Dress Code: Campus Reactions to Petizian’s Essay

DressCodeDress Code is always a hot topic at prep schools. Students usually argue about what is and what is not dress code, and whether one gender has it easier than another. Matthew Petizian ‘17 recently wrote an essay that shared his opinion that female students have more leniency with dress code than male students do. He claimed that while in the official dress code both boys and girls are required to wear collared shirts that are tucked in, it is only enforced for boys, and he took it upon himself to conduct an experiment to investigate this matter. The Mirror traveled around campus talking to students and faculty to see what their opinion was on current dress code and Petizian’s article.

Sabryna Strack ‘17 said that it is “immature” of Petizian to “go after girls and their dress code, rather than dealing with the boys dress code in itself.” Strack said that she does not think that the girls’ dress code looks bad, and she thinks “the way the girls dress looks presentable.” She also strayed from the girls versus boys topic to go on to say that a majority of Northwood’s Asian students “show up to class in sweatpants and sweatshirts and don’t get called out on it.”

Mr. Howard Runyon said he did not read Petizian’s article. He said that he has not read the dress code in a long time, but went on to say, “There used to be things that, to some extent, we tried to enforce, such as girls not were allowed to wear tight stretchy pants, and now girls are all over the place in them. Two years ago teachers occasionally told girls to change their pants, but that doesn’t happen anymore.” He also said “The main thing I notice now is that too many boys are walking around with their shirts hanging out, but then again girls have green light to wear different kinds of shirts that they are not forced to have tucked in.” Runyon said, “I do not think it is necessary for girls to have the same dress code as the boys where they have to wear tucked in collared shirts, but I do think it is possible that there would be some benefit in doing that, and imposing something more like a uniform, but I don’t think it is a really pressing mater.”

Madison Gneo ’17 also addressed weighed in, saying that she doesn’t think the administration has to change the girls’ dress code. She said, “I don’t think girls should necessarily have to wear collared shirts. While boys look good in tucked in collared shirts, girls don’t have to; they can make sweaters and nice shirts look nice. I don’t think its a problem.” When asked if she thought Petizian’s article was stupid she responded, “Yes.”

Mr. Welsh had a different issue with dress code saying he believes it actually needs to be enforced. He said, “I do think that girls’ dress code needs to be defined so that the guys don’t feel as though there is such a big divide.” He also made the point of saying, “No matter what happens with dress code there are always going to be people that push the limits, no matter how clearly defined it is, and try to take advantage of it and see what they can get away with.”

Mr. Mellor seemed rather reluctant to comment on the matter and said he did not have an opinion on Petizian’s article, but did say, “I understand what dress code is, and I understand why it means something to Matthew. I don’t think the dress code is unfair, but if I had to use one word to describe it I would say it is unfortunate.” Mellor went on to say, “One reason why I don’t like the idea of dress code is because it makes students try to impose power by not following it.” Mellor believes that students should dress nice because they want to present themselves well, and not because it is the dress code.

There were a few different opinions shared from people inside the Northwood community ranging from Matt Petizian’s opinion that girls have it easier than boys, to opinions that it is fine because girls can look presentable without complying with some of the rules that boys must, to Mr. Welsh’s opinion that dress code needs to be better enforced for both genders.

My opinion, similar in a way to Mr. Mellor’s, is that dress code should not necessarily have strict definitions, or have to be enforced every day. Students should dress to look presentable. I agree that girls do not have to wear tucked in collared shirts to look good, but I also think boys do not have to do that either. A male student can look neat and presentable in other ways, such as wearing a long sleeve t-shirt with a nice jacket, pull-over, or sweater on top. I do not think the school needs to reevaluate dress code as a major issue, unless students start showing up to class in sweatpants and sweatshirts, because the way the majority of students dress now is neat and presentable and does not reflect poorly on the Northwood School in any way.

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