April tenth is this year’s pay equity day, which is a day supposed to bring awareness to the problem of the gender pay gap. It is important to remind ourselves that sexism still surrounds us, in countless ways. One of the ways it impacts us here at Shortridge on a day to day basis is in the dress code.
I am not just voicing my opinion on the general issue, but on a specific incident that happened yesterday. When P.E. students had emerged from changing one of them, who was female, was wearing a sleeveless shirt. A teacher noticed this, and told her to go change. Sitting on the bleachers nearby was a boy, who also was wearing a sleeveless shirt, but who was ignored by the teacher. This ridiculous double standard completely shocked me. Why do we still think women should be subject to archaic standards of modesty, created so that “men don’t get distracted”? By that logic, couldn’t women be distracted by men’s shoulders? What about actual practicality and comfort? Has anyone thought of that?
It is not just individuals who enforce dress code in a sexist manner, however. IPS’s dress code itself is inherently sexist. You can find its full text here. In this document, there is a key which distinguishes two types of regulations. One is both genders, and the other is female. Not only does the dress code disregard people who conform to neither mainstream gender, but it also has no regulations that apply only to males. Men have no special rules applying to them. Women have five extra rules they must conform to. It is stated in a rule for females only that it is not permitted to have undershirts or similar garment showing underneath shirts. Why are males allowed to show undershirts and not women? This is another stupid double standard. In order to truly to be equal to each gender, IPS needs to make serious revisions to its dress code.