How Dress Codes Target Certain Students

By Anonymous New Haven Public School 2020 Graduate

The following is an anonymous account sent to SEJ from a member, regarding how the clothes/outfits worn by students of certain genders and body types are regulated more than others:

One day, I had on a sweatsuit, with a crop top under the jacket. It was hot in my school so I took the jacket off during class. Later, I was heading to lunch when I was stopped by a security officer. She asked if I had a jacket to cover my crop top, and I replied that I did and that it was in the classroom, which was a few steps away. She made me turn over my phone to her and gave it back when I returned with my jacket on. I didn’t understand it at all. And that, of course, was not the first time I was forced to “cover up”, as I’ve had a cami on with a button-down shirt many times and every single time I was told to put the shirt on to cover my skin.

I’ve seen girls and guys at my school wearing stuff that was far more revealing/inappropriate than a simple cut-off shirt or tank top and security let them walk in the school without batting an eyelash. So that experience showed me that dress code regulations in schools can not only be demeaning to women because it promotes overly policing and sexualizing our bodies because it’s “inappropriate” in the eyes of a male, but they can also discriminate against certain women/people depending on who is supposed to be “enforcing” said regulations.