Opinion: Stop telling me to cover up

Feature+Photo+by%3A+Madison+Moon+-+Rachel+Etter%2C+a+junior+at+Rangeview+High+School%2C+expresses+her+style+in+school+by+wearing+a+crop+that+is+considered+immodest%2C+according+to+Rangeview%27s+dress+code.

Feature Photo by: Madison Moon – Rachel Etter, a junior at Rangeview High School, expresses her style in school by wearing a crop that is considered immodest, according to Rangeview’s dress code.

Madison Moon, Opinion Reporter

How I choose to express myself, is not for your pleasure, nor is it to ‘distract’ you. I’m positive I am not the only female who has experienced being told to put a jacket on, or who has been taken to the office to change. So why is the school system oversexualizing self-expression and style? 

Throughout my two years of being back in public school, I’ve never felt more sexualized and pressured to cover up. I should not have to question if wearing a crop top is considered too “sexy.” My “midsection” has been the most sexualized at school, but what is so sexual about a stomach? Is my belly button that eye-catching? 

I also believe the dress code should start considering the woman’s perspective. I never viewed my ‘midsection’ as sexual until I returned to public school because I was told that my stomach was ‘too much’; in fact, it was a way I expressed confidence. While being home schooled, I was very insecure, being 95 pounds, underweight, and overall unhappy with my body’s appearance. I pushed myself daily to improve my health as well as gain weight by working out and eating more frequently. 

When I began to feel more confident, I started opening my perspective to different styles; crop tops, shorts, tube tops, etc. I wore clothes that made me feel good, the perspective of others was never in consideration because it made me feel self-assured. 

“Yes, I feel the school should focus on desexualizing a simple crop top and teach boys how to respect women’s choices. No woman is dressing for any type of gross attention; we’re just trying to express ourselves,” said Adalia Lorenzen, a junior at Rangeview High School. 

Not only is the dress code telling girls to cover up and making us feel that our bodies are on display when we choose to wear a tube top, but it is mostly directed towards females. The dress code does not allow students to wear hats and gang-related clothes, however, the majority of the limitations are directed to women and our bodies.  

“The dress code is sexist. Guys can walk around with their pants sagging, but us ladies can’t show our shoulders or a little belly,” said Tierra Veltien, a senior at Rangeview High School. 

Etter walks through the hallways while wearing a crop top; a commonly sexualized shirt worn by girls (Moon).

Quoted in the Rangeview Staff Handbook on page 28, “Students should wear the appropriate clothing with modesty and in a neat fashion.” How come we are teaching young girls that their decision on how they choose to express themselves isn’t modest? 

So tell me Rangeview, does my style offend you? Does my midsection affect you? Why do I feel objectified when an administrator tells me to cover up? Why don’t you listen to my voice? Why do you sexualize me? Why don’t we teach boys to be more respectful? 

I think the solution is simple and mandatory. The rules in which young women are expected to follow in school are old school, we punish girls for not following rules that have continued through the school system from sexist generations. Women have been told to cover their body for generations, we were taught showing skin is not modest. The way a woman chooses to dress is suggesting that we want attention from the opposite sex. When you tell a girl to cover up, you’re objectifying her; you are sexualizing her body. 

Besides, don’t ever tell a woman what she can and cannot do with her own body. I have a right to represent myself the way I please, and my wardrobe doesn’t determine my skills, my knowledge, and power as a human being. The school system is sexualizing me, not my crop top; I shouldn’t need to cover up.