Stop sexist dress codes. We’re students, not distractions.

11263963_1062472287114941_1538840835689704778_nEd. note: This post was originally published on the Community site.

Summer time is almost here, and girls are ready to break out their summer clothing to stay comfortable in the heat. But at my high school, like many schools across the country, girls are not allowed to wear tank tops that shows bra straps, or summer shorts that are “shorter than reasonable length,” whatever that means. Though not all schools state it outright, the implication is that girls’ bodies are too distracting for our male peers, and that what we wear would detract from a productive learning environment.

I recently started a petition to get my school, Foothill High School, to change their dress code. It’s my dream to get into UC Berkeley and go to medical school someday. With these goals in mind, I go to school for one reason: learning. I expect to receive the same respect and support for my efforts as my male peers but when girls are most of the  students getting punished for dress code violations, this is not the case.

You know what actually makes unproductive and unsafe learning environments? Sexist dress codes that shame and blame girls for boys’ apparent inability to control themselves. Girls should be able to be comfortable when they come to school, and be respected regardless of their clothing choice.

Lots of people agree with me. So far, 2,500 people have signed my petition, and girls across the country are calling on their schools to shed their sexist dress codes and stop sexualizing 15 to 18-year-old girls.

Dress codes like the one at my school suggest that, because a boy cannot control his thoughts, girls should regulate what they wear. Furthermore, they tell students that girls are inherently sexual, and teach boys that they can disrespect or mistreat girls based on how they dress. That’s how rape culture is born. Ideas like this can influence students as they grow older, and define the adults that they will become. We are the next generation, and if we cannot learn to respect everyone, we won’t be able to continue to develop as a society.

It’s up to us to stand up against sexism in our schools. Join me and sign my petition!

Header image credit

Sanam is a high school student in California.

Sanam is a high school student in California.

Read more about Sanam

Join the Conversation