The school year has barely begun and already school dress codes are having a moment. And not a good one.
School dress codes have long been criticized for being sexist and riddled with double standards. So you would think that times they would be a’changin.
Two high school students from Illinois decided to challenge their school’s archaic dress code to make a point – that one of these things is not like the other.
The results? Pretty much exactly what you would expect. Because what is bad for the goose is good for the gander, apparently.
Drew Jarding and Kenzie Crimmins decided to run their little social experiment and document it on TikTok.
It has since gone viral, with over 7M views, 2M likes, and 12K comments.
In order to test their theory that there is a blatant double standard when it comes to dress codes, the two friends wore similar outfits to school on the same day.
Both of them wore a crop top t-shirt, with Kenzie’s just grazing her belly button and Drew’s being significantly shorter. Kenzie paired hers with leggings and Drew wore shorts.
Drew told Buzzfeed:
“I wanted to dress as similarly as possible but I wanted Kenzie’s outfit to be a tad more “discreet,” just so you could show how biased they really are.”
According to Drew, their school’s dress code “prohibits spaghetti straps or straps that show too much shoulder, crop tops, and ripped jeans.” In addition, “pants, dresses, and shorts must be below the knee.”
As the video progresses so does our hope that fairness and equality will prevail.
The two make it through most of the day; sitting in classes, walking the halls, even dancing in front of 5 teachers at one point. It seems as though their mission to prove their school dress code is sexist may fail.
Until the seventh period…
Yes, that is a pink slip in Kenzie’s hand. A teacher wrote her up for “showing her stomach.” HER. Not HIM.
Kenzie told Buzzfeed:
“They were like, ‘Your shirt is really revealing’ and offered for me to go to the resource room to change.
Honestly, it just makes me want to wear clothes like that more, because the standards are so not the same.“
It’s obvious that Drew was in violation of not one, but two codes (crop top and shorts above the knee). However, not one word was said to him. NOT ONE.
Kenzie, on the other hand, was written up for her crop top, which is BARELY a crop top.
(And I could really use an eye-roll font right now.)
The conclusion: School dress codes are in fact, sexist, and unequally enforced.
Commenters on Drew’s video were quick to point out the obvious.
We’re ALL shaking our heads, Stella.
After all, Drew’s crop top was significantly more cropped than Kenzie’s.
Pictures (or in this case, videos) don’t lie.
It certainly does say it all, and none of it is good. It is clear that this school, and many others just like it, have a long way to go in having equitable standards.
This is just one video in a series of TikToks where Drew takes on the establishment and the dress code.
#dresscode my friends who have been dress coded for wearing clothes like mine @avvacado @grace.gustafson3 @_ella_nolan_ @el.nicole @alainamullerr …
Drew tells Buzzfeed:
“I had known that dress codes had been unfair for a while, I just didn’t know to this extent.
I was wearing multiple outfits that were going against the code or whatever and they hadn’t said a single thing to me all that week.”
He spends the week wearing short-shorts, unbuttoned tank tops, crop tops, and a nylon jacket with nothing underneath and only partially zipped. Short of showing up in his underwear, he does everything he can to violate the school’s dress policy.
After a week of breaking dress codes, he is still yet to receive his very own pink slip.
This isn’t the first story about the obvious double standard that exists and unfortunately, it likely won’t be the last.
Remember the one about a teacher sending a female student home for wearing a turtleneck dress that was deemed too distracting? You can read about it here.
Or the high school that made “modesty edits” to cover up girls’ shoulders and chests in the yearbook photos? Want to know how many boys had their school photos edited? Zero. That’s how many. You can check out that story here.
The grim reality is that dress code shaming, specifically in regards to young girls’ bodies, is still very much alive and well.
Schools are still sending the message that girls should be reprimanded and punished for having bodies and showing skin, while their male counterparts are not.
School dress codes would be fine if they applied the same standards equally to males and females. But they don’t.
And it is high time that changes are made so that they do.