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Are you really going to wear that?

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Haley James

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Pomp and circumstance
April 24, 2019
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Are you really going to wear that?

Dress code has been reigning over girls in middle and high schools since the dawn of time. Every once in awhile, you hear that someone got away with wearing leggings, or managed to avoid being sent to the office for a scandalous Justice tank top. Others were not so fortunate when trying to navigate the boundaries of the dress code law. It never seemed fair for some people to get away with it and others to be exiled to the front office and ordered to change.

What many people do not realize is how much of a distraction the actual act of dress coding someone is. When I was dress coded once, I was embarrassed and annoyed. As an awkward preteen who was struggling with her weight and trying to blend in, I was ashamed for feeling confident about what I was wearing. I thought about it all day. After finally finding something to change into, it had been almost an hour of wasting my time trying to fix my outfit instead of learning like I was supposed to be doing at school.

As staff members on the Talon, we have decided to collectively voice some of our worst middle school dress code experiences ever to shed light on the perspective of actual students. These are our stories.

The weather was scorching outside since the school year was almost over. Like any reasonable girl who was sweating her own body weight off would do, I put on a pair of running shorts that morning. They were baggy and made me look flat as a board, going past halfway down my thighs at least. It was glorious to feel the wind on my legs, and I felt like a free woman for about two seconds. The moment I stepped through the front doors, I was bombarded with requests to change my shorts. It was like the whole world had spontaneously combusted because, shocker, I have knees.

It was just another day in eighth grade for Christen Ellenberg, talking with friends, carrying eight million books around, the usual. On that particular day, she decided to wear a dress she thought was very fashionable yet appropriate for school. However, she could not escape one teacher’s hawk-like eyeballs. In walked a male teacher to dress code her. The worst part, since he was not allowed to do it himself, he made Christen’s “pretty cool” math teacher measure her dress instead.  In front of the whole class.

To commemorate the life of a student who passed away in a car crash, Angel Beltran dressed up in black and white along with some of her fellow students. She knew the dress she was wearing was on the shorter side, but it did fit the black and white theme, and she had worn it to school before without incident. So she headed to class, trying to honor the memory of a fellow student. Angel did not even make it through the door of her first period class before her homeroom teacher shot down her outfit. Angel argued that she had worn the dress at least two times before without incident, but no one would listen. Since no one in her family was available to bring her a change of clothes, she was sent to dig through old PE uniforms instead.

Although the dress code rules are touchy and are sometimes randomly enforced, things can go far. It is a crazy thought, but some of us do not want to wear jeans when it is eighty degrees outside, or cover our shoulders when the sun is stifling. My PE uniform was shorter than the pants I wore to school, but no one said a word then.

Dress code can diminish self worth in the blink of an eye. From body confidence to breaking out of social boundaries, letting people choose what they wear goes a long way in building self esteem and letting us show our individuality.

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About the Contributor
Haley James, Reporter/Editor/Photographer/News Supervisor

Hi! My name is Haley James, and this is my third year on The Talon. This year I am head of photography, news supervisor, and also a junior editor. I’m...

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Are you really going to wear that?