As part of a women’s studies course, Emma Snider, sophomore in psychology and developmental disabilities, is undergoing a project on sexualization and gender stereotypes attached to public dress codes.
“I decided to focus my attention on this topic because it is something that I have personally experienced as well as many others,” Snider said. “Also, I want to speak up for adolescent kids that often don’t get a say or are overlooked.”
In the release that Snider sent out about her project, she said that while many current college students may not relate to this issue currently, she’s “positive” that some students have been dress coded in high school or even middle school. Snider went on to say that boys and girls are “subconsciously being forced into gender roles that may not fit their preferred gender.”
Although it began as an academic activism project, Snider admits that the project has had more of an effect on her than she thought it would.
“I started this project when my professor told us that we have the opportunity to spread awareness about a feminist issue,” Snider said. “I never thought an assignment would impact me like this one.”
While some may not believe that dress code policies are a relevant issue, Snider says that there is a deeper, underlying issues within dress code policies.
“Although my focus is on the female aspect of dress codes, I also wanted to bring attention to the struggles that both girls and boys could experience in public schools,” Snider said. “Gender fluidity has become more popular in society however not in the younger community. The public dress codes label their protocol based on two sexes rather than gender.”
Snider is calling for schools to change their dress code policies.
“I want public schools to change their dress code policies to become gender-neutral,” Snider said. “Not only would this decrease the sexualization put on young girls, but it would also allow students to follow a dress code and still be able to identify as they choose.”
Spreading awareness and urging people to educate themselves on this topic is the way to bring about real change, according to Snider.
“My goal for this project is to educate the public about a very real issue,” Snider said. “I feel like a lot of people graduate high school and forget about the issues we were once so passionate about in our youth. I want to speak for the younger generation and future generations to come.”