Dress and Grooming Policies Based on Gender Stereotypes
Does your school or workplace have dress and grooming policies that treat people differently based on gender stereotypes?
The ACLU has long fought to end the practice of treating people differently in their school or workplace based on gender—including through dress and grooming policies rooted in rigid and binary sex stereotypes. Gender-specific dress and grooming policies in schools—such as unrealistic restrictions on exposing bra straps—often suggest that girls’ bodies are shameful or vulgar, that students are “distracted” by girls’ bodies and appearance, and that girls’ dress and appearance require more regulation than that of boys. In the workplace, gendered uniform and dress codes—including requirements that women wear revealing clothing or that men cannot wear make-up—reflect and reinforce stereotypes about femininity and masculinity. Biased dress and grooming policies jeopardize equal access to education and employment while subjecting women and girls to discriminatory discipline and constant heightened scrutiny regarding their bodies and appearance.
Discriminatory dress and grooming policies also invite biased enforcement against members of other marginalized groups. Black women and girls, in particular, are often targeted because of intersecting race and sex stereotypes regarding proper feminine appearance and behavior. Additionally, gendered dress and grooming policies often harm non-binary, transgender, and gender-nonconforming students by reinforcing rigid and binary sex stereotypes, inviting unnecessary and excessive policing of their appearance, and ultimately sending the message that they don’t belong.
We’d like to hear from you if your school or workplace maintains dress and grooming policies that treat people differently based on gender stereotypes. For children under the age of 13 years, this survey must be completed by your parent or guardian.
We will keep your story confidential unless we contact you and get your permission to share it.