Dragons Mic Podcast Reveals Harmful Truth About Dress Code

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Erin Nicholson, Writer

The Dragon’s Mic Podcast released its second episode on Oct. 27 with the conversation focused on the school dress code and its effect on students. The hosts, Mariah Burgos, Vicky Hernandez, Caesar Pulido, Caroline Studdert, and Grace Utnehmer, shed light on their personal experiences and opinion on the school dress code.

The discussion centered around present and historical issues that are objectifying, sexualizing, subjective, and inconsistent. The dress code tends to shift the blame on female-presenting students, and ignores the true issue of predatory and misogynistic behavior.

School dress code has been a hot topic for years in schools across the country because of its restricting and oftentimes harmful regulations against female-presenting and non-binary students.

The hosts read the SVUSD Non-Discrimination Statement which declared that the district didn’t tolerate any discrimination based on identity – including sexuality, gender expression, and gender identity. 

Grace shared their experience being dress-coded by administrators when they were told that it wasn’t appropriate for them to wear male underwear because it was “male clothing” they were a “female” student. 

SVHS has had a notorious issue with male-presenting students sagging their pants, yet it seems that they are far less punished than female-presenting students. Grace and Vicky noted that the inconsistency of the enforcement of the dress code perpetuated a double standard amongst students.

On top of that, Grace, a nonbinary student, felt incredibly violated and invalidated being referred to as a female. It was an example of the school failing to uphold their standards of non-discrimination on campus. By not including non-binary students within school protocols and boxing them into male and female categories creates a harmful environment for these students.

Caroline included an important topic which was the double standard that existed amongst female-presenting students. Those with bigger chests have been more likely to be dress coded compared to those with smaller chests, according to student observations. This is yet another example of subjective and inconsistent enforcement of these rules. 

Caesar added that fashion is constantly changing, and it’s understandable that administrators can’t keep up with the ever-changing trends seen within high school. However, students should not be punished, embarrassed, or invalidated for what they wear, especially when administrators are not consistent with their rulings. 

The overall message of this podcast episode is that the dress code at SVHS has continued to embarrass and objectify many female-presenting students and invalidating non-binary students by identifying them as either male or female. I’m glad that the hosts included students of larger sizes because they are often left out of the conversation when it comes to dress codes. 

More importantly, the inclusion of non-binary students in this topic has been long overdue and SVHS should follow their own standards of non-discrimination by including non-binary students in school protocols, asking student’s for their preferred pronouns, and actually respect those pronouns. 

Tune into future Dragon’s Mic Podcast episodes by looking them up on Spotify. They release episodes about every other Wednesday each month.