A Dress Code’s Effect on Young Women

In the MHS handbook, it states that ¨McPherson USD 418, McPherson, Kansas, does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age or handicap in admission or access to or treatment of employment in its programs and activities.¨ Yet further down in the ¨Dress” section it states ¨3. Halter tops and spaghetti straps may not be worn unless they are worn over or under another shirt (not another tank top) and may not expose underclothing. 4. No shirt or blouse may be worn which allow exposed underclothing, midriffs, torso, breasts or cleavage. 5. No off the shoulder shirts or blouses. 6. Shorts, skirts, and dresses should adequately cover the buttocks and upper thighs. 7. Students are required to wear footwear for health reasons. 8. Pants and shorts must be worn fastened at the natural waistline, not exposing underclothing. 9. Clothing and apparel that is of such cut or design as to be considered immodest, shall be deemed inappropriate for wear at school and school activities. Given that styles change over time, the intent of these guidelines is to promote the purpose of the school and reduce potential distractions to the teaching and learning environment. The administration reserves the right to add more guidelines, if deemed necessary.¨ Spaghetti straps, halter tops, breasts, and cleavage are typically found on women. No where in that excerpt is there anything pertaining to the typical male. It explains that the rules are set to keep the teaching and learning environment from any distractions. It is not a young woman’s job to make sure that the others at her school do not get ´distracted´ by her and what she feels comfortable in. At this age, girls just want to feel comfortable and confident with their own bodies, so it is extremely discouraging when the teachers and administrators are telling you that you are distracting. It damages self confidence. It is also very humiliating for girls to be told by adults that they are dressing ¨inappropriately,” especially from the male teachers. Many think the dress code is doing more harm than good at this point.  Is it really worth a hit to a growing girl’s confidence over something that most don’t find a distraction?  There is nothing in the handbook that really pertains to men.  It feels very unfair to the girls that have so many rules. Maybe instead of embarrassing young women we should teach them how to build confidence in their bodies.