Double Takes and Double Standards

The objectification of women and the sexism of school dress codes needs to stop


We can work together to fight all forms of sexism.

“It’s unfair. I hate the dress code so much. If you look at all the rules that girls have compared to guys, it’s way too much. The girl dress code is only so guys don’t get distracted. And guys don’t ever get dress coded, not even for the naked girls on their shirts. They don’t get dress coded for muscle shirts either, but girls will get dress coded for exposed shoulders which is just a normal part of the body.”

Sophomore at El Modena, Daniella Tenney, remains one of the many students that feel the dress-code is  bias. When asked how she felt about seeing boys wear shirts or other clothing with revealed/sexy women on them, she said, “Yeah it’s totally objectifying woman…like if you’re gonna put us on a shirt, it’s an object, and girls get used for ads all the time. It’s like they’re selling us and not the product, like in the Carl’s Jr. commercials.” 

There is a total contradiction between what is  produced, advertised, and sold to men and teenage boys and what girls are allowed to wear. Companies are using women to sell products, and it’s not even a fair representation of them. They force standards of beauty on women. The worst part is that these articles of clothing, featuring the perfectly curved, skinny, sexy, women, clad in close to nothing, are widely excepted in today’s culture (at least by the men who wear them). Male students who wear this type of clothing are rarely, if ever, called out, whereas girls will be dress-coded for something as small as an exposed shoulder. Furthermore, the female restrictions on dress at most high schools exist so that the male students can focus properly, which disparages both genders. This promotes the idea that males simply cannot help themselves, and that is completely acceptable and natural. It teaches men that they do not need to have self control, rather, their environment will be tailored to fit their mindsets. This screams sexism, but sadly, no one is listening. They’re more focused on girls’ “inappropriate” display of their shoulders, yoga pants, and God forbid, a slight glimpse of their backs.  The dress code sexualizes the bodies of teenage girls.

Now of course, a dress code is mandatory on a school campus (modesty is important and there is a limit on what a person should be allowed to wear on a campus), but it should be fair, or at least its enforcement should be fair, which in most cases, it is not. A girl can’t show up to school in Daisy Dukes, but a guy can show up wearing a shirt with a woman in Daisy Dukes on it. Both are inappropriate, but normally, only the female student would be chastised. Also, if the roles were reversed, it would probably make a good number of male students feel uncomfortable, maybe even insecure, if a girl walked around with a muscly, shirtless, hunk on her shirt.

Some argue that the dress code’s very specific restrictions on girls’ clothing is to maintain professionalism on campus. However, this is contradictory to the fact that students, at least at public schools, dress casually. They wear sweats, T-shirts, run-down converse, etc. If the dress code was truly aimed at maintaining the dignity of a school, wouldn’t more rules exist and be less targeted at female students? Even school dances are not safe from sexism. Just last year, Virginia senior Mireya Briceno was sent home for her floor length, backless dress. That’s right, floor length. It was deemed too revealing by a teacher, and the heartbroken teen was sent home. The dress she wore, was in actuality, classy and flattering, as a prom dress should be.

The dress that the senior Mireya Briceno was sent home for wearing

28241CB000000578-3061213-image-m-62_1430329933059© Mireya Briceno© Mireya Briceno

This issue may not be as pressing, or even as close to dire as the issues for women all across the world, but it is still important to address it and seek change. Women and teenage girls are tired of being sexualized and objectified, unrealistic depictions of their bodies being slapped on T-shirts, used to sell products. They are tired of the unrealistic beauty standards that surround them from a young age, stay in their minds, and make them feel insecure if their body does not meet societal expectations. I’m sure men are tired of being perceived as sex-crazed as well. Together, we can fight the double standards.

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