Columnist Rin Jackson represents students who speak out about dress code

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Columnist Rin Jackson represents students who speak out about dress code

Senior Morgan Coll aids her partner with a portrait assignment on the back lawn during photojournalism class.  Senior Rin Jackson edited in blue-green hair streaks, showing what the dress code now allows, as discussed in the article.

Senior Morgan Coll aids her partner with a portrait assignment on the back lawn during photojournalism class. Senior Rin Jackson edited in blue-green hair streaks, showing what the dress code now allows, as discussed in the article. "Authorities are the ones being distracted," Jackson said. "All students surveyed for this column agree the dress code would not be such a problem if the clothes required were readily attainable."

Rin Jackson

Senior Morgan Coll aids her partner with a portrait assignment on the back lawn during photojournalism class. Senior Rin Jackson edited in blue-green hair streaks, showing what the dress code now allows, as discussed in the article. "Authorities are the ones being distracted," Jackson said. "All students surveyed for this column agree the dress code would not be such a problem if the clothes required were readily attainable."

Rin Jackson

Senior Morgan Coll aids her partner with a portrait assignment on the back lawn during photojournalism class. Senior Rin Jackson edited in blue-green hair streaks, showing what the dress code now allows, as discussed in the article. "Authorities are the ones being distracted," Jackson said. "All students surveyed for this column agree the dress code would not be such a problem if the clothes required were readily attainable."

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“Bottom line?  It’s sexist, sexualizing, and hypocritical,” said senior Haily Gabriel in the heat of an argument.  This nation of eagles has become divided. Self-identifying stereotypes of punks, emos, grunge goddesses and artists have flocked to the hair-dye aisle to paint their locks with colorful dyes, and countless subcultures worth of young men are flaunting their no-longer-school-restricted earrings. Simultaneously, girls who dress according to society’s current standards of supposed normal teenage girl are having to “go buy new clothes” because “nothing they have is in dress code,” an unnamed student said.  

On one hand, the changes to the dress code aid enormously in terms of self-expression. Facial hair, unnatural colors in hair, earrings on males, and some modicum of legging usage are now permitted. But, girls still feel attacked. Adults in power retain long-held values, including “the derrière needs to not be around,” English teacher Ms. Beckham said. “There are some people whose bodies lend themselves to yoga pants, and there are people whose body parts don’t lend themselves to yoga pants.”  Students point out that “you can’t wear yoga pants, but you can have eagle sweats,” Gabriel said, comparing the two and saying how the eagle sweats are similar to some outlawed women bottoms. “The eagle sweats are crossing the line,” senior Dani Maietta said. “Send them home or make their parents bring clothes. Don’t humiliate them.” 

All students surveyed for this column agree the dress code would not be such a problem if the clothes required were readily attainable.”

— Rin Jackson

 Judging what’s inappropriate requires adults to stare and decide, and logically, being judged by adults worsens the situation. “It’s uncomfortable for me that some older man is staring at what he considers too revealing,” Maietta said. Maietta is angered that 12-year-olds are stared down upon by older men and told their full-length jeans are inappropriate.  She went on to state how the same treatment, for that matter, is unacceptable toward any minor, student, or even human being. “Girls can’t show a thigh or shoulder because boys can’t control themselves,” junior Megan Stelzer said. “It’s the male adults who can’t control themselves.” If those in power weren’t the ones being distracted, boys wouldn’t be able to wear shorts inches above their fingertips – a style choice everyone said they had seen.  Authorities are the ones distracted, not the fellow students, agreed Maietta, Gabriel and Stelzer.

All students surveyed for this column agree the dress code would not be such a problem if the clothes required were readily attainable, the problem being, “they don’t sell shorts that long,” Gabriel said. “It’s hot outside, we shouldn’t have to be in pants.” She claimed the dress code doesn’t sound unfair until you actually go shopping.  Catherine Pearlman, author and mother, was interviewed by CNN for an article on how dress codes body-shame girls.  “To reward you for treating my daughter with such concern, I am cordially inviting you to take my daughter shopping,” Pearlman said. “Now, don’t forget that you will have to find something in the stores that also meets with your dress code requirements.” Maietta and Gabriel went on to have a discussion, wondering if the school wishes girls to overheat when going outside for classes or riding the bus.  

Another aspect of the dress code is bras.  “The undergarment rule only applies to girls,” junior Madison Dobbs said. The principal along with half the students do not wear a bra, but the other half, the girls, can be sent home for following suit of the principal?  “Girls, particularly those with ample hips or breasts, are almost exclusively singled out,” Peggy Orenstein, writer for The New York Times, said. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination based on gender, along with the U.S. Code Title 42, Chapter 21, meaning the dress code is, in fact, illegal in its sexism, proving Gabriel’s earlier statement. 

Not much can be done by students at present to gain back rights.  But next time a girl is dress-coded for her shorts that aren’t so far above her fingertips, a boy deemed innocent in shorts proportionally the same length can often be pointed out.