Can Dress Codes Hurt Students?

Today I have a book that touches on a topic that is rarely discussed.  Can dress codes hurt students?  Well-meaning schools are creating rules that target girls disproportionately at a time when body image issues are developing.  This book explores those issues from the perspective of middle school girls and many will be able to relate to the feelings shared in the story.

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Title: Dress Codedcan dress codes hurt students dress coded

Author: Carrie Firestone

Target: Grades 5-8

Series: No

What this book is about:

In middle school, a friend of Molly’s gets dress coded and as a result, the class loses their school camping trip.  When Molly finds out the reason for the violation she is infuriated.  It is becoming apparent that a dress code is more about control than anything else, so she starts a podcast interviewing girls who have been humiliated by the dress code.  When all the conventional routes to change the code fail, Molly and her friends choose a more dramatic form of protest, camping out on the front lawn of the school.  Will the adults finally listen, or will the challenges of middle school remain compounded by fashion choices as well?

Why I loved this book:

  • My daughter goes to a school that implements a dress code, and I have heard similar complaints from her.  There is an inconsistency in judgment with girls who are more developed vs. girls who haven’t gone through puberty.  The girls also seem to be the targets, with boys rarely suffering the same humiliation.  The book also touched on some of the financial implications of having to buy more clothing that meets the code when the clothes they want to wear in their everyday lives are different.  
  • This book covered a lot.  Molly has a brother that is addicted to vaping, she has a friend questioning her sexuality, another girlfriend with cerebral palsy and there is a boy with a traumatic brain injury.  Felt like a lot for one story.  I would have preferred one of those explored in more depth vs so many touched on lightly.
  • I liked that this story dealt with a very relevant topic.  It was also a good model of going through the channels for change and when those don’t work, peacefully protesting for your cause.

Who this book is for:

Any kids in middle school facing a dress code!  Readers who enjoyed Go With the Flow will like this one.  Also good for fans of It Wasn’t Me.

Final thoughts:

I wore a uniform to school and it was great.  Took so much stress out of the school day.  Dress codes today tend to target young women who are already struggling with body issues.  I hope more schools revisit these policies.

To purchase this book:

Click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Dress Coded.  A portion of each purchase will go to support this blog at no cost to you.  Thank you for your support.