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The Midriff Fuss

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Like most high school girls, I dislike the dress code. I view it as restricting, limiting and unfair, but my main issue with the dress code is how it pinpoints mainly girls. I’ve always somehow been able to dodge getting dress coded. In fact, I’ve never been told to “go down to the dean” or anything like that for dress coding. Sometimes, teachers will say something in the hallway, but I keep a sweater in my locker at all times. So I’m generally safe, but I’ve never been dress-coded, until today! Well, kind of. Here’s what happened: A teacher asked if I had a coverup for my shirt. I assumed he was picking on me for my straps, so I said that I didn’t need one because my straps were 2 inches (in accordance with the dress code rule). Then, he said that I needed it for my midriff, the part of your torso between your stomach and chest. It’s just some skin, and in this case it was barely any, but he persisted, attempting to dress code me and insisting I go to the attendance office and change,

This is my problem with what happened: I was “dress-coded” because a bit of my stomach was showing. A stomach, that everyone has, and everyone has seen before. In my eyes, I like to see everything plainly. A body is just a body. It’s natural, it’s human, it’s nothing to shame or even anything to cover up, and, therefore, nothing to sexualize. Every school has a dress code in place to make sure everyone is dressed appropriately for school, but what about my stomach is inappropriate? Is my body truly as distracting and promotes such upheaval as the dress code states? Or, is the dress code deeply rooted in internal misogyny and sexism? There is only one answer.

The dress code is in place to promote “modest” attire. Taking a looking at the dictionary definition of the word modest, it states, “(of a woman) dressing or behaving so as to avoid impropriety or indecency, especially to avoid attracting sexual attention,” and a dictionary antonym of modest is “flamboyant”. The term modesty is femme-restricting in and of itself and was put in place as a way to degrade and make women feel shameful about their bodies, thus forcing them not to want to display their bodies.

Meanwhile, men run around shirtless, displaying the very things women also have: shoulders, bellies, legs, showing them off without any wrangles of ANY sort.

On flamboyant being the opposite of modest apparently pertaining to women, is being flamboyant against modesty? Flamboyant is defined “(of a person or their behavior) tending to attract attention because of their exuberance, confidence, and stylishness.” So, in other words, everything a woman is said not to do or be. We are taught not to be confident in our bodies, because the male ego cannot handle a woman who can dress herself and feel stylish without a man telling them what to wear, and thus they created verbal barricades with words like “modesty” to teach women that physical exuberance is morally wrong and deems you undeserving of respect. Cool. Misogyny is deeply rooted in everything today, including social situations like dress code and how young women are taught to dress “school appropriate” so they don’t create a distraction for those around them.

Here’s how to combat this: We can let everybody do what they want with their bodies. It’s 2018! A midriff is not something worth dress coding. Teach your sons and whomever that the HUMAN body is nothing to sexualize. But, if you want to continue to enforce the dress code because you believe that there is somehow a greater good that comes from this, then please enforce it ALL ways. I want to see a rule that says boys may NOT wear ties, because it’s a choking hazard―something purposely far-fetched so that it’s even.

 

*Disclaimer: It is important to note that this is not an attack on Satellite High administration or any other school. I understand that the dress code was made by men and women at the school district. The opinions of the Telstar do not reflect the opinions of the school.

About the Writer
Jazzarie Dawkins, Creative Director

Senior. Iced Coffee Aficionado. Fish Mom. Future writer.

2 Comments

2 Responses to “The Midriff Fuss”

  1. Ayanna on September 14th, 2018 6:27 pm

    jazz!! this was such a gooooood article I loved it and you’re a great writer lol.

  2. Clara on September 17th, 2018 1:15 pm

    Awesome article

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