Opinion editorials, reviews and personal essays
By Adeena Liang and Jessica Wu
To kick-off the new school year, the new dress code is fully implemented. No midriffs and no undergarments should be visible. Sounds simple, right? However, a deeper look at what this change will mean for different members of the high school student body offers food for thought.
One perspective is from the girls of our community. Many express their dismay, as their wardrobes consisting primarily of midriff-baring shirts are now against dress code and cannot be employed to their fullest potential. They express that by no means should they be prohibited from wearing their attire of choice for this season, especially in the muggy and humid Shanghai summer weather. Additionally, it remains an unchangeable fact that there are some shirts that do go past the belly button, and yet expose the top undergarment or bra because of their design and structure. A concern arises that questions the justifiability of counting the unintentional exposure of a top undergarment because of the style or cut of a shirt as a violation of dress code.
Another perspective is from athletes of both sexes. Both boys and girls on the cross-country team have things to say about the dress code and its relation to athletes. Boys sometimes remove their shirts during cross-country practice.
Sean Yuan, a member of the team, said, “shirts are heavy and suffocating; if you take them off, you can feel some actual wind”.
A question is raised if such shirt removal constitutes as exposure of midriffs, and thus a violation of dress code. Something to consider further is that girls are not allowed to run without a shirt in just their sports bra; however, “the new dress code doesn’t really affect the girl runners because [they] were never allowed to run without a shirt even before the update anyway,” said Archana Velauthapillai. Sean describes a possible option to reconcile the whole controversy by having “a dress code that pertains specifically to athletes because the athletic environment is so different from a typical school environment”.
From both perspectives, we see potential disparities between how the new dress code affects girls versus how it affects boys. Because of anatomical features, girls are responsible for covering up two undergarments versus the boys’ one; because of gender, girls are prohibited from baring midriffs, while boys can essentially avoid consequence even when they bare everything from the waist up. Although the new dress code certainly marks a significant improvement from the requirements of previous years, some further clarification may be in order to make it a code for all, and not just a code for a particular gender.