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Dress Code: Worth the Controversy?

Franny Noll, Staff Writer

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Dress code is a phrase that is usually synonymous with sexism and slut shaming, yet here at Western it seems irrelevant.

Many dress codes are directed toward girls only and target certain styles that are deemed as inappropriate, such as leggings or shorts. But in our student handbook there is a mere half page on what not to wear, and the most emphasized rules are against crop tops or clothing with negative or inappropriate messages.

“Students must dress in a manner which does not distract from or otherwise interfere with orderly process of instruction,” The 2016 WAHS student handbook reads regarding dress code.

Distraction is a very controversial word, especially when talking in terms of dress. In this context it is usually targeted toward women alone and how their clothing affects their male peers. I know for a fact that a majority of the Western students do not spend their free time reading the Western student handbook, so they most likely do not know the specifics of the dress code. But if they were to read it, the first thing they would read would be a sexist statement about being a “distraction.” This phrase is the main reason our dress code holds a bad reputation. But other than that, not many people know much about it and in my opinion there’s not much to know.

The fingertip rule is our most strict rule. When one’s hands are on his or her legs, their pants should be no shorter than their thumb, yet I’ve never heard of anyone being called or asked to change.

“Honestly since I haven’t seen anyone dressed extremely inappropriate it seems kinda of unnecessary,” Marian Laing, a freshman said.

Some dress codes at other schools are not only exceedingly harsh but very sexist. Though ours is not perfect– there are some very targeting sentences or phrases– the rest of the rules make sense for a school environment, and are not very strictly enforced. As far as I know, no Western student has come to school totally naked or in extremely inappropriate clothing, and if someone were to come to school dressed like that, no dress code would stop them. In my opinion when a rule is not extremely harsh, nor well-enforced such as our dress code, it not only seems pointless to me as a student, but seems unnecessary for the faculty to have to keep up with.

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