The Importance Of Dress Codes On The Female Body

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As spring rapidly approaches students in schools all over America will begin to ‘strip down’ into cooler clothing. However, many schools will be putting a limit specifically on how many layers the students can loose this year with strict dress codes promoting modesty. While following the clothing requirements is mandatory for both male and female students, the main objective of the dress code seems to be more that of covering the female body instead. While the majority of schools use the enforcement of “dress codes” to discourage gang behavior and promote uniformity among the student body, they ultimately reinforce the outdated idea that women’s bodies are distracting sexual objects that need to be covered up.
What do dress codes say about the female body? The majority of restrictions accompanying school dress requirements apply solely to women. Schools all over the country have banned items that reveal the female figure from leggings to strapless dresses (Brown, 2005). One of the main ideas behind these restrictions is to avoid “distracting” other students (i.e. males). While the behavior of males is excused, these dress codes put all the blame on women to make sure her body isn’t viewed as an inherent sexual threat by her fellow classmates.
“ When you tell a girl what to wear (or force her to cover up with an oversized T-shirt), you control her body. When you control a girl’s body—even if it is ostensibly for her “own good”—you take away her agency. You tell her that her body is not her own (Valenti, 2013).”
Forcing women to cover their bodies not only takes away their ownership of them, but forces them to view themselves as hypersexualized individuals that need to be tamed. This view can cause women to be ...

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...e suggestion of

cleavage. This is not the case. To suggest that the brainpower of male students is too stilted to concentrate in the presence of cleavage is insulting to males as well. It is a dangerous thought that a boy who would never before have made this excuse for his

lack of concentration might hear his teachers making it for him and then begin using

it himself.

While men are much less distracted by women’s exposed bodies than many

schools give them credit for, the idea that women are the ones responsible for the

behavior of both genders is a dangerous one. Asking women to cover up is a surface

solution to far more socially ingrained problems such as misogyny and rape culture

(Valenti, 2013). As long as a female is always sexualized, it won’t matter how much

of herself she covers up—she’ll still be faulted for her inappropriate behavior.

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