Policing The Way Women Dress through dress code

Ayesha Curry’s tweets where she stated that she preferred to dress, ”classy over trendy” rubbed many people the wrong way. Many people felt that she was shaming women who chose to wear more provocative clothing. And others applauded her for promoting modesty and telling women to put on some ”more clothes”. Regardless of the varying opinions on Ayesha Curry’s tweets, this situation opened up the topic of discussing how the way many women choose to dress is policed by many in society.

Ayesha Curry is the wife of NBA player, Stephen Curry. They currently have a daughter, Riley Curry and are fairly well known in Black American circles. However, her tweets about preferring to dress ”classy over trendy” sparked controversy. Here are her tweets:

Ayesha Curry's tweet

Many feminist outlets felt that Ayesha Curry was shaming women who choose to wear more provocative clothing. For a moment, she was seen as a pariah for trying to tell other women how to dress. And there were others who applauded Ayesha Curry for telling women to dress more ”modestly” and not like thots and hoes. Nonetheless, I believe that this whole situation opened up a Pandora box of issues such as slut shaming and policing the way women choose to dress.

Ayesha’s tweets were taken out of context. She didn’t mean to shame women who choose to dress more provocatively. What she meant to say was that she preferred to dress a certain way because it suited her.  However the wording of the tweets implied that she was shaming other women who dress more provocatively. That was why many women got upset with her. However what I am against is the shaming of women who choose to wear clothes that show skin and are tighter and labeling them as sluts.

Many people in Black American collective have referred to Amber Rose, rapper, Wiz Khalifia’s ex wife and Kanye West’s ex girlfriend as a thot and hoe because of the fact that she wears whatever she wants. The irony of all of this is, it was Black America that brought Amber Rose to public consciousness and attention. She is seen as a thot because of the fact that she wears whatever she wants and owes up to her sexuality. She is bold, brave and doesn’t care what anyone else thinks about her. It is not to say that I am a fan of Amber Rose but I admire her courage to owe up to her sexuality in a society that continues to devalue Black women’s sexuality and bodies.

Here is a picture of Amber Rose

Amber Rose


How dress code can go too far and how it relates to the policing of women’s attire?

There isn’t anything wrong with a dress code that demands people to dress a certain way for a certain profession. Often times, dress code is necessary to keep a consistent form of attire that is appropriate for an specific environment such as school, the workplace etc. The enforcing of dress code, often times, enforces the rules of how one should dress and even act in a certain environment. However, enforcing and following an established dress code can also inhibit a person’s way of expressing their creativity and personality through the way that they dress. Hence the belief that the enforcing and implication of dress code can be beneficial as well as detrimental to those being subjected to them.

When is enforcing dress code detrimental to those in a specific environment?

Many people use a form of dress code as a way to control the way women dress. For example, many school officials have enforced rules prohibiting young women from wearing short skirts, shorts and tank tops because it is seen as inappropriate. I understand that these clothes aren’t seen as appropriate for a school setting however what if the weather was humid. Would a young woman have to also ”cover up” when the temperature outside is ninety degrees? It is not to say that a young woman should walk around naked however she should wear clothing that suits the humid atmosphere. And wearing shorts and a tank top would suit the weather better than long sleeved and baggy pants. Many young women in high school find themselves being sent home or given a discipline note because their attire was deemed inappropriate or sultry. Often times, they feel that they can’t express their individuality and uniqueness through their attire due to dress code regulations. Worst of all, dress code kept a strict eye on policing young women’s attire while refusing to teach young men to respect and value women.

Here are tweets from random young women expressing their disguise and disillusioned with the dress code at their school:


dress code 1


dress code 2


dress code 3

Here is a paragraph from an article on Daily Dot about a former public school high school teacher discussed how a teenage girl faced expulsion because she violated the dress code:

” So when that day arrived when I asked her to change her clothes and she refused, her number was up.

As I continued calmly but firmly requesting that she follow the rules, she grew irate, her voice getting louder as she began to pace about the room. Among our students, pacing was often a sign that a violent outburst was on the way. Then, within the hearing range of several other faculty members, she repeatedly threatened to hit me as the other students looked on, unfazed. I didn’t have time in that moment to consider whether or not she would actually hurt me. My sole focus was trying to keep the situation in check. 

Even though no actual violence had taken place, threatening a staff member still meant she could not remain at the school. Realizing that my interaction with this student had been the straw that broke the camel’s back, I felt stunned and sick to my stomach. I knew it wasn’t my fault, but I still felt deep down that I was responsible for yet another door closing on her.

Sometimes I wonder what that student felt at the moment. What was it about being asked to cover up her clothes that caused her to feel such rage? Clothing is an expression of individuality, especially for adolescents. Perhaps what she heard when I asked her to change was not “this is what you have to wear” but “this is who you have to be.”

The student who was expelled was not the only girl to get worked up over the dress code. A handful of others also got out of their seats and shouted in my general direction while their classmates looked on. Plenty of other restrictions caused them to react the same way. I was accustomed to such outbursts and had to address them, regardless of the specific source of frustration.”

Reading the whole incident highlighted the frustration and anguish many teenage girls face. Many young women feel that these dress code regulations are unfair because it is directly geared towards them and controlling the type of attire that they wear. Many of them feel that what they wear is directly tied to who they are as a person and are unjustly judged by it. So many of them make a statement in violating these dress code regulations to prove their point. Others violate a dress code because they felt that their outfits wasn’t revolting enough to incite punishment from school officials. It is not to say that all teenage girls violate the dress code at their schools however dress code regulations can go too far especially when it comes to controlling a young woman’s attire.

Many women also face dress code regulations in the work place as well. Many women tend to adhere to such rules in the workplace because wearing a certain attire means representing their profession. Or maintaining a balanced and peaceful environment however many women also violate dress code regulations in the workplace as well.

Does enforcing dress code always result in women violating these guidelines?

Not necessarily. Enforcing dress code regulations isn’t always negative or result in negative reactions. Sometimes enforcing a dress code is necessary because it is important to show others how to dress appropriately for a particular event or environment. Enforcing and following a dress code also shows and enforces order and balance in society. Without enforcing a dress code, people would dress however they wanted to without considering whether their attire is appropriate for a certain occasion or environment. However enforcing a dress code can also be used to police women’s bodies and sexuality as well as enforce appropriate means of attire in a specific environment and area.

Most of all, I believe the controversy surrounding Ayesha Curry’s tweets opened up a discussion about controlling women’s bodies and sexuality in society. Enforcing and enacting on a form of dress code for a specific event, area and environment can either have positive and negative effects on people and their environment. I believe that women should wear whatever they want as long as they can express themselves. Thus the policing of the way women dress is apart of society’s way of controlling women’s sexuality.


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