On Dress Codes

By Maddie Sokoloski 

If only Little Red Riding Hood had a cloak that covered up her up a bit more. She shouldn’t have been tempting that wolf with all that exposed skin. If her grandmother had been wearing a ski mask to bed maybe the wolf would have been able to control himself.

With summer just around the corner and heat waves rolling in, young women across America are breaking out shorts and tank tops. Principals everywhere are blowing the dust off their trusty school handbooks getting ready to punish female students for breaking the most important rule: the dress code. Girls have begun crossing their fingers, hoping administration doesn’t punish them for “making other students uncomfortable” or “disturbing the learning process.”

dress code.jpgI hope I live to see a day when girls are not raised with the words “you are a distraction, your bra straps are disturbing the people around you” ringing in their ears. I hope there will be a time when little girls don’t feel like it’s their fault that they are victimized, when women aren’t made to feel guilty because they were “tempting him” or “showing too much skin.” It doesn’t make sense that people would defend the beasts and wolves, the abusers and rapists and denounce the girls who used to carry hope with them like a flag, who had innocence ripped out of their hands. I hope there will be a day when school districts become the safe zones they claim to be. Places where young women can go to the administration, sleeveless shirt and all, and complain about another student or, God forbid, a teacher who looks at her shoulders with the eyes of a predator. A female student should be able to tell people when they are feeling uncomfortable with other people’s actions without worrying someone will judge her or deem her “inappropriate.”

I hope, someday, there is a world where we don’t have to teach our daughters to look both ways before crossing the street, not because cars could be passing but because a predator could be following. I hope there’s a world where friends don’t have to guard each other’s drinks because men are taught how to be men and not monsters, people are taught to keep from slipping things into people’s drinks. I hope there is a world where girls can walk down the street without gripping their keys like a weapon, without knuckles whitening around hidden pocket knives, without women acutely aware of which part of their purses the pepper spray is tucked into, without old women who walk with canes or umbrellas just to have some sort of advantage if attacked. I hope that there is a world where we stop blaming young women for the actions of other people. I hope we can stop teaching our girls to throw on an extra layer because “There’s no way you’re going out dressed like that.” I hope there is a world where the victims are not blamed for the actions of attackers, where women aren’t taught that showing their shoulders or bra straps or legs or cleavage is like dangling a bone in front of a carnivore and expecting him not to attack.

It is my sincerest hope that, one day, I can send my red-cloaked daughters into the woods and the only thing I have to warn them against is dropping their baskets along the way.dress code [2].jpg

Maddie Sokoloski is a Sophomore at Barbara Ingram

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