I was chatting with a friend recently about their experiences as a girl at school. We reminisced about the arguments fellow classmates used to get into with the teachers over skirts, trousers and make-up.
There were certain teachers who would stand at the door after assembly, with a pack of make-up remover wipes and force the girls to take their make-up off. My friend said the girls toilets at her school would be full of those people re-doing their make-up at breaktime and lunch. They also told me about how their school made all girls buy the same long, pleated skirt from the school uniform supplier. It cost quite a lot of money and the school thought this would solve the issue of students buying their own brands of skirts and trousers.
The word often used for short skirts was that were a “distraction”.
What constitutes a “distraction” in the school’s eyes? And for who? Other girls? Teachers (male or female)? Boys?
The question we need to ask is, why do we create societal pressures where people feel they need to dress a certain way to feel comfortable and accepted.
We all have a responsibility to change the culture. That means not putting people down for their appearance and how they choose to present themselves. That means not dictating that everyone should be the same and look the same. That means creating a space where people can go to school and learn, feeling comfortable, accepted and not judged to do so.