The Dress Code: Is It Helping or Hurting?

Juli Lamparillo, Editor in Chief

High school is the one place where, unfortunately, we cannot express ourselves through clothing. We are limited to what the dress code allows. In Westwood High School, the dress code, in my opinion, is very reasonable. There are things like no extremely low cut clothing, cut off t-shirts, bathing suits, bare feet, strapless shirts/dresses; the list goes on. This list, however, does make sense under the circumstances of high school. There are certain things that do come off as offensive to others. This fact brings up an important question in my mind: why are these things offensive? How come my spaghetti straps are not allowed in school, even when the temperature is at an ungodly high? Now, this is not a rhetorical question. The answer is obvious; I would be distracting the other sex if my shirt revealed too much.

The truth of the matter is, I consider myself to be a woman that has the right to wear whatever I want. I have enough common decency to not show up to class in a bathing suit, but when it’s 90 degrees outside and I enter the steaming hot gym locker room to change into my clothes, I would most definitely want to wear something light. I do not believe I have to apologize to men for “distracting” them in class. They should apologize to me for making me uncomfortable by looking at my barely-showing cleavage. Instead of teaching girls to dress more modestly, why don’t we teach guys to keep their own damn eyes to themselves? I know what you’re thinking: shots fired! But I’m not trying to target the entire male population. I am simply targeting the men who think they can make excuses for doing badly in a class because a girl across the room is showing off her butt too much, and the people who think that dress codes should exist to keep men from being distracted in class.

A lot of my wardrobe consists of strapless shirts/dresses, and I never get to wear them to school without wearing a cardigan or a jacket over it. Again, I know what you’re thinking: “Wah, wah, stop complaining.” Well, this is something to complain about. Strapless shirts surely give me a lot more breathing space than a shirt with sleeves, and if I want to wear them, I’m going to wear them. I deem them to be entirely appropriate for school. Most that I would like to wear do not even show the slightest bit of cleavage. Are my shoulders going to distract the guy sitting next to me in my math class? Are my collar bones too offensive for him to continue on with his day?

The dress code does not only affect girls; it affects guys just as well. Muscle shirts are not allowed and clothing that is worn in gym class is not allowed. Let’s be real here: nearly half of the guys in the school wear mesh shorts and a t-shirt just to be comfortable. Why should there be any problem with that? If they want to roll out of bed and come to school in pajama pants, why should they be penalized? It’s nice to be comfortable. If I didn’t have all the cute clothes that I bought and barely wear, I would roll out of bed and wear pajama pants as well.

I understand why there is a dress code. Mrs. LaForgia is simply trying to eliminate any inappropriate dress in the school. And, believe me, she really cracks down. But should there really be such limitations so that I cannot wear half of my wardrobe? Yes, I do get that she doesn’t want leggings to be see through, and I agree. Nobody wants to see a hot pink thong through a pair of thin, black leggings. That is just social standards that a lot of people don’t abide by. But small things like ripped jeans and hair curlers really don’t need to be on that list.