Why Schoolgirls Should Be Given a Choice to Wear Shorts As Part of Their Uniform (or Not)
There has been plenty of discussion over the years about school uniforms. We’ve seen headlines about many a suspension after a school’s strict uniform code was ‘misinterpreted’. There has been at least one petition calling for a school to rethink their uniform policy after a parent took action to allow their child to wear the uniform of the opposite gender.
What kids wear to school has caused debate all over the place. The comments section accompanying such articles have been eye-opening to say the least.
Some people are blaming ‘left-wing media’ for making a big deal out of the gender divide. Others speak of the patriarchy forcing women and girls to sit and look pretty, essentially denying them the fun of running and playing in the schoolyard like their male counterparts. They say it’s about modesty, restriction and tradition.
But why? Why does it need to be this way?
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not calling for uniforms to be ditched entirely. Children need to conform for social and cultural integration. This is important too. This is not about rebelling against conformity and being allowed to express yourself through personal style at 7 years old. It’s about OPTIONS.
So much time and energy is wasted enforcing ridiculous uniform policies for girls. Why not just allow them to wear shorts if they want to? It’s really not that big a deal. Don’t ban things, just improve the range of options for all students.
The schools don’t even need to list separate girl’s and boy’s uniforms, just provide a list of acceptable garments that all children are allowed to choose from. Tunics, shirts, ties, polo shirts, skirts, shorts, skorts, trousers, track pants, jumpers, jackets and hats. It’s all there kids, take your pick!
Our public school has a relaxed uniform code like that. I have provided our four primary school aged children with all elements of their school’s uniform and then wash/dry/iron them as they hit our laundry basket. They then make their own choices each day as to what they feel comfortable in.
My girls wear their tunics for special assemblies and to represent their school at events like debating and the school band. But for a normal school day, they choose their polo shirts and a skort or shorts, just like their brother. (Although he does not own a skort, he’d be mortified at the very thought!)
Another local public primary school is much stricter though, and demand their female students wear heavy plaid woollen skirts or tunics. They do not have the option to wear anything else. The boys can wear polo shirts and shorts though.
Why though? Why?
Why can’t their girls wear shorts like the boys? Who cares? What’s the difference? Just let the children and their families make the choice!
I mean sure, the girls can wear gym pants/scungies/bloomers/netball knickers/whatever-they’re-called-now under their dresses or skirts. But are they really that different to underpants? No, not really. Just navy blue or black instead of pink and purple.
Studies have shown that girls who wear skirts and tunics are not as active as their male classmates because they are more aware of their movements in a dress, lest they accidentally show their underwear.
Would you happily play on the fixed equipment knowing there are children below who might see your underpants? Why are we making our little girls uncomfortable for the sake of enforcing a silly tradition?
I rarely wear a skirt or a dress – only for special occasions like cocktail parties or weddings. And even then they are mostly maxi or tea length. The last time I tried on an above-the-knee skirt I took it off within ten minutes. I don’t feel comfortable with a breeze about my nethers and spent a lot of time with my hands pressed to my thighs in an awkward attempt to keep some modesty. Heaven help me if I bent over. There is no way I’d do any sort of physical activity in a dress or skirt. I do not expect my daughters to either.
Instead of launching fancy campaigns encouraging girls to become more active, how about they just let them wear shorts??
It’s really not that hard.
POLO SHIRTS AND SHORTS FOR ALL!
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