Dress codes have been implemented in schools for decades. A dress code is a set of rules that dictate how students are expected to dress in school. In some situations, a dress code is necessary and beneficial to students and staff in schools, while in other situations, a dress code can be harmful.
Administrators enforce a dress code with the intention of “minimizing distraction.” While this makes sense, and can be beneficial on the surface, it sets a double standard between men and women. Telling a girl to cover up because it is distracting to the boys promotes rape culture. According to The Women’s Center at Marshall University, rape culture exists in “an environment in which rape is prevalent and in which sexual violence against women is normalized and excused in the media and popular culture.”
For example, when my friends are pulled out of class, or called out in the hallways, embarrassed and ashamed for simply showing their shoulders or thighs, it somehow makes them the problem.
While boys whistle and touch them without their consent, this still somehow becomes the victim’s fault. What someone is wearing cannot provoke another to act wrongly. To punish someone for being a victim doesn’t solve a problem. We must find the root of the problem, which is the perpetrator.
Until school administrators are able to punish the true problem, those being punished for these “offenses” will continue to suffer. We cannot continue to teach young people that an attack is the fault of the victim. Instead, the aggressors must know that unacceptable behavior is the bigger problem that needs to be addressed.