Banning school skirts is a dangerous trend. Here’s what we should do instead

Jul 2, 2018 by

Chitra Ramaswamy –

This change in school uniform policy is trying to address bigger issues – misogyny, upskirting and sexualisation – and ends up blaming girls. A gender-neutral approach would be much wiser

Is the school skirt – usually navy or black, always knee-length until rolled up in defiance (or, in adult hindsight, vulnerability) – on the brink of extinction? Maybe. Does it matter? Definitely. According to an analysis of uniform policies across schools in England, at least 40 secondaries have banned girls from wearing skirts in favour of a gender-neutral uniform for everyone. The future for 11- to 16-year-olds appears to be trousers.

Now Wide Awoke is a massive fan of trousers and all things gender-neutral for moral, aesthetic and practical reasons. In schools, where belief systems are formed and bullying is rife, a gender-neutral uniform policy demonstrates a commitment to equality, the inclusion of transgender and non-binary pupils, as well as basic common sense. Try scaling a climbing frame in a knee-length skirt with zero give in it. Or just sitting on the floor with your legs crossed. Now add the low embarrassment threshold of your average secondary school pupil. And a highly sexualised and vaguely threatening atmosphere. Possibly a period. See what I mean?

Yet a gender-neutral uniform policy does not require a ban on skirts. Greater inclusion for all should never come with a cost of narrowing choice for some. School uniform should be about individual choice and expression rather than – surprise, surprise – the policing of girls. What message is a ban on skirts really sending? One more about blame than equality.

Source: Banning school skirts is a dangerous trend. Here’s what we should do instead | Life and style | The Guardian

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