Lilian Min
August 05, 2015 12:09 pm

As students gear up for the end of summer and thus the beginning of a new school year, perhaps it’s understandable that many of the teen responses under the recent trending hashtag # If Anything School Taught Me are mostly tongue-in-cheek responses, running the gamut from “Algebra is super important for real life… wait” to “When in doubt, pick C.” But as has been the case for the past year, another focus of teens’ ire: Dress codes.

Mixed in with the complaints about school material and lunches are girls lamenting the fact that even though they might’ve been trying to learn, time and time again, they were singled out for dress code violations. As we’ve seen over and over again, dress codes unfairly target girls, who are heavily-targeted by a fashion industry that fetishizes teen girlhood and, through nothing of their own doing, bear the brunt of both peer- and society-based judgment and hyperscrutinization.

For whatever “good” dress codes are supposed to enact in schools, #IfAnythingSchoolTaughtMe that male attention is pervasive and unstoppable, so dang it girls, why can’t you just cover yourselves up to keep safe from your horndog classmates? (Never questioned: The assumption that randy boys shouldn’t receive any sort of implicit “pass” because oh, she was wearing/doing the wrong thing. This is exactly how boys grow into men who harass women in any sort of environment.)

Schools are where students are supposed to learn, but as anyone who’s actually gone through a school system knows, there are a million other things happening in the school environment — including puberty and its follow-up, sexual exploration and experimentation. To try and remove those “distractions” within the school environment without forcing blinders and clean room suits on students is futile at best, and actively detrimental to fostering healthy inter-gender relationships at worst. We hope school administrators have been taking notice of student-sourced and fueled responses to dress codes; if not, you know teens will be keeping notice online and in the classroom.

Another body-shaming dress code for girls—and the high schooler who’s had enough

This school just punished at least 25 girls (and zero boys) for dress code violations during a massive heatwave

This student’s anti-dress code petition is a total eye-opener

(Image via Shutterstock.)

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