The Dangers of Shoulders


Desmond Andersen

CAUTION: exposed shoulders!

Julissa Ventureno, Editor-in-Chief

I would like to take this time to thank the amazing person who created the Venice High dress code. I am eternally grateful that you, whoever you may be, saved me from the absolute horror of… seeing bare shoulders. I strongly believe that I would not have been able to make it this far into my high school career with the presence of those body parts being everywhere I look.

I am absolutely fine with the constant threat of a school shooting, ridiculously long lines to see the only college counselor and the threat that the leader of the United States wants to deport me from my home. Those do not distract or endanger my education, but the simple thought of a lower back showing beneath a crop top makes me shudder with dread.

It is frustrating to see knees everywhere. Who has the audacity to wear comfortable shorts in this boiling 95 degree weather? It’s not as if global warming was a thing. Honestly, who cares if a few hundred people don’t want to have a heat stroke in the middle of class or be sweating uncomfortably the whole school day? That’s not going to distract them from learning.

I don’t understand why administrators make a big deal of how kids dress. They make a controlling dress code, but all  it is doing is controlling how girls dress and not teaching boys how to respect girls regardless of what they wear. All it is doing is teaching girls that if they show their shoulders, they are asking for it. All it is doing is sexualizing young girls. So what’s the big deal?

I also love that the dress code is extremely gender neutral. I heard a boy was dress coded. Well, I haven’t seen it, but I heard that three years ago a boy was dress coded. Well, not really dress coded. He was just told not to wear that shirt again. Or did he get a slap on the wrist? I can’t remember how the tale went. Although, I clearly remember a girl last year who got dress coded and had to miss her final, change her shirt, and have the opportunity to listen to a speech about self-respect because obviously students will get distracted from one of the most important tests of their class if they see a shoulder.

In all seriousness, girls may wear certain types of clothes for numerous reasons. Tank tops, leggings, tights, and many other items should be allowed! Maybe a girl wears a specific top because the weather encourages it, they want to feel confident, they feel comfortable in it, it expresses their personality or they feel like wearing it. Imagine what it would do to your self-esteem if you wore a top that made you feel beautiful and comfortable in your own skin, but the dress code insisted that you can’t be yourself. Comments like “have more self-respect” are damaging to many girls because when they are wearing whatever type of clothing, they could be trying to find self-love or their own personality through clothing.

The excuse that shoulders are going to distract fellow classmates is overused and outdated. In an informal survey of 50 students, 94 percent of them said they have never been distracted by any shoulders they have seen. Also, 89 percent of them have never seen a guy get dress coded. If anyone gets distracted by shoulders, then it sounds like a personal problem and it hints at a bigger problem than shoulders being exposed. Maybe the distracted student needs to know that they shouldn’t tempt boys or maybe we should make the class more interesting.

I understand the restriction of attire with vulgar language. But I don’t understand the need to sexualize body parts that shouldn’t be sexualized nor the lack of gender equality in the dress code nor the restriction of clothes that are ultimately a part of students’ personalities. There are more important things the school could be addressing instead of a dress code. If generations of students have been complaining about the dress code, maybe it’s time for it to be abolished. I mean it’s 2018.