School dress codes are NOT a war on women

Condemnation of dress codes that make middle school girls cover up has become the fashionable junior version of the alleged  "war on women." That's why I truly enjoyed Esther J. Cepeda's op-ed Sunday in the Chicago Tribune ("Yes, that outfit disrupts class," Oct. 12.) It was a fitting response to some of the laughable juvenile objections to dress codes found on such social media sites as #IAmMoreThanADistraction.

Such as:

  • "We shouldn't have our self-expression restricted because some people can't handle it"
  • "Female students nationwide protest against dress codes."
  • "...its not my fault boys cant keep their d...s down just cause my shoulder is showing."
  • "If my legs distract you, you are the problem not me."
  • "Dress code rules in high schools are f****** ridiculous."

One of the arguments against dress codes is that the codes themselves, and not revealing attire, "sexualize young women." Such as:

Girls are being forced to wear “shame suits” in some schools. They are being kicked out of proms because chaperoning dads think a dress is too provocative. They are being told that walking around in their bodies is too much for boys to handle. They are being told that they will give boys impure thoughts. That they’re very existence, unless covered appropriately, is responsible for other student’s education and behavior.

These girls are being embarrassed.

Shamed.

Sexualized.

Objectified.

It's difficult to deal with such upside-down logic. "Look at me, but don't look at me." "See how sexy I am; shame on you for viewing me as a sex object." And ultimately: "Blaming the victim."

Girls are from the first brain-washed into how their "body image" should look, but here's an effort by some schools to not fall into the trap of allowing some girls, for the sake of their "body image" allow themselves to be objectified.

Ms. Cepeda nails it when she says:

"The argument for keeping yoga pants out of schools basically goes like this: How's a guy supposed to focus on school when there are girls walking around wearing tight pants?"

No, that's the argument some women choose to protest clothing regulations that put order in school buildings and classrooms over their personal fashion statements.

Let me tell you that "guys" are not the only ones who get distracted by inappropriate attire.

Read on for her very logical and reasonable argument.

Hey, ladies, it's school. Middle school girls (and boys) are not adults. They need guidance, and telling them to dress as if they respect themselves and the environment that they are in is not sexism.

I'm not going to be accused of "objectifying" women by posting pictures of dress that goes too far if worn by middle school girls. But you can see for yourselves by googling images of "yoga pants."

By the way, I'm not in favor of "shame suits" and other kinds of embarrassing punishments for violating the code. The codes ought to be enforced in thoughtful and considerate ways. Middle school girls have enough to worry about without being embarrassed by overly-wrought punishments.

Here is a Chicago Tribune report on the controversy:

For information on my award-winning historical novel, "Madness: The War of 1812," visit: http://www.madness1812.com

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