Staten Island’s Tottenville High School has a full-scale rebellion on its hands after instituting a strict new dress code that targets its female students. In the last two weeks, when temperatures were significantly hotter and the un-air-conditioned building presumably pretty uncomfortable for everyone sweltering in it, more than 200 students were issued detention for wearing clothes that, according to the new regulations, bared too much skin. No surprise that ninety percent of those offenders were girls, who the new code polices much more strictly.
The new dress code, originally named “Dress for Success,” bans shorts that are shorter than someone’s “relaxed fingertips,” along with low cut blouses, shirts that expose midriff, and short skirts. “Inappropriate dress can cause unnecessary distractions in classrooms and, more importantly, convey unintended wrong messages that are misinterpreted by peers,” the school’s website proclaims. The regulations for dudes? No “metal wallet or pants chains” or “muscle shirts.” You know, in case your peers misinterpret your attempts to be the frontman of Nickelback. Plus the ever-racially charged demand for “no hoodies.”
In response to the heightened scrutiny over their outfits, some students have staged a protest against the dress code by violating it every which way. “Tottenville should just be an all boys school considering this dress code is only affecting girls,” a student commented to CBS New York. Some parents are outraged by the school’s crackdown, others compared the scantily dressed girls to workers at a “strip club.”
There’s no question that dress codes are in place for high school girls more than high school boys, a move that very early on cements the backwards idea that women are the ones responsible for men’s actions. Tank tops in the classroom aren’t the problem. The problem is the pervasive attitude that we can’t teach boys to respect their peers, only advise girls to do damage control.