Community / Opinion

Let’s change our dress code

Dana Hall’s dress code prohibits “skintight clothing.” This phrase in the dress code is inequitably enforced both in the clothing it’s applied to and to whom it’s applied, which reinforces the unfair standard that girls are subjected to in our society. As a feminist school, we can and should abide by a better ideology, and I call on the Student Council and our administration to reevaluate and perhaps revise our current dress code.

Many students aren’t aware of the skintight clothing ban because the annual Students Affairs presentation focuses on the Four B’s; these require we cover our “boobs, butt, belly and back.” While the skintight clause is mentioned in our Student Handbook, it isn’t spoken about generally.

I’m in favor of a dress code. The rules we follow aim to “help students prepare for the real world [and] form good habits,” in the words of Ms. Kristen Ryan, Dean of Students. I agree that we should have a dress code in order to look professional at school because school is our job. However, there are some inequities in the dress code that we need to address.

The first way the dress code is inequitably applied is the clothing that is forbidden by it. Leggings are clearly skintight and indeed used to be explicitly prohibited in the Student Handbook, but they are now allowed. The dress code is thus contradicting itself. We shouldn’t have a broad skintight clause if the most frequently worn item of clothing in this category is worn by many students every day without comment.

Second, the skintight clause inequitably affects young women with larger chests and larger behinds. I personally am not very curvy, and I have never been told that my clothing is too tight. Friends who have more curves than I do have been forced to change their clothing even though their clothes aren’t actually tighter than mine. Receiving extra attention for their curves is something girls and women face in the real world, but as a feminist school we should aim to be better and to correct the wrongs of what our society is saying.

Our dress code policy is something we, as a community, need to address. Students can make the the administration aware of their concerns by talking with their Student Council representatives. The student government has been able to work with the administration in the past to address issues important to students. Our dress code is an issue that needs to be highlighted because of the inequitable enforcement. We as a school have the ability to make a positive change in our community, and we should work to make sure all students feel respected no matter their appearance.

Image source: Chuck Fieldman, Chicago Tribune.