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The Milton Measure

Undressing the Dress Code

by Catie Wise on Friday, May 22nd, 2015

On Monday, May 11, the Dress Code Guideline Committee spoke in front of the entire student body at assembly, outlining the proposed set of dress code guidelines. During the assembly, the committee talked about the different types of research they pursued and the atmosphere of the committee meetings this past year. Head Monitor Louis Demetroulakos (I), a current member of the committee, mentioned that the committee emphasized allowing types of clothing that were easily purchased at most retail stores. This logic was used throughout the establishment of these guidelines.

With Ms. Engstrom and Mr. Ruiz as co-chairs, the committee is made up of both faculty members and students. The faculty asked student representatives from the SGA and SAGE (Students Advocating Gender Equality) to join the committee, hoping to bring in a more diverse range of inputs. The introduction and purpose of the committee as presented to its members reads: “In the fall of 2013, the dean of students was charged with developing a set of dress guidelines with the purpose of providing clarity around ‘neat and appropriate’ school attire. After numerous conversations last spring, it was clear that greater community participation and a larger conversation around dress was necessary.”

The first meeting took place on October 6th, 2014, and the group continued to meet every month after that. The committee followed through with a couple of different strategies to narrow down adaptations to the existing proposed guidelines. Ms. Engstrom said, “we started with a lot of research, and then started gathering student feedback on what ‘neat and appropriate’ meant to them in order to get a pulse on our community. We tried to specify that we were interested in students’ understanding of their own dress, avoiding judgment of others’ dress. Then, we discussed what we found and set goals for our guidelines. The main goals were creating a gender-neutral set of guidelines that respect self-expression, context, comfort, coverage, inclusivity, awareness fostering, and major school rules. From there, we each drafted a set of guidelines that would incorporate all of our goals, and compiled all these ideas into a draft.” The ending phase of forming these guidelines included passing them through other faculty members for feedback and, lastly, getting feedback from the student body.

One of the underlying goals of the committee was not only to make everyone happy with the change in guidelines but also to address some of the previous issues of the last set of proposed guidelines. A new aspect addressed within the guidelines is the use of gender neutral language, as confirmed by Ms. Engstrom. Rather than using “he,” “she,” “his,” or “her,” the guidelines now have gender neutral pronouns so there are no limitations specifically for students of any gender.

Although a lot of people did not take much notice in the change of the pronouns, others felt more affected by the switch. Carter Wilcox (II) said “I think the guidelines are well intended, but there’s a certain line between acceptance of everyone and being ridiculous. It’s okay to be a guy and a girl and to have different requirements. I believe it is okay to say ‘girls can wear this’ and ‘boys can’t wear this,’ rather than ‘students can’t do this’ as a collective whole.”

On the other side, many people believed the switches to the guidelines were beneficial. Emily Bell (III) believes that the guidelines “only serve a purpose of making the rules all gender neutral, but they don’t actually add anything about what we’re actually supposed to be wearing.” Emily also states that “by only being guidelines, they simply state what we, as a community, want to hold our standards to, but it’s not a ‘this is what you have to be doing’ kind of situation.”

Siena Nagel-Thompson (III) says, “the guidelines are beneficial to the student body, because with all the research done, the committee understands that previous beliefs of expectations regarding clothing cannot actually be reached. These guidelines solidify what was in the handbook previously. I believe Milton should have guidelines, and the fact that they are guidelines and not actual rules makes it more acceptable especially for Milton.”

Short URL: http://miltonmeasure.org/?p=7072

Posted by Catie Wise on May 22 2015. Filed under More News, News, Recent News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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