Indecency or injustice?

This school year it is clear that dress code is a huge problem around Pueblo West High School. Girls all around the school are overly sexualized for showing excessive amounts of skin in inappropriate areas, also known as shoulders. You have been given information in the handbook; you have heard about it in the announcements;  you may have experienced it first hand. Even with the hot weather and poor air-conditioning, the dress code will be enforced and many students have a problem with it. Over the years, specific dress code regulations have caused numerous disputes between students and faculty. Targeting mainly female students, our school’s dress code can be deemed as oppressing.

Starting as early as elementary school, schoolgirls are told that their bodies are a distraction to boys and their educations. Instead of boy students being taught to respect their peers female students will be pulled from class to get new clothes, to contact their parents, or even to go home due to how they dress. Not only is this taking away from their education, but also it tells the students that their bodies are inappropriate and need to be covered. We are taught that our self-respect is determined by how we choose to clothe ourselves. Our bodies are seen as a distraction. Our bodies are regulated.

Male students hardly ever get in trouble for breaking dress code regulations. It is rare to see boys get dress-coded unless it is over something simple like wearing a hat in the building. Faculty members and students fight the thought that the dress code is aimed mostly at girls by saying that the dress code applies to boys too. In everyday life you would more than likely never see a boy wearing shorts shorter than their fingertips, crop tops, or shirts that expose a lot of skin. If you walk into female clothing stores you will find clothing matching that description in mass – it is part of our generation.

It is easy to see the faculty’s reasoning for enforcing the dress code; sometimes students look indecent or unprofessional at school. The problem is not that our school wants us to look modest and professional, the problem is our school is regulating our bodies, telling us they are inappropriate, limiting our self-expression and enforcing a dress code mainly directed at females.

Female bodies should not be labeled as a distraction. Shoulders and legs are not body parts that should be sexualized or deemed inappropriate for viewing. Boy students should have the self-discipline to not let clothing of a peer affect their learning. When asked about his views on our school dress code, Mr. Martinez, a teacher in the building stated, “The dress code is too lenient. Actually, I think we should have school uniforms because it limits arguments and in the workforce you will all likely wear uniforms.” However, uniforms would be more oppressing than the current dress code, in my opinion.

In the future years coming to Pueblo West High School and schools all over the country, dress code will continue to be a problem. The dress code is constantly fluctuating through administrative regulations. Student and faculty views will probably remain the same: teachers are for it, students (usually female) hate it. “It’s an annoying rule,” says a student Ethan Mascarenas, “I don’t see it ever not being a problem in any schools.”