Reform the 204 Dress Code
Reform the 204 Dress Code
Why this petition matters
There are so many problems with dress codes. Before I even start with how dress codes sexualize and objectify children, are sexist, perpetrate sexual assault and victim-blaming, etc. I’d like to say that while this may not apply to all schools and I’m well aware that many different schools everywhere have very different dress codes that may be way more or less strict than ours, but for ours and many that I know specifically, the dress code is certainly not existing out of the purpose to make us dress appropriately for a work setting. The dress code is not there to prepare us for dressing professionally in our future job settings as many may say. I know this because kids wear all sorts of clothes that don’t break the dress code yet certainly wouldn’t be considered appropriate for an average work environment. I also completely understand how children shouldn’t dress and behave in inherently sexual ways. But that’s not even the problem here. Because our bodies simply aren’t inherently sexual except for our specific sexual reproducing organs. And last time I checked things like shoulders, legs, and stomachs are absolutely not sexual at all unless someone makes it sexual for them personally. That is called sexualizing. Now I haven’t exactly asked anyone above me specifically as to why we have the dress code in place so I can’t tell you and therefore can’t oppose any specific reasons. But I can tell you that many kids across the world, in my country, in my state, in my city, in my school, and in my friend group all personally feel a negative way about school dress codes in general. Girls aren’t showing up to school looking like strippers and then getting dress coded, we show up showing a couple of inches of our shoulders, our stomachs, our thighs and we get shamed. We get told to go change, or cover-up “because of our safety”. That is where I see one of the largest issues with dress codes. Many may say or believe that dress codes are in place for the ones who may be dressing “inappropriately”. As if we are getting sexualized, sexually harassed, sexually assaulted, even raped merely for our clothes. It’s absolutely disgusting to see how people who work directly and indirectly with children could perpetuate the victim-blaming of sexual assault survivors and continue to blame clothing over the disgusting human beings who commit these crimes. By making a literal child change because she is showing her stomach and/or shoulders, legs, etc., something not even remotely sexual you 1. Are blaming the potential victim for what they wore 2. Perpetrate the stereotype that certain crimes may happen to an individual because of what they wore 3. Sexualize something that’s not sexual 4. Sexualizing a CHILD, and 5. Making a kid feel bad for wearing something that they were comfortable in when there was absolutely no problem with it. Another thing I’ve noticed when teachers or principals give presentations on dress codes, something often mentioned is that the clothes not allowed in school are “fine for hanging out with your friends and such but not appropriate for a school setting”. Now please tell me how in the world that makes any sense. Because first of all the majority of those people we hang out with outside of school are probably the same ones in a school other than the teachers. So are you saying that the clothes we wear are not appropriate for school because of the teachers? Now I would certainly hope no one is allowing creeps to be working with children so I would assume it’s for another reason. Such as other students (mainly boys) getting “distracted” by someone else's body or clothing. Which I’m going to only say once more is absolutely ridiculous because you are making someone do something in order to help what someone else may think or do. You make a girl cover up her stomach because someone else is sexualizing her? And getting “distracted” by her? Why are we making that girl's fault? Why are we blaming the victims for existing rather than blaming these children for their thoughts and actions? We’re allowing people to have the excuse for their actions of what the victim was wearing. It simply doesn’t make sense that sexual assault would happen “because of what the victim was wearing”. If the assaulter claims so then it’s most likely because of things like school dress codes that have bred young people into having these kinds of mindsets to objectify and not respect people’s bodies. I can guarantee you that I have met puppies that understand “no” more than grown adults. It’s not the victim’s fault for standing there to get violently attacked by a dog. It’s the dog and the dog’s owners’ fault for not being trained and training the dog. Just like in the same way it’s not a victim’s fault for getting raped because she was dressed like a slut, it’s the disgusting man’s fault for not respecting women, respecting boundaries, and respecting consent. So moral of the story, instead of sexualizing, blaming, objectifying, punishing, shaming, etc. children for their clothes and their bodies let's start to raise and teach kids to respect people and their boundaries and to not sexualize and fetish body parts and clothes that aren’t inherently sexual. I would like to also end this by saying that my main objective here isn’t too in some way change the dress code so I can wear more of what I would like to school, it’s mainly because of what dress codes are rooted in and the consequences that they have on our society.
So I simply ask for anyone out there who has any power or control over school dress codes, please listen and understand how this impacts children and society and why this is such an issue. We will continue to protest, boycott, petition, etc. until our voices are heard and change is made. Thank you for reading.