Dress codes have always been controversial, but it seems to me that they’re getting to be even more a lightening rod topic. 2015 has been a year full of not only dress code violation stories, but also a year full of stories about young women fighting back against those dress codes. I guess we can call that a hopeful step in the right direction!
Here’s the thing: I understand why dress codes exist, especially for a school or a place of work. People need to wear certain things in certain settings. I can get behind dress codes that are there to make sure students are focused on schoolwork rather than being fashionable or stylish. I can support dress codes for jobs that require you to look professional. I can agree with dress codes that exist for both women and men.
The problem, for me and many other people, is that dress codes often do not exist for men, especially in schools. The majority of the dress codes out there are for young women and young women only. They exist because schools want to make sure boys don’t get distracted. It’s twisted: girls can’t wear something because boys might not be able to pay attention on their work. In other words, it is the girl’s fault if a boy does something stupid because he can’t stop staring at her. Instead of teaching boys to stop focusing and sexualizing women’s bodies, we’re teaching women to stop doing things so that boys don’t do that. It’s not fair, it’s not right, and it’s completely sexist.
Like I said, I can agree with certain dress codes. But most of them, I just can’t get behind. Giving a girl detention because her bra strap is showing? Telling a five-year-old her shoulders are distracting to men? Ordering young girls to hide their “sausage rolls?” Believe it or not, these are all real stories, and it’s disgusting. Here are 15 of the most unfair dress code violation stories of 2015 (so far). We still have five months left to go in the year, so who knows what will happen.
A Girl Was Sent Home From Work For Wearing Shorts Her Company SoldThe latest dress code violation story making the rounds is truly absurd. 17-year-old Sylva Stoel from South Dakota was asked to go home and change from her J.C.Penney's job for the red shorts she's wearing in this image. The worst part? Sylva bought the shorts from J.C.Penney's "career" section. She was literally wearing shorts her job was selling to working women. After saying her shorts were "too revealing," Sylva's boss asked her how long it would take her to go home and change. Sylva quit immediately. The store quickly got a lot of attention, and J.C.Penney released a statement saying that shorts of any length on males and females are prohibited. If that's true, then sure, maybe their reaction was warranted. However, Sylva claims she was never told about this rule, and that she had seen male co-workers break the dress code without getting sent home. Image Source: Twitter
A Note Telling Students To Hide Their Sausage RollsThere are ways to enforce your dress code, and then there are ways to sound like a huge sexist, sizest douchebag while enforcing your dress code. In May, a dress code memo for graduation from a school in Pennsylvania made the rounds on the Internet. The memo did include a dress code for both males and females, mentioning that underwear shouldn't be seen on either sex. It was the wording that was the major issue here: "Please remember as you select an outfit for the awards assembly that we don't want to be looking at 'sausage rolls' as Mrs. Elliot calls them. As you get dressed, remember that you can't put 10 pounds of mud in a five-pound sack." OOF. This is super rude and I cannot even believe a professional allowed this to be read by students. Gross. Image Source: Facebook
A Girl Was Sent Home Because Her Shoulders Were ShowingLook at the dress in this image. It's classy, pretty, retro, and covers up so much. But apparently, not enough. Utah high school student Gabi wasn't allowed to enter her school dance because her shoulders were showing. This rule? Way too far. We all have shoulders. How can you possibly sexualize shoulders? It's completely unfair and so disgusting. Image Source: Facebook
A Girl Was Sent Home For Wearing LeggingsSenior Macy Edgerl was sent home from her high school in Texas for wearing leggings. Not for wearing leggings and a revealing shirt or something like... for wearing the outfit in this image. It's pretty obvious, but, uh, Macy is almost completely covered up. Her leggings are cropped, but definitely not too short, and her short is long enough that it covers her entire butt. What was the issue here? Were boys too distracted by her calves? Could they not handle the shape of her knee? I honestly don't understand. Image Source: Facebook
Little Girls Being Told To Wear T-Shirts To A Pool PartyThe idea that very young children have dress codes is a little gross, because little kids barely notice or care about these things - it's the adults who both notice and care. A mom in Indiana recently got an invitation for a pool party for her son, and noted that the invite included instructions for all girls to wear non-white t-shirts over their bathing suit tops. Why? Uh, I guess so the girl's bodies didn't show through at all? Although the mom has a son and not a daughter, she was furious, and posted the invite along with her comments, which quickly went viral. It's gross to teach this kind of thing to kids at such an early age. Why weren't boys told to wear t-shirts over their bare torsos when girls, who have something on their torsos, were told to cover up even more? It's a pool party! Image Source: Buzzfeed
A Girl Getting Detention Because Her Bra Straps Were ShowingThis story is incredibly frustrating. 17-year-old Lauren Wiggens was given detention for wearing a halter dress to school that was called "inappropriate" and a "sexual distraction." Why? Because her back is out and you can see her bra straps. Never mind that the dress covers up the entire rest of her body except for her back and arms - it was apparently too sexual to wear in school. Honestly, no part of me can get behind this. We all have backs. If you can't focus on your work because a girl's back is showing, then you're the one who should get detention. Image Source: Facebook
Girls Were Told They Couldn't Wear Skirts Because Of Male TeachersRecently, a story came out about a school in the UK banning girls from wearing skirts because they found it "distracting for male teachers and other pupils." ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? Male teachers?! If a male teacher can't teach a class while seeing his likely underage student wearing a skirt, he should never have been a teacher in the first place. Image Source: iStock
A Senior Was Sent Home From Prom For Her Backless DressProm dress code violations are nothing new, but it's still really disheartening to hear about them. Some girls are really excited about prom, and spend a lot of time and money getting ready for the dance. To hear that they're being sent home because of a small violation is really sad! This year, 18-year-old Mireya Briceno was sent home from her prom in West Michigan for her backless dress. The school claimed that the dress violated their dress code rule of "not showing any midriff." It was a backless dress. Maybe, maybe, there were points when she moved and you could see the side of her stomach. MAYBE. But honestly, this just seems ridiculous to me. Image Source: Huffington Post
25 Girls Got In Trouble For Dress Code Violations In 90 Degree HeatA school in California recently made news when they gave violations to 25 female students for what they were wearing. Forget the fact that they were dealing with 90 degree heat. Girls were forced to change for wearing dresses or skirts that were "too short." I haven't seen images of what every girl was wearing, but 25 seems like too much. Image Source: Cosmopolitan
A Five-Year-Old Got In Trouble For Wearing Spaghetti StrapsIf you want to talk about sexualizing children, let's talk about this story. A five-year-old girl was forced to change out of her sundress at school because she was wearing spaghetti straps. Five. Years. Old. Her father was furious, and rightfully so. He checked out the school's dress code guides, which included zero rules for males - just females. As he said, "Five. You get me? She's five. Cut her hair and put her next to a boy with no shirt on and she is fundamentally identical. I guess you could argue that a boy would not be allowed to wear a shirt with spaghetti straps either, but the day they sell anything like that in the boys section of a Target I will happily withdraw my objections." Image Source: Houston Press
A Plus Size Girl Was Suspended Over Her Prom DressHow gorgeous is this red prom dress that Alexis Miller-Wigfall wore to her prom? It's pretty damn impressive. Unfortunately, Alexis' school had different feelings. Alexis was suspended for wearing the dress despite the fact that it was floor-length with long sleeves. Why? Because her cleavage made it "too revealing." I am more than 100 percent sure that you've seen necklines like this on girls at prom. It appears that this dress was deemed inappropriate because Alexis has large breasts. Uh, so what? Was she supposed to wear a turtleneck? The dress covered up EVERYTHING. If you have large boobs, you know how hard it can be to wear something without showing off a little cleavage. This story is so gross and makes me so sad. Image Source: Penn Live
A Girl Was Kicked Out Of The Honor Society For Her DressI don't know if you guys have ever been to Florida, but Florida is hot. So, so, so, so hot. Can you blame a girl for wanting to wear a sundress to school so that she can be comfortable? I can't. Junior Cameron Boland went to Ida Baker high school to give a speech for the honor society. She was aware of their dress code, which doesn't allow spaghetti straps, and wore a dress with spaghetti straps. She didn't think she'd get in trouble because she wasn't a student at Ida Baker. But she did - her position in the honor society was taken away. Absurd. Image Source: Wink News
A Girl Was Suspended Over Her Sundress On The Last Day of SchoolHow much sense does this make? An 18-year-old senior from an Idaho high school was suspended with 30 minutes left in the school year because she disagreed with a teacher over the length of her dress. Apparently, the school has a kneecap-length rule for dresses, and the teacher felt that the dress was too short. If this girl really did break the dress code, then I understand that there are consequences. But from this image, it looks like the dress does hit her kneecaps. Image Source: ABC News
Telling A Gay Student She Can't Wear A TuxedoSometimes dress code violations get weird. They go from suspending girls from wearing dresses to telling girls they HAVE to wear dresses. I'm of course talking about this story. Claudetteia Love, a student from a Louisiana high school, was told she couldn't wear a tuxedo to her school dance, she had to wear a dress. Thankfully, the story got so much attention that the school allowed her to wear a tux. I mean, are you kidding me?? Telling a girl she can't wear a tux if she wants to? That has to be a joke. Image Source: Buzzfeed
40-60 Girls Getting In Trouble In One DayAccording to this Tumblr post, 40-60 girls got in trouble for dress code violations at her school in one day - this included zero males. The girls were told to have their parents bring a change of clothes, but for some of them, that was impossible. So, they were sent home and had to miss final exams. Most of the girls were sent home for looking too "distracting," despite trying to stay cool in the Southern California heat. It's awful that this school would rather have had students miss the final exams they studied so hard for then take their tests in their clothing. It's pretty clear where their priorities lie.
Which of these stories did you think were the most unfair? What do you disagree with? What did I forget to include? Tell me in the comments.