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These Five Violations Prove How Sexist Dress Codes Really Are

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UVA chapter.

When it comes to women’s bodies, the dreaded dress code violation continuously crops up as a harmful and outdated practice used by many schools to police their female students. A school dress code should ensure appropriate outfits for both genders, but more often than not these dress codes end up persecuting one for the sake of the other. The school dress code can shame girls before they are even old enough to realize that their bodies are being sexualized.

As more and more of these cases garner news attention, it becomes clear that these dress codes are no more than sexist and archaic rules which diminish a young woman’s access to an education by forcing her to miss precious class time while reinforcing the idea that women must monitor themselves in accordance with men’s comfort.

Here are five of the most ridiculous dress code violations of 2017 that prove just how skewed these schools’ dress codes are.


1.     The senior who was suspended for this shirt that showed too much collarbone

(Source: Teen Vogue)


2.     This high schooler whose teacher body-shamed her by telling her she was too “busty” to appropriately wear this shirt

(Source: CBS News)  

3.     This seventeen-year-old who was forced to retake her yearbook photo because her top exposed her shoulders

(Source: Insider)


4.     This eighth grader who was told her outfit was too distracting to her male classmates

(Source: Mercury News)


5.     This middle schooler whose outfit wasn’t considered appropriate enough for picture day.

Her mom really said it best, “My daughter is 11, if you think that her shoulders are distracting you should not work at a school with children.”

(Source: KHQ)

Dress code violations like these, which deem girls shoulders or legs as too inappropriate, innately sexualize the bodies of young girls and can cause lasting damage to the girls’ self-esteem and body image. The silver lining is that many of these young women (and their parents) are taking a stand and fighting back against these sexist rules, and they have the media attention to back them up. This is a battle that women, especially young women, shouldn’t have to be fighting. It’s 2017, girls should be able to wear what they want without worrying about being a distraction.


(Thumbnail photo courtesy of Pexels)

Third-year Media Studies and Art History student at U.Va!