I have found that many people think it is their right to exhibit outrage in response to students’ clothing choices. I find this ridiculous, as no one is really affected by what other people decide to wear. Furthermore, it is not anyone’s responsibility to dictate what is appropriate for students to wear.Last year, many cried out against the dressing habits of students, claiming girls’ shorts were getting too short, their necklines too low, and their tops too sheer. They even threw in some talk about sagging pants to make it seem like the dress code isn’t targeting girls only. They claimed that many students’ attire was “inappropriate” and “distracting.” They cautioned young women not to show too much skin, lest people get “the wrong idea.” And, eventually, they persuaded school officials to reform their methods of enforcing the dress code, becoming stricter.Much of the language used to describe issues people have with student attire is problematic. Those harboring conservative attitudes toward how students should dress criticize young women for showing what they consider to be too much skin. They claim that female students will distract other students by wearing revealing clothing, when, in reality, it is the responsibility of each student to control his or her mind and focus in class. Students need to learn how to live and function in a world where other people have bodies at varying degrees of exposure. It is not the student’s fault if someone is distracted by the appearance of her or his body. We teach students harmful lessons by placing the responsibility of how others view them on themselves.
It is intrusive to dictate what young adults and teenagers should wear to school. If students and their parents agree that clothing is acceptable, no one should feel it is her or his business to tell them otherwise. Clothing choice is personal and should not be eligible for public scrutiny. People have the ability to ignore the clothing choices of others, as they do not really affect them. Students are, however, negatively affected by harassment and judgment from their peers, teachers, and school administrators prompted by their attire.
People should mind their own business and leave decisions regarding clothing to the individuals wearing the clothing in question. If modest dress is important to people, they should cover themselves up, but refrain from pushing their values about clothing onto those who don’t share them. Teachers should teach their students not to worry about their clothing.