November 6, 2020

“Some guys, especially during wacky week, can roam around shirtless or with an unbuttoned shirt, however, if girls show a slight bit of stomach, they get dress coded. They can sag their jeans, and their underwear is clearly visible, this is not a problem. However, when girls expose a little bit of stomach, they are dress coded,” said a survey participant.  Do you think this is a valid statement? Do you think that it is fair to debate the dress code’s content even if it has been made clear to us? 


Was our old dress code policy the problem for our lack of understanding the rules clearly? Before, there wasn’t much clarity between what is appropriate for school and what isn’t. Everyone had subjective views about this policy which led to confusion as the previous dress code was unclear to us. However, now there are CLEAR rules about what is appropriate for school and what isn’t. There is an objective answer to what can and cannot be worn at school, according to the dress code. 


Consequently, there should be a decrease in dress coding incidents, right? Considering all of the rules are clear. However, this is not the case as many people are still getting dress coded. How is this possible, even after the clarity of the new dress code? Of course, some people are having such incidents because they are not following the rules, nevertheless, this is not the full story. 


A few complaints have recently arisen about how some teachers are dress-coding their students for things that aren’t even on the policy. For example, a hot topic currently is, low cut tops. “Many girls get dress coded if they are wearing really low cut tops but if some of the other girls wore the same top, they wouldn’t get dress coded,” said one survey participant. Is it fair? Should we just accept the teacher’s judgment without any further questioning? The dress code doesn’t specify as to how long something has to be as long as it covers your private areas. As one can’t measure the size of clothes, the teachers had no choice but to create rules that would be easy to follow. This means that we can’t measure cleavage size either.


Additionally, one common statement that has been made throughout many year groups, and as mentioned in the survey, is the fact that “the dress code almost doesn’t apply to boys, only to girls.” Of course, it is right to think this especially when we usually see girls getting dress coded, however, this isn’t always the case. The way we dress allows us to become individuals and allows us to become part of a community. The way we dress can mean different things in many cultures. Therefore, for safety and cultural reasons, our school has implemented such rules. The problem with international schools is the problem that the way we dress can mean different things in many cultures, the way we show skin could also mean different things as well. Thus, our school needs to implement all of these aspects into the dress code.


Nonetheless, if you are or have witnessed someone getting dress coded for the wrong thing, speak to the teacher. Explain to them why you think they are wrong. The whole point of the dress code is to express ourselves as individuals and as a community, but if there is something that is preventing this from happening, put up a fair complaint. 


A complaint to the year level leader should help us resolve things and clarify a dress code policy that can be confusing for some. 


At the end of the day, most students think that the new dress code is fair and suits everyone. It is respectful to all cultures and religions and allows us to express ourselves as individuals and as a community in an international environment. A dress code shouldn’t even matter as our education is far more important than our clothes. We are lucky to have the freedom to choose what we wear every day. This means we can dress and feel our best, which are some important things in our daily lives. 


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