Freedom of Expression

by courtney_viv on February 8, 2016 - 3:10pm

   On February 5th 2016, an article on Huffington Post Canada highlights the protest a group of boys from California’s Buchanan High School took part in. A recent dress code was enforced at this High School in regards to the boys banning long hair and earrings, and that only girls were to be able to wear dresses or skirts. Therefore, both female and male students of this high school tested this new policy switching gender norms. The students also began a petition with already 3,500 signatures. One student named Emma Sledd states that what they wear does not define them as students. She believes, along with other students that they should have the freedom to express themselves equally. She also states that “a boy with long hair is no less of a hard worker than a girl with long hair”

   Ever since I was a kid, I was always taught to dress appropriately so that it wouldn’t distract the boys from learning. As if what I wore is the leading cause for boys to be distracted in class. In my high school, ripped jeans, tank tops with spaghetti straps, tube tops or dresses/ skirts that weren’t knee length were against the school policy. Along with that having unnatural hair color was against the school policy because it was not “professional” and it would be distracting to other students in the classroom.

   All this to say that the way that we dress ourselves for school is equal in matter to how we would perform in school. This is all complete lies because never once did wearing a skirt that was an inch shorter than the school policy stop boys from learning. It did however stop me from learning because I was forced to go home to change because according to the principal, who was female, believed that my skirt was too short and would distract the boys in class. Not only was it annoying to have to go home to change, but it was humiliating for not only me but the boys because the principle does not believe that the boys wouldn’t be able to contain themselves if a girl was wearing a skirt.

   I believe that no matter the gender, we should be able to have freedom of expression because regardless of what we are wearing, it will not affect the way in which we perform at school



I read the article you are talking about too and I agree with your opinion on it. I really liked your post and that you shared a personal experience related to it!
I went through pretty much the same as you mostly in the beginning of high school and I always felt like this rules were very judgemental and didn't make sense. I agree with hygiene rules but judging someones intellectual level or work in classroom by their "style" or hair length makes no sense. For both guys and girls these rules felt like a personal attack. I went to a Religious primary high school and we had to attend ti church once a week during our lunch break. One day I had physical education and forgot to bring a long pair of pants so I had to wear my blue shorts for the rest of the day. At lunch time I went to church and got kicked out. I Got kicked out because it was disrespectful to show my knees at church. A 10 year old girl following the rule of going to church instead of playing during recess was kicked out because she was wearing shorts.Instead of attending church with my blue shorts, I was standing outside listening to it, still wearing my shorts. I find the way they fix the problem very enological and mean. Anyways good post!

This post really stuck out to me because I have gone through the same experience. Having gone through a high school that eliminated skirts completely from their uniform, I fail to understand why school's uniform rules are such a big deal. I also agree with your opinion.
The rule of dressing "appropriately" has always been forced into my agenda, especially as a girl. My high school banned skirts and blouses as whole off their uniform. As a co-ed school, we all wore the same polo shirts and slacks. Their reasoning that it sent a bad message about the girls in our school and how this is a dis-advantage for the boys. Firstly, if a boy is being distracted by a girls uniform during school, there is a bigger issue here. Schools are feeding the idea of when women dress in a less appropriate manner, they should be treated differently. Girls should be free to dress how they want, and like you said, should be able to have their freedom of expression.
As for this article, I enjoyed the fact that people stood up for the fight against gender norms. In today's society, ever though there is more awareness over gender norms, we still find incidents where men are being shamed for acting outside the "Man Box" ("masculine" qualities that males are taught to act like, and if not followed, will be shamed). Speaking in a literal context, "it's okay for a girl to wear pants, but it's not okay for a guy to wear a skirt" - I believe we should all act as we please, within gender norms or not, but I can't wait to see the day where feminine qualities will not be looked as an inferior way to act/look like.
- I also found another article, based on the same issue of dress codes within schools, I hope you will enjoy the other ideas and issues linked to your post!