Young women have been body-shamed by their schools’ dress codes for everything from wearing leggings to not wearing a bra to showing off too much shoulder. but now, one school in Illinois is putting its students comfort first.
Evanston Township High School’s goal in updating its student dress code is for pupils to dress comfortably without having to worry about being body-shamed or unfairly disciplined. It “supports equitable educational access and is written in a manner that does not reinforce stereotypes and that does not reinforce or increase marginalization or oppression of any group based on race, sex, gender identity, gender expression, sexual orientation, ethnicity, religion, cultural observance, household income or body type/size.”
The dress code’s basic principle is that “genitals, buttocks, breasts, and nipples are fully covered with opaque fabric.” To eliminate misunderstandings about what the school means by “breast and nipples,” the site clearly states, “cleavage should not have coverage requirements.”
Leggings, spaghetti-strap tank tops, halter tops, hats, and hoodies all are allowed, while clothing or accessories that include the following are the only pieces banned:
- “Violent language or images.”
- “Images or language depicting drugs or alcohol (or any illegal item or activity).”
- “Hate speech, profanity, pornography.”
- “Images or language that creates a hostile or intimidating environment based on any protected class or consistently marginalized groups.”
- “Any clothing that reveals visible undergarments (visible waistbands and visible straps are allowed).”
- “Swimsuits (except as required in class or athletic practice).”
- “Accessories that could be considered dangerous or could be used as a weapon.”
- “Any item that obscures the face or ears (except as a religious observance).”
Marjie Erickson, a recent graduate of Evanston Township High School, recently posted to Facebook this week about the new dress code.
“This is a revolutionary act of reclaiming our bodies as ours instead of a ‘distraction’ or something to be ashamed of,” Erickson wrote in her post. “This is our protection against being penalized for someone else’s perception of our bodies, and what is appropriate and respectable. … The new dress code is inclusive, progressive, and the standard every school should be held to.”