The dress code issue has been brought to light by the older gentleman who came to campus and made a habit of standing in the Plaza and criticizing girls’ outfits while they walked by. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, yes that is something that really happened. Apparently, some people are unaware that this is 2019 and that girls’ and guys’ outfits are the least of our problems. But I guess some people are still stuck in the dark ages.
Though CMU doesn’t have a dress code, there is one in the gym. Girls aren’t allowed to wear sports bras as their only top, and nobody is allowed to show midriff. The gym’s handbook states that “no apparel that reveals abdomen, chest, or gluteal fold” is allowed. Now this seems easy to follow, but that’s not the issue. The problem is the way people are being called out on what they’re wearing and being told that it “isn’t appropriate.”
This kind of criticism turns an outfit that is comfortable for the wearer into an outfit that makes them feel ashamed and alienated. They might never look at that outfit the same way again.
People should be allowed to wear whatever they want. This shouldn’t even be a debate in high school, let alone in college. We are adults now in case that isn’t obvious, so our clothing shouldn’t be censored. It shouldn’t be censored because as college students we should be old enough and smart enough to look away if something is overly explicit. And if sexual harassment does occur, who’s fault is it? The harasser, not the outfit of the victim.
But all of that aside, the outfits that are being censored aren’t even “explicit”! A sports bra is something that women wear all around the world in order to stay cool while working out. Tank tops are worn by men for the same reason. In a typical gym you come across outfits like that constantly, and nobody bats an eye. The only people who care are the ones who tell people that they’re violating the dress code.
My point is, dress codes might be a good idea in elementary school and middle school. One could even make the argument that dress codes should be implemented in high schools. But in colleges? It just seems weird that we as adults are being told what to wear. For this reason, I’m glad that CMU doesn’t have a dress code policy. And for the same reason, I wish we didn’t have a dress code policy in our gym.