If you believe a dress code is important because it teaches us to dress professional, here’s a couple things to consider:
1) Why is “professionalism” so important to you? (To the point that it overrides the safety and security of young women?)
2) What constitutes “professional”? Because the definition I found online was “the skill, good judgment, and polite behaviour that is expected from a person who is trained to do a job well”. Where does clothing come into play and how is it relevant? Maybe if you’re a nurse and need to wear scrubs, or you’re a mechanic and need to wear overalls, that would fall under good judgement but what about students? Does our clothing affect our skill? I would argue that wearing shorts on a really hot day is good judgement. And what about that last point of “polite behaviour”? You know what I find impolite and therefor, under your own words, “unprofessional”? Shaming others for their clothing choice when it causes literally no harm to your being.
And I know you all seem to think you’re off the hook for trying to separate modesty from rape culture but nope! Check this out: If modesty is described as dressing with the intention of avoiding the encouragement of sexual attracted, then when adults ask high school girls to dress modestly, they are implying two very problematic things. The first implication is that if a teenage girl were to dress “immodestly”, there is the potential of that adult, in a position of power, being sexually attracted to that student. The second implication is that if a teenage girl were to dress “immodestly”, she would be encouraging sexual attraction. Immediately, just by asking young girls to dress modestly, adults are sexualizing those girls and placing the blame on them for it.
In conclusion, professionalism is a load of crap, forcing someone to dress modestly is inherently sexist and I look great in a crop top so catch me feeling good about myself this Friday.
Sorcha Beirne is the coordinator of the Fredericton Youth Feminists.