Very strict dress code or sexism?

By Carla Gonzalez and Francesca Bazzo

At Tigard High School there have been multiple recent examples that make it clear:  our dress code is more restrictive for females than it is for males. The administration would argue that this is not the case, but the student body has a different opinion. Some call it sexist and think females are being unfairly targeted.

“I feel like they always judge the girls more. No one really has knee-length shorts because they’re unattractive. Guys can wear anything and it’ll look normal on them,” freshman Avery Kim said. She explained that it’s hard to walk into a store and buy shorts for girls that would meet the dress code standard.

Tigard High’s dress code has been more strictly enforced as the warmer weather rolls in and students tend to take off their bulky layers. It states, “clothing with holes, ragged hems or cut-off hemlines, or made of transparent or fishnet fabric, or clothing that exposes the chest, legs above mid thigh, abdomen, genital area, buttocks, or undergarments shall not be worn in the buildings.”

Unfortunately, the dress code has not been applied equally to both genders. There have been many stories from girls who have been criticized by authority figures for their attire. They are told that boys are distracted by their clothing and they can’t pay attention in class.

The double standard has recently become obvious. At the Powdertuff volleyball game, the dress code was being violated by boys. No one said anything about the spandex and midriff-revealing shirts. It was a fun event, and they were trying to be funny by wearing girls’ clothes, but no one pointed out that what they were wearing was out of dress code, We have been taught about feminism and gender equality, but how can we pretend to be considered equal if we have to follow completely different rules?

“I feel like when the guys did play Powdertuff, the clothing they wore was seen more humorous than inappropriate; if girls were to wear that, we’d be sent straight home,” sophomore Laura Gonzalez said.

In fact, curiously, none of the boys got in trouble for dressing the way they did at the event. They also got an award for best dressed from the student body because they made a lot of people laugh. “We didn’t get in trouble,” said Sam Larson “One of our friends was called in because she posted the picture on social media, [but] none of us got in trouble.”

Although it is hard to equate the dress at a fundraiser that occurred after school with what students wear during the school day, sometimes students at school are disappointed that they are called out when their peers are not.

“It’s a tough one, when it comes to our students performing in something you usually see, then ‘yes’ want it to be representative of the school, if it’s like a basketball game and you guys are coming socially, it’s not usually something that we’re able to regulate,” said Fields. The Powdertuff, was run by students, and Administration didn’t really step in that night.

However, in regards to the picture that leaked out, she said, “If we’re setting a tone out of respect for all students, you don’t want a situation where then others are making a mockery, it’s not solution oriented […] statements like that kind of just become a photo and a statement with then what? When nothing comes from it, it just more sits as kind of a mockery rather than something to create change,” said Fields.

School Administration are the people who get to make the call, so why is it that some get called out for wearing certain things and others not?

“[This is] a school of two thousand, there are a lot of places to enter and exit, so I understand when students say, ‘what did you just see the girl walk down the hallway she was you know in less clothes than I was’, and all I can say is again, we do our best to be as consistent, as fair and to address what we see when we see it,” Associate Principal Amber Fields said.

So is the dress code more targeted to girls? We wanted to get a deeper understanding on how our administration sees dress code. “I would say it’s tough, does it on paper look like there’s more bullet points of what women or girls can’t do? ‘Yes.’ Is that targeted towards girls, no. It’s just simply the way clothing is compared to boys […] we just have a lot more options with what we do, thus we have a lot more undergarments that need to be considered and that can be exposed, than maybe a guy. I think it’s more of the way female dress has a variety of options that it comes with more thought,” Fields said.

We are outraged when we read about women who face sexual discrimination in their offices and can’t obtain justice, but what happened here is serious too: females have to deal with being sexualized for whatever they wear, even when they are supposed to be in a safe environment, like school or the workforce. Teenagers of today will be the adults of tomorrow. The episode of the Powdertuff called attention from administration and it opened the doors for a change in our dress code. We were happy to see how many girls and guys stood up against the offensive outfits, because this shows us that our generation will hopefully take a stand against the blatant double standard maybe gender equality will not be an impossible goal. And it all began with a couple of guys wearing jog bras.