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If school is a place for self-expression, then why aren’t we allowed to express ourselves?

Our brain works like a sponge, constantly absorbing information from our surroundings. As teenagers, we are constantly craving stimulation and as we grow, we develop our own interests and morals. But what happens if we aren’t allowed to express ourselves? In our community, we are taught that our mission is to be passionate lifelong learners, committed to impacting the world positively, and to achieve personal and academic excellence. We all agree that this is what we are aiming for in life… However, what if we are trapped in an environment where instead of being able to express our interests and share our own opinions and knowledge we don’t fully have this right for ourselves?

The school dress code not only gives us a negative view of our form of self-expression through artificial standards on what is or is not acceptable, but unfairly imposes standards on teenagers, who might not agree with these expectations, plus it may also submit to pressure on blame women from others' behaviours and actions.

The standards imposed by not only our school community but others are not only artificial but also unpredictable. While girls in schools are constantly being told to remove their nail polish, take off their jewellery and even pull down their skirt since it is one finger above the imposed length may not seem like a huge issue, however, in my view, and probably of various other students, it is. If you believe that boys in our school aren’t being affected by these rules you are wrong, boys aren’t allowed to grow out their beards, have long hair or even pierce.

Each and every action we take that goes against the dress code is probably an attempt on trying to express ourselves and reveal our true selves. The nail varnish and jewellery in our ears do not affect our learning in any way shape or form. We shouldn’t be sent home for these minor “inconveniences”.

We are still living in a misogynistic society. Even though these issues are fortunately being addressed in our society, no amount of discussion can make proper differences on the disadvantages present in the educational system and how they do not only disrespect young boys and girls, though it is evident that women are targeted in these situations.

Instead of prohibiting students to express themselves, of course in a school appropriate manner, our school and several schools around the globe should be teaching us that women should not be sexualized and considered distracting, neither should nail polish or jewellery.

Men, too, deserve more respect than what the student dress code affords them. Despite the rules that would imply that we, human beings, are capable of common decency, exposing our knees will never cause a commotion in the classroom. And if so, it is clear who should be punished.


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