The Ad(dress)ed Code-An Acknowledgement of Disclusion

Hello, dear reader! If you have been following any of the posts I’ve made here over the last few weeks, you’ll understand that my passions spread far and wide and my interest in confronting issues with the best of my ability has discovered a much-appreciated outlet with this photojournal-which, in this post, will remain simply a journal due to content. Today, my passion focuses on such an issue I noticed this morning that I would like to bring to the attention of those affiliated with and attending our high school.

To introduce to you the mindset surrounding my disgruntled emotions regarding this event, I request that you observe the social advancements our society has made in the past 100 years, especially regarding our understanding of gender and gender equality. For example, women gained the right to vote in 1920; they currently have the ability to decide whether the circumstances of their pregnancy are negative enough to discontinue it; we are existing in a society where the main goal of women is to empower one another, rather to compete with one another; and within academic environments, we excuse the male population from engagements regarding the school’s dress code policy-wait. We separate genders during a dress code information session? That can’t be right. Simple information such as this is relayed to children beginning at an elementary age. I have even been informed that the reproduction education class in our district does not separate males from females. How has it occurred that the dress code is deemed not applicable to each gender?

Before we delve any farther into the subject, I would like to provide an overview of this morning’s assembly to allow context to make sense of the situation. Our agenda included an assembly for each of the graduating classes: 2016 first hour, 2017/18 second hour, and 2019 third hour. For the seniors, the presentation included a description of our class’ responsibilities as the young adults on campus to provide ourselves as role models for the younger students-a notion I have taken to heart and am hoping to do for those who share confusion on this topic. It also included traditional information regarding proper behavior, anti-bullying tactics, sports provided for each season and when physicals were required, how to fulfill credits in order to graduate, responsibilities regarding attendance and grades, substance use and abuse, and-as is apropos in secondary education environments-we had an informational section presented to us regarding the school’s dress code policy.

The aforementioned policy, however, was not presented until the male students were informed that they were to leave the auditorium and did so-a request I found recurrent in all assemblies following ours. This struck me as strange, seeing as we had just been instructed by individuals whose presence and name carry weight in the community to become mature adults, continue down our path with life’s next step, to repress judgement, and to tolerate the behavior of and respect others we do not share ideals with. If we are to provide a positive model as to how the newer students should strive to compose themselves, I should hope to believe that the administration running our district would recognize that the trust they put in us to mature independently is restricted and repressed by their apparent belief that genders are unable to coexist during a presentation that ultimately utilizes no more than five extra minutes of class time. If it is understood to be that important to present to females, I am inclined to think that it is worthy to be heard by all students-even if all that is being learned by those who otherwise would not have attended is an awareness regarding the value extended to educating the female student body on how to treat their female student body.

Contradicting my previous statement, I doubt that it would cause an intense emotional struggle or consumption of time on any party’s behalf to add to a portion of the presentation a small bit dedicated to how masculine individuals orient and express themselves with their style as well. I reference the term “masculine” in exchange for “male” due to the very real probability that some students within the school’s population do not identify with their biologically-assigned gender, but at that, I digress.

I, personally, am not distracted by a peer’s pants sagging or a dramatically cut shirt sleeve exposing their nipple, but I would rather not see these things at school. While these aesthetics are not nearly as popular as they have been in years past, I would like to see these aesthetics-among others, if deemed necessary-be addressed in order to continue the observable (or, rather, the unobservable) trend of these expressions declining in an academic environment.

It is my hope that I have made it plainly clear that I have no aversion to the presentation of the dress code-in fact, I appreciate the student participation. A peer of mine said it perfectly when she stated that, “your body is not in violation, it is the clothing that is.” I am conscious of the fact that we must be aware of how we present ourselves in various situations, especially taking into consideration that we should, “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have”-which at this point, is a minor (in the prevailing case) attending a secondary education building on weekdays from 7:45am to 2:35pm. I appreciate the importance the administration has placed on their attempting to heighten awareness that we should be dressing for something that will take us from 9 to 5. That said, it does strike me as unfortunate that this hope for awareness is only being shared with a fraction of the student body, when the entirety of the student body (yes, freshman are included-we are all young adults) will experience life outside the protective walls provided by four years of academia.

Thank you,

Quinn Kirby

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