Protesters demand a revision of the dress code that disproportionately affects young women

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Photo Courtesy: Natalya Gonzalez

Giamae Villalobos stands in front of the counselors office holding a sign that reads, “Stop using teen boys as an excuse for predatory adults in the wrong profession.” In response to the staff calling what young female students decide to wear distracting, she says, “If you’re worried about girls clothing being distracting you should be more worried about who you’re hiring.”

Cheyanne Jauregui, Features Editor

High school dress codes have been labeled ‘outdated,’ ‘sexist,’ and ‘sizeist,’ protests are happening all over the country and the students of Don Lugo are no exception.

In the city of Chino, a recent influx of protests demanding a revision in the dress code have occurred. A group of Don Lugo’s students organized a protest that took place on their campus in the quad during lunch. Later in the afternoon students from neighboring schools: Ayala, Don Lugo, and Chino High collaborated and organized a protest that took place at the Chino Valley Unified School District. Two of Don Lugo’s students, Elizabeth Saldana and Giamae Villalobos, were involved in both protests while also deciding to speak at the CVUSD board meeting.

The dress code has been a controversial subject on many high school campuses between both students and school personnel. According to Elizabeth, there seem to be a lot of preconceived assumptions on what they want to revise in the dress code. The assumption she hears the most is that she and the other protesters want to put an end to the dress code altogether, which is far from the truth. “There are a lot of things that I agree with but there are some things that need to change because they are outdated,” Elizabeth says.

In response to Don Lugo’s dress code that prohibits low plunging shirts, she says, “This provision is not only ambiguous but also inequitable towards students due to the fact that everyone has different body types. A shirt may be accepted as school appropriate to smaller chested women but on bigger chested women it would be considered low cut and dress code.”

Three Don Lugo students stand in the front of the counseling office protesting the dress code. Elizabeth Saldana, says, “I have a right as an American citizen to peacefully protest, it’s in the first amendment and that’s exactly what I did.” (Photo Courtesy: Natalya Gonzalez)

Sizeism is defined in the Oxford dictionary as “prejudice or discrimination on a person’s size or weight.” Elizabeth describes the dress code as “sizeist” because it disproportionately affects bigger girls. Bigger girls are more likely to be dress coded despite them wearing the same exact shirt that is fitted for their own body.

The dress code is described as being discriminatory towards women because it “targets feminine students.”  By targeting women it hinders their education because “students will be pulled out of class, humiliated in class, degraded, and sexualized while other students of other genders continue learning,” she says.

According to her, her sister had a similar experience when she was scolded in front of her class because of her bra straps showing. She was then dress-coded and forced to wear a sweater with no shirt on despite asking to put the sweater on over her shirt. The staff made no compromises and were more focused on bra straps than the comfort of the student.

These students want an end to the sexism, sexualization, and sizeism that is deeply rooted in the dress code which disproportionately affects young women. Giamae Villalobos prioritizes the importance of not blaming, punishing, or telling female students what to wear but instead educating the staff and male students on respecting young women despite what they are wearing.  “What we should be concerned about is the boy’s behavior, you’re looking too closely at what these female students are wearing at school rather than teaching these boys how to act right.”