The School Dress Code Is Sexist

Kinsey Kubitz, Journalist

The dress code at Bowditch gives a negative body image impact and can lower self-esteem, the dress code is also biased against girls. The Bowditch dress code gets updated every year, but the dress code is still not fair towards girls.


The Bowditch dress code this year says that clothing should be comfortable and not distracting to the education of other students. The dress code says there should be no bare midriffs, plunging necklines, camisole tops, sagging pants, or short shorts and skirts. Clothing should not advertise logos or images of gangs, vulgarity, curse words, drugs, alcohol, tobacco, or anything sexual. Many students may be surprised to learn that sleepwear such as pajama pants is not allowed at school. The school often fails to enforce and inform students of the dress code at Bowditch and lets people wear whatever they want.


The dress code may have a negative impact on body image, especially for girls. The dress code only shares two things that all genders in specific can’t wear, nothing for only boys. For example, last year’s dress code said you weren’t allowed to wear tank tops, and this year, you can’t wear camisole tops which are thin-strapped tank tops. Saying people can’t wear things like this could make girls feel like they can’t wear what they feel comfortable in, and they could think it is their fault for not being able to wear something. The dress code says clothing should not be distracting to the education of other students. This rule could lead people, especially girls, to feel like it is their fault that others, mostly boys, are distracted by what they wear.


Adding on to body image, girls may think it is their fault boys look at them and that ‘they are asking for it’ if they dress a certain way. This could lead them to think it is okay to be abused, used for their body, or harassed because of how they look. Girls may be skinny-shamed or fat-shamed because of what they are wearing. Giving girls a dress code to follow and not boys is biased and dress coding them and getting them in trouble because of how they look/what they wear could be a big put down and they could become self-conscious. A lot of people express themselves in what they wear and giving girls rules such as no short skirts or no tank tops is unreasonable.


I asked boys in my class if they found shoulders and belly buttons distracting. Their responses were unanimous, with everyone saying girls’ bodies don’t stop them from learning or distract them. One said, “I honestly don’t care, they are shoulders, people can’t control how their body looks.” Others said, “Shoulders are not distracting and I don’t have a problem with them.”


I think what a dress code should include is no sagging pants, no racist and controversial images or writing. Clothing should not advertise logos or images of gangs, vulgarity, curse words, drugs, alcohol, tobacco, or anything sexual, as well as comfortable and practical. The dress code should make sure everyone is comfortable in their own skin whilst still having students wearing shirts that cover enough of a student’s stomach and are bothering others. 


Overall, giving a dress code that is unreasonable and can make girls feel uncomfortable and sensitive about how they look. I think Bowditch and the school district should change the dress code and make it fairer.

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