearing leggings every day – so why not change it? What is the point in keeping this? It just doesn’t make sense.
THREE MAIN THINGS I WOULD CHANGE ABOUT DRESS CODE
1. Leggings should be permitted. They are comfortable yet also look nice and can be part of a “professional” look (if that is what HB is going for. A pair of purple jeans and a baggy HB T-shirt is not going with the professional look anymore so then a nice pair of leggings). Students like them and they wear them, despite it being against the dress code. So, why not students wear their favorite pants without having to walk through the hallway or in the lunchroom in fear that they will be punished for this? Not only does it suck having to wear uncomfortable pants every day to be in dress code, but it also teaches girls to be self-conscious and all too aware of what we put on our body.
2. Sleeveless tops should be permitted. They are not an issue. They can look nice and professional. And if we attend a school where shoulders are provocative, then what is this teaching us? What does this say? I don’t even want to answer that.
3. Finger tip shorts rule should be abolished. These don’t exist in many of the stores the majority of teenagers shop in, so this should say enough. Our school is hot and non-air-conditioned, so what is wrong with wearing the shorts stores actually sell? This feels unfair, and I’ve heard many complaints from a variety of different people. Legs should not be shamed.