The Californian

Gender neutral dress code a positive step

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Often times, when we refer to the school dress code, there are stricter restrictions placed upon girls than boys. 

The rationale for this discrepancy is often explained to be that clothing that is deemed provocative for women is distracting to others.

It often seems like legs, midriffs, and shoulders of only female students are considered a distraction to the learning process.

 Even if this prejudice is not purposeful, these policies established in the dress code are prejudiced.

 This creates a culture during an influential time period of a young person’s life that body shames women and discourages their individuality through fashion. 

When girls are sent to the office for dress code violations because boys get distracted by their attire, we are teaching females that a male’s education is more important than females’ comfort and education.

By altering the dress code to be gender neutral in our district and schools nationwide, we can positively influence and change the social culture. 

The Californian believes that a gender neutral dress code creates a culture which makes men accountable for their actions rather than victims of distraction. A gender neutral dress code entails that if spaghetti straps or tube tops are decreed inappropriate, that should apply to male students as well as females. 

The whole purpose of a dress code is to ensure a standard. By making this standard gender neutral instead of only targeting women, the dress code actually fulfills its true and intended purpose.

 With Cal High’s current dress code in place, young women receive very clear messages that male behavior and male entitlement to their bodies in a public place is socially acceptable.

 Female attire, regardless of what it is, should never be an excuse for male misbehavior. 

With this in mind, proposals of a gender neutral dress code at Cal are an opportunity to overthrow the current gender standards.

Even though this change may seem minute, the impact is extensive. 

At the nearby San Jose Unified School District, one female student had the power and determination to change the entire dress code.

Madeline Armacost pushed for this change with the goal in mind to make the dress code less of a witch hunt targeting girls, but rather a standard to be upheld for all students.

Just one student at one high school changed a district rule. With this in mind, for the dress code to be a more fair, less prejudiced aspect of school culture, Cal and its leaders need to take initiative and push further for change.

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The School Newspaper for California High School, San Ramon CA
Gender neutral dress code a positive step