The summer has begun. The scorching sun makes people all sweaty and looking for a fan or a seat near the window. It is natural the higher the temperature goes, the scantier the people dress (within reason, of course). But the problem appears when men are allowed to go shirtless and women are frowned upon when they put on shorts or a top with moderate cleavage. It is especially visible in schools, as in workplaces people are usually dressed in a way it is acceptable for the company, although it is not always a rule. But when a teenager, who already kicks against all possible rules, is told what he is to wear, it cannot end well.
Dress code is sometimes necessary and understandable, as for example in politics or marketing, in situations when you have to deal with customer or represent a big company or political party. Then you must look professional, but being professional doesn’t have to mean that you must wear the same attire in summer and in winter. For example French police officers have two kinds of uniforms – one with light materials and with short sleeves for the warmer part of the year and one more ‘heavy’, for wintertime. It is a solution which is very good for both image of institution and for people working on behalf of it. There are also some initiatives to make employees more comfortable not only in their clothes, but in company in general, such as allowing the workers to dress more casually on Fridays.
The way one dress is very important for an individual, and the right to wear whatever you want is as important as the freedom of speaking your mind.
The high schools and their expectations of how their attendants should look like is a completely different story. Firstly, we have young people who aren’t necessarily willing to comply with what the principal says is allowed and what is not. Some schools have their uniforms and nobody have any problem with it. But in most of them, there are only some rules what you cannot dress, rules which majority breaks. The question is if these regulation follow the common sense or not, and if they treat everybody the same way. Making girls put on so-called modest attire when boys are allowed to wear almost anything and giving an argument that any part of women’s (girls in high school age are almost adult, at least in terms of appearance) body which is not covered would distract their male peers or male teachers is ridiculous. It is a claim that men have no brain to tell them that they shouldn’t touch anyone without their consent and excusing such actions by putting the guilt on females.
The problem also lies in the language we use while addressing such issues. Few moths ago, all Internet talked about a 16-year-old girl who was offended when their principal used the phrase ‘the modest the hottest’, as a mean to get the girls to cover their bodies. But it is somehow inappropriate to use such sexually-connotated word to get what he wants. Especially as most girls in that age already have low self-esteem and such sentences are very unlikely to improve their situation, making them ashamed of their bodies.
Another thing is how teachers address these who violate these rules and for example come to school in shorts or leggings – some make humiliating remarks like ‘why you are wearing panties in school?’ or even tell them to put on shorts when they have leggings (but that one is extreme). Let’s have some mutual respect, teachers towards pupils and vice versa.
It is obvious that we cannot let everything pass without a word, some rules must be followed in order to ensure safety and good atmosphere in class. But going too far in one or other way will do no good. Neither very strict nor very liberal policy towards the clothes is good. School should ensure that their pupils know how to dress appropriately for it will be required of them afterwards, and also that each of them have some freedom to express himself or herself through their clothing. Both things should be learned at high school and be obvious in adult life.