Dress codes shouldn’t define how girls are seen

Published 6:13 am Wednesday, September 22, 2021

I was just speaking to my little sisters about dress code at school and how they get treated if they wear something that is between the guidelines, but still has style.
Yes, I’m talking about those little holes in our jeans, that all of our elders make fun of us for.
I love fashion and I love being able to express how I’m feeling.
I also believe our children should be able to express themselves and wear what makes them feel their best and what makes them comfortable.
Where did these rules come from and why?
Are the rules there to protect our children and young adults or is it to prevent actual adults from looking at our children?
When I was younger these rules never made sense to me simply because, the rules are making our bodies and young adults bodies “wrong,” or “inappropriate.”
I don’t think that sets a good example on how you view yourself or your body. It sets women up to think “my body is a body that I should be ashamed of.”
Our schools are here to educate our youth, and hopefully guide them to a beautiful future. In my personal opinion, our educators need to start encouraging our youth to accept their bodies and start teaching them their bodies aren’t shameful, or bad.
We have so many young women who have experienced being told their bodies are to blame, when the problem is making young women feel like they could’ve changed the outcome of a horrible experience by wearing a longer shirt or having no rips in her jeans.
Self-expression is a huge part of what makes us unique, taking that away from someone and forcing them to dress a particular way is self-expression prison.
It’s teaching our youth to fall in line and if you’re different, you’re wrong and will be punished. In most school facilities, they have a shirt that you have to wear that points out, and lets others know you were dress coded, to make you feel ashamed.
How is this okay? What are the damages this does to someone’s self-esteem? How does it affect us as adults today?
To any of my youth out there, or parents who need advice talking to their children about this matter, remind them that school isn’t forever.
There will be a time that they get to express themselves freely and live their own lives.
One day, hopefully, we can step out of line and not be ashamed of who we are or what we’re wearing.
Parents, please encourage your children to express themselves out of school, that way they get some time to be authentically themselves.
I have a few questions for my parents out there, what are your opinions on dress code?
We were all there once and we all know how it feels to be a young adult and wanting others to be respectful when it comes to our feelings and self-expression.
Do you think it’s fair your children are being punished, or do you think the school and educators should be teaching valuable lessons on loving yourself and encourage them to be unique? How do you feel about young women being told their bodies are the problem?

Skyler Cunningham is an intern at The Ironton Tribune.