The Surprising Truth about the School Dress Code

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The school dress-code, stressed at the beginning of the year, has provoked a controversy at George. Students are confused as to whether or not it is a new dress code at all. Dr. Waters, the new principal at George, states that it is, “…the same dress code that has been in place before I got here”. This misconception has riled up many students, but many do not know the truth. It is merely being more strictly enforced, but it is the same dress code.

Additionally, many students complain of sexism rooted in the tradition and argue that the dress-code mainly targets female students. Respectively, Dr. Waters responded, “the dress code is not an attempt at sexism; there is more regulation for women due to the fact that they tend to have more choices of unprofessional clothing, whereas men’s clothes are generally not an issue.” In an interview with a male student and junior at GW, Preston West, he said, “Against some girls, it happens to be sexist, but it is very rare that it happens to be sexist.” He means that certain outfit choices can affect whether or not you get reported, but as long as you follow the guidelines, there will be no prejudice. However, the question is: how do we define professional clothing and who determines what is appropriate?

The discussion continues with the assert that the dress code actually creates a more professional environment at George. In a workplace, it is necessary to dress appropriately, for specific jobs. In terms of business attire: suits, ties, and dress shirts tend to be the go-to wardrobe choice. The question is: is this going too far in a high school environment? “When people dress more professionally, they act more professionally,” according to Dr. Waters. In fact, The Cognitive Consequences of Formal Clothing, provides that formal dress is associated with cognitive improvements. Five studies conducted about this subject and mentioned in the book, supported this hypothesis. The studies demonstrated that formal clothing actually gave participants a, “greater category inclusiveness…, global processing advantage…, [and] The association between clothing formality and abstract processing was mediated by felt power.” This demonstrates the clear correlation between wearing professional clothing and awareness and comprehension. Therefore, dressing more professionally, will allow students to feel and act more intelligent at school. This should prepare them for careers after high school, as Dr. Waters and other members of the school board hope.

As is evident, the school dress-code is stirring up a major divide between the students, teachers, and parents. If you have any suggestions about the way the rules are being enforced or the rules in general, share your ideas with Dr. Waters or others on the school board. She would gladly discuss your concerns and perhaps even incorporate them into a new, more detailed dress code.

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