“Surely it is one of the simplest laws of taste in dress, that it shall not attract undue attention from the wearer to the worn.” -Elizabeth Stuart Phelps

In recent weeks what has been trending in people’s news feeds has been the topic of dress codes and sexism. With school back in session for most folks, one can see why this topic has become relevant.

There have been a few stories where certain groups have determined that by nature dress codes are sexist. Recently, one high school girl was sent home for wearing a top that revealed her collar bone. In fact, some students are going as far as to hold demonstrations displaying their distaste for dress codes.

There are two issues at play here. On the surface it looks as if people are addressing the “sexist” tendencies a dress code has. Or in better words, the fact that dress codes typically have more statutes for girls than for boys. This cause is picked up by the average student who has to live with said dress code.

The second issue at play is that the zeitgeist of today are attempting to redefine what it means to be modest. The most recent example is #FreeTheNipple. Its an online campaign that is attempting “educate” others on how sexist it is when men can wear no shirts in public and woman cannot. I agree but not for the reasons they present.

On to the first issue. Dress codes exist for numerous of reasons. None of which should be “so boys won’t be distracted”. I heard that all of my life and that excuse is ridiculous. While I understand that what someone wears can distract others that should not be an argument for modest dress. It should be emphasized that in the work force folks are expected to dress and conduct themselves in a certain way. A dress code provides that training. It should be understood that the way a person dresses is one of the first things that affects a first impression. A focus on dressing respectfully and wholesome indicates a respect for yourself and those around you. Not just simply, do boys don’t get hot and bothered.

Also, none of that is strictly for girls. Boys should be dressing modestly for those same reasons. However, because men’s and women’s fashion are different there will be different standards of modesty for both genders. For example, a low cut top on a young lady is offensive where as sagging pants are offensive on a young man. I would imagine there are more rules to a woman’s dress code because there are more fashion choice. For a dude its simply a polo and jeans. For women there are many more options. I think focusing on those key difference is neither here nor there. You will not see the trees for the forest. The point is that the school administration had decided that there is a standard for modest dress and it should be adhered to.

Both male and female students are to go to school to get an education. They are not to come to school dressed in a way that would prevent that. They should realize that when they become an adult there will be expectations and they must be followed and that the way they present themselves will affect what happens to them in life. Imagine if you went to a job interview in something inappropriate.

I don’t think dress codes are sexist by nature. They do become sexist when you teach young ladies not to wear things that are distracting to boys and not teach boys to not wear things that are distracting to girls. Fair is fair.

Finally, there are group out there that want to tear down all forms of modesty. They preach a mantra of freeing yourself, loving your body, and not body shaming. It isn’t body shaming to believe that folks should present themselves decently. You can be proud of your body and not feel the need to show it off in all of its glory.

#FreeTheNipple’s movement is simple. Its sexist for males to go shirtless and females cannot. Most consider it inappropriate when a female exposes herself topless. Frankly, they are right. It is sexist.

If I haven’t lost you yet, I’m probably about too. Men and woman alike shouldn’t be exposing themselves topless in public. I’m not sure when culture dictated that men topless wasn’t immodest but it is. Here is where I differ with the groups that also believe that. I do not think men and woman should be going in public topless. Those groups would advise for woman to go topless. They would affirm that is how you make it not sexist. While that is true, it doesn’t make it right. People should be covering up more. However, we are too far gone in our culture for that.

I love the idea of a dress code. While in school I never received a dress code violation. I did not wear things I knew were not allowed. I wish more folks would go back to this understanding and compliance. I think one must be fair in developing a dress code. Its fairly simple. I would advise a uniform. Everyone wear kakis and a polo. Male and female. How neutral is that? Extremely. Then there will be no discussion of sexism and dress code. That is the path that most school will take if our culture continues to decide it wishes to be more and more immodest.

I hope people grow to respect themselves and the people around them.

This In Itself Is Humbling.

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