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The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

The Tongva Times

When Dress Codes Cross the Line: Over-sexualization of Today’s Youth

Isabelle Ortiz

   Gabrielino High School enforces a dress code requiring students to dress in a manner that ‘does not distract from the educational environment’. However, students argue such guidelines often target specific body parts like shoulders and stomachs, inadvertently over-sexualize teenagers, and hinder self-expression. The dress code inadvertently shames young girls, and they become afraid to dress how they wish. Analyzing their size and build. They are pointing out what is right and wrong. 

   While the student body rarely has issues with attire, it is often the grown adults who single out young boys and girls when they simply come to learn, dress how they wish, and express themselves and connect. Clothing companies have worked to fit in with these changes in society. Crop tops are the new in, along with cargo or ‘baggy’ bottoms. So one may say specific articles of clothing are revealing or not appropriate, but it is safe to retaliate with what is left?

   Being a teenager in the 21st century can be challenging, with the pressure to fit in and not stand out. It can be frustrating when students are singled out and forced to change into appropriate attire.

   Senior Emi Naito, who had been cited for wearing a shirt that was ‘too small’. 

   “No girl is choosing an outfit actively trying to provoke someone or get attention from people,” stated Naito.

   Imagine if an older man were to approach you, point out your shirt is too revealing, and demand you change so that he won’t be distracted. You can see how uncomfortable that would make a 16-year-old girl. Focusing on body parts like the stomach and shoulders can make students feel self-conscious and send the message that their bodies are the only thing people notice.

   Taking into account the administration’s possible reasoning could be preparation for students in the workforce. The administration frequently emphasizes the relationship between the school environment and the future workplace. So, connecting the two would also include all aspects: educational gains, the drive to learn, and appropriate attire.

   “Certain circumstances where it can be a distraction [are when] you do not wear enough clothes and you are always really cold, or too much clothing can make you really sweaty in the classroom,” stated Laura Leyda, science department. “Being in a class, the wrong temperature could really impact your way of learning.”

   This does not excuse the policing of shoulders and stomachs but limits the spread of gang affiliation or illegal substances. 

   It is important to note that the dress code restrictions are not limited to girls. Senior Nick Lee was cited for wearing a tank top during lunch on a hot day. The dress code doesn’t consider weather conditions, which is unsympathetic to the student’s needs in a location where temperatures can reach 100 degrees.

   According to the GHS Student Handbook, “The following clothing will not be allowed: midriff showing tops, revealing tank tops, sheer clothing, racerback tops, halter tops, spaghetti strap tops with a strap of less than one inch from front to back, and any clothing that allows undergarments to show.”

   Senior Jocelyn Gu, a cheerleader, faced a complaint and citation for wanting to wear a sports bra during hot weather despite it being appropriate for her sport.  Yet, similar complaints are not heard regarding the football team, who wear tank tops or even go shirtless. There should not be a difference between the two, regardless of gender or body type. If you cite one, then you should cite the other. 

   “It’s unreasonable because girls have to be fully covered, and guys can wear whatever they want,” Gu protested. “If you are asking girls to put their shirts on, then you should be asking guys to put their shirts on.”

   While the dress code does serve a crucial role in maintaining a respectful and focused educational environment, it is essential to address the concerns teenagers have regarding the dress code and how it might inadvertently sexualize ordinary clothing. Allowing expression and freedom permits the children to feel more comfortable in the school environment. 

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About the Contributor
Gabrielle Rodriguez, Staff Writer
Gabrielle Rodriguez is a Staff Writer for the school newspaper, currently in her first year with the team. Outside of her journalistic duties, Gabrielle is passionate about volunteering for the youth and projects in relation to the arts. Her decision to join the newspaper stemmed from her love for English and the opportunity to be in a class focused on writing.
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