How DC Public Schools’ Dress Codes Are Hurting Black Girls’ Self-Esteem
Last week, the National Women’s Law Center released a report that found black girls are repeatedly the target of biases in schools that have dress codes.
The study worked with more than two dozen black girls who attended DC public schools to find out how they’re affected by such rules. It found that many black girls who came to school in clothing that violated the rules (torn jeans, short skirts, shoulder-baring shirts) were taken out of class for suspension more often than their non-black peers who wore the same things.
There are obvious issues with the dress code academically (girls being forced out of class and missing essential learning time) and financially (not everyone can afford dress code-approved clothing). But there’s another issue that often gets overlooked for more “serious” threats: that of a girl’s self-esteem.
“Dress codes make particularly young girls self-conscious of their bodies in a way that really puts a burden on them from a very young age,” says Alexandra Brodsky, a NWLC attorney and one of the co-authors of the report.