Sooo… dress codes. Yes, again. I’m not even sorry. *cue evil grin*
The thing that confuses me is very straightforward. What, in the name of all that is holy, is wrong with knees and shoulders? Why should we have to hide them and why is it only girls that are told to? Knees, obviously, are mostly becoming less of a problem in the real world, but schools still line girls up against walls to measure their skirts with a ruler to make sure they are not deemed to far above the knee. They even check in the later school years, telling all the girls to stand up in the morning and sending them home if their skirts were shorter than deemed appropriate. For tall girls this can be a nightmare, as skirts that fit their waist just aren’t long enough. As if that wasn’t humiliating enough, I remember being publicly berated by a teacher at age 13 because my skirt was deemed a centimetre or two too short, meaning that my mother had to buy me another immediately. School uniform is expensive, so the policy is unfair on parents as well as girls. I started wearing trousers shortly after that, and can’t help but wonder if it played a role in my discomfort and self consciousness when wearing skirts.
Shoulders, too, are often deemed inappropriate in schools as well as workplaces. Despite it being hard nowadays to find smart girls tops that aren’t blouses but have a decent sleeve, this is what is expected of us. At work I have given up on this, and just wear a shirt, blazer and black trousers. It’s easier that way. Stories about this periodically come up in the news, never with a good explanation for either the rule or the social expectation. Sometimes weak claims about it being sexual are made, but as far as i can tell no one has ever looked at a shoulder and gone “oooh i mist have it!”. It makes no sense, and tells women and young girls to be ashamed of their bodies, as if adverts, books and television didn’t do enough of that already.
So thanks a lot society, now kindly fuck off.