Here's Yet Another Reminder That School Dress Codes Are Really Sexist

Photo: Getty Images.
Another day, yet another sexist dress code: The latest bout of dress code drama happened in a high school in Montana, where two students were sent home because of the length of their shorts. Last week, freshmen Josie Espinoza and her friend, Layne, were sent home from Belgrade High School for their outfits. The duo took to social media to poll their peers on next steps.
After considering writing a letter to the administration in regards to the dress code violations, some of Josie and Layne's peers protested the school's decision, and 15 students were subsequently sent home for the same reason. "I was dress coded because my shorts were not long enough and my straps were not one inch [thick]," Espinoza told local CBS affiliate KBZK. You may already be familiar with that "rule": shorts must be longer than your fingertips, and straps one inch or thicker.
Advertisement
When it comes to shirt straps and shorts, Belgrade High School's dress code seems pretty standard. In regards to the styles, the official parent-student handbook states: "No bare midriffs, no cleavage showing, or spaghetti straps. Straps must be worn and must be 1' wide," and, as far as bottoms are concerned, "skirts/pants/shorts must remain up on own or with a belt. Hemlines must reach below the students’ longest finger when shoulders hang loose."
But the glaring problem with sending students home for what they're wearing is the contradictory, sexist implications: "We are dress coded because the boys are supposed to get their education and not get distracted, but we're being distracted by getting pulled out of school and not getting our education because our shorts don't meet dress code requirements," Espinoza told KBZK. After admitting that men indeed get dress coded far less than women, the school's principal disagreed, explaining that the students were simply "in violation of the dress code." (The administration has met in the past to discuss the inclusion of hats and racerback tops in the dress code, too.)
Espinoza and Layne told the local news station that they dressed that way due to the heat, and that for at least two months out of the school year, Belgrade doesn't have air conditioning. "Personally I don't think I can focus when I'm really hot,” Josie said. And now, rumors at the high school are swirling that there's yet another dress code alteration on the horizon that would specifically impact female students: Leggings are the next garment up for dress code scrutiny at the high school.