Olivia web

Education not about outfits

Mar 22 • Olivia Burger, Opinion • 431

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After nearly four semesters spent at a university, I can now verify something absolutely revolutionary and outrageously provocative that many of my administrators in my former high school wanted to suppress.
Contrary to their beliefs, the quality of an education is not defined by the strictness of a school’s dress code — rather it is defined by the actual quality of the education. GASP.
I can testify that there is no correlation between a person’s ability to pay attention in class and the length of a pair of shorts, nor is there any relationship between the grade received on an exam and the tightness of a pair of yoga pants.
Yes, I can proudly say that $30,000 worth of yearly tuition can confirm this revolutionary prediction that I knew was true years ago.
I suppose my sarcastic approach to this topic might not be the most successful way to introduce this important discussion, but in all honesty it is comical when I consider how dramatically my high school handled every minor dress code violation.
I can remember friends missing class time sitting in the school office, waiting for an administrator to review an article of clothing, or simply being told that their outfit, while meeting the dress code, was “too mature” for class.
While I agree that certain dress code restrictions are necessary and in many cases a good thing, I don’t think that an exposed shoulder is hardly a distraction.
The truth is being a teenage girl is hard enough as it is. The last thing a 16-year-old girl needs is to be singled out by a faculty member with degrading remarks about her appearance.
If a student is in the wrong for a major violation then they are in the wrong and should be told in a respectful way, but in many cases there is a major lack of consideration, which just plays into the larger issues at hand.
In my high school student handbook, around two-thirds of the restrictions referred to female styles like spaghetti straps, ripped jeans and skirt length.
With this unfairness intertwined within high school dress codes it opens up a conversation about larger-scale issues today with sexism and rape culture.
Unfortunately, parts of society today encourage women to dress modestly, rather than teaching men the core values of respect and that “no means no.”
However, there is a hopeful undertone to this all and it is that while sexism is still alive and well in the form of dress codes, you don’t have to deal with it in college.
Of course there are some dress codes on campus regarding proper laboratory wear and appropriate dress for professional workplaces, but for the most part students on campus are allowed to wear what they want.
During my time at Gannon, I have never once had a pair of ripped jeans or a pair of leggings get in the way of my education.
Professors do not care about what a student is wearing as long as the assignments get turned in and everyone shows up for the exam.
I have also yet to see another student’s education impacted by his or her inability to focus due to someone else’s appearance.
At the end of the day the faculty and the students at this university are primarily concerned with teaching and learning — and that is the way that all education should be.

OLIVIA BURGER
burger028@knights.gannon.edu

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