Why mass day rules for female students do more harm than good


Owen Egger is a junior at Bishop Amat. He was recently accepted for admission into the University of Southern California.

Owen Egger, Contributor

Despite co-ed classrooms and a 300 wing with both gender bathrooms, Bishop Amat is a boys’ school. You could easily cite the laxness administration takes towards some small uniform rules (high top shoes?) for male as opposed to female students as evidence for this, but a policy that negatively affects half of the entire student body seems to be more pressing. The infamous “no skirts on mass day rule” is one that makes me question what year we are in, and more seriously what the values of administration are.

Put aside religion, put aside “convenience,” and put aside justifications for one second and realize this rule is one that punishes students for being female. Yes, this is an American institution in the year two-thousand-and-fifteen that mandates female students to accommodate their attire to male students. A dress code is sensible, a dress policy based upon the “inappropriateness” of a student’s body is not.

They will say “It protects girls from having their skirts looked up.” While this seems apparently considerate, to the best of my knowledge no student nor group of students was directly consulted in regards to the institution of this rule.

What is crucially lacking from the no skirts on mass days rule is a process by which the interests, not just the “best interests” of students are accounted for. Instead of mandating for female students to wear uncomfortable, expensive clothing that is as much symbolic of backwardness as it is a physical inconvenience,

Why do we not teach our students to value and respect each other’s bodies? In more realistic words, why don’t we educate our male (and female) students on what objectification is? This shaming rule does in fact justify for many male students the objectification, mockery, and “rating” of female students.

Give female students a choice.

Many wear shorts, many wear skirts, and many wear both. None should be shamed and made to feel as an inferior human being for where they fall in those three groups. The problem is not female students’ bodies. The problem is our perception of them.

I am not naïve; I don’t think we can just “fix” this and have everyone respect everyone. It doesn’t work like that.

Realistically speaking, a simple solution would be to take some time out of a religion class or a health class, even as little as one 80 minute class period, to give a presentation or something similar on objectification. “EDUCATION” not “restriction” needs to be the key word in solving the issue of objectification and a male-centric policy at Bishop Amat.

We want our students to grow to be decent human beings, productive members of society, and mature individuals capable of seeing the values in others. By instituting rules shaming students for things they cannot control, we are doing the opposite.

Amat has the resources, staff, and brainpower to make the right choice here and educate students instead of oppressing them.

Let’s fix the hole in the wall instead of punching one next to it.

When Owen is not researching his newest interest on Wikipedia, he’s headbanging to heavy metal in the kitchen.