Dress Code: Sexism Undercover

Isabella Goates

Dress codes are a part of a school, whether public, private, or charter. It still depends on what is considered “appropriate” within the school- such as private schools having uniforms, but in public schools, uniforms aren’t part of the curriculum. Students can express themselves through what they wear, in their style. People send messages with the type of clothing they wear, and for some students, it’s essential to them to be able to wear the clothing they want to wear. 

The dress code for the Canyons School district is usually understandable. Gang-related clothing and paraphernalia are prohibited, dresses must be clean and modest, clothing should not distract from the educational mission, and hats of any kind are not allowed. These requirements can be found in most work settings, which get students ready for the times when they must enter a professional environment.

However, with the rising concern over public education from parents within the system, including Canyons District, the dress code has become another subject that people are fighting over. There has been much concern not over what boys wear but over what girls wear. Many parents have gone to board meetings concerned for their children seeing deemed inappropriate clothing. Tank-top straps, short dresses, and shorts have been discussed. Parents complain about their children feeling “uncomfortable” when this is about them and their feelings of discomfort over what they don’t even see going on in the schools. Even with the dress code, girls are held to unusually high standards; even when they are sexualized, they still need to be appropriate. When is that ever going to change?

The professionalism within the classrooms hasn’t particularly changed. Students are students, and they are in an environment that is meant to spark creativity and to be safe. Students can’t do that if they are constantly being pressured and censured by parents who haven’t gone through the system, who express themselves in conformity and in being what society sees as “normal.” Of course, not every person expresses themselves that way, and everyone should respect that, including parents and just people in general. 

People need to be more understanding of what it means to be expressive, including clothing. By understanding and being empathetic towards those who are in school but also in life outside of school, this injustice will not only be fixed but will make the world a better place.