Suppressed Creativity?

By Caroline Schneider

It’s exhausted, I know. Dress code. They have assemblies that talk about it, we publish stories about it, the teachers are always getting on you about it, the administration obsesses over it, your peers are always complaining about it and now I’m going to write about it.
But here’s the thing: as over it we all may be, it’s still a problem. Students are still being sent home to change, and it seems like the faculty is standing at the front of the school every morning straining their necks trying to find someone who they can send to the office.
I don’t understand it. Not showing up to school in swimsuits makes sense. But this year, the dress code has been pushed too far, seemingly becoming a faculty addiction to catch students whose shorts are 1/34 of an inch too short and sending them to the office where they are wasting valuable class time. I don’t understand why it’s such a big deal to make students who are dressed appropriately, although they may not entirely meet dress code, change clothes. I know that there is a set rule from the Chatham County Board of Education, and I know that the faculty is supposed to enforce it, but it’s pretty obvious when something is appropriate and when something is not, and when students are clearly not dressed inappropriately, it shouldn’t be such a big deal if their skirt doesn’t reach the very tip of their middle finger.
At the beginning of the year, we were told that the dress code was put in place to show us how to dress “professionally,” to prepare us for the world ahead of us. Not to be rude, but news flash, you guys: we’re allowed to wear short dresses in the professional world; and skirts, and tank tops, and one shoulder tops, strapless tops, hats, and sunglasses. And if the point is to keep us always dressing professionally, why are we still allowed to wear sweatpants to school? Not everyone wants to put in the effort to dress up every morning like they’re going to work, which really shouldn’t matter because they’re not.
The point of spirit week is to get all of Northwood’s student body participating in supporting their school by having them dress up on a variety of the different days. Students get excited and start planning their outfits as soon as they find out what themes the days are going to be. So imagine how discouraging it was to receive a call from the school that included the message that the dress code was going to be reinforced during spirit week. With silly outfits and a pep rally, spirit week should really be more fun and relaxed than any other week during the school year.
Monday was decade day and my friends and I were happily decked out in crazy 80’s work out gear. I had on dark blue tights, and large (I’m 5’2 and wear a small) pink shorts that were above my fingertips. They were big, they were baggy and quite unattractive, and I still got called out for them because despite how oversized they were, I was told that they weren’t long enough. Now I wasn’t forced to go home and change, but it more than killed my school spirit. I much prefer a teacher or faculty member who compliments my creativity rather than criticizing my lack of ability to find extra large shorts.
Yes, I was definitely not dressed professionally. But it was spirit week, so nobody else was either. So were they inappropriate? I don’t think so; they were giant and loose and not revealing.
Maybe booty shorts that cover nothing are inappropriate, maybe wearing a sports bra to school would be inappropriate, but my large shapeless soffees were definitely not. Neither are tank tops and neither are running shorts. If a teenage boy gets turned on from staring at a girl in running shorts, it’s not because her shorts are showing off her legs in a way no one can resist. It’s because he’s a teenage boy, and no matter what you do, he is still going to be a teenage boy.
Dress code has been more restricted this year, with yoga pants being added to the list of banned clothing. I’m so glad I’m a senior, because by the time the freshmen are in my place, I wont be surprised if they can’t dye their hair, have a tattoo or even wear jeans that fit properly.