Can a Boy Wear a Skirt to School?

“This generation is really challenging the gender norms we grew up with,” said Diane Ehrensaft, an Oakland psychologist who writes about gender. “A lot of youths say they won’t be bound by boys having to wear this or girls wearing that. For them, gender is a creative playing field.” Adults, she added, “become the gender police through dress codes.”

The article ” Can a Boy Wear a Skirt to School ” talks about how dress codes in schools can hold teens and children back from expressing their gender preference. Most school have certain criteria that everyone is supposed to follow.  Girls can not wear clothing that is too tight or revealing, and guys can not wear anything that could be gang related or too baggy. When it comes to what clothes violate gender ‘Norms” there is a little more confusion and debate.  A lot of teachers and administrators say that children who cross dress are a distraction to other students, while other teachers say they encourage students to be different.

The author talks about incidences where kids were suspended or forced to go home to change because of the clothes they chose the wear.  One girl had wore a tuxedo for a school picture, because of this the picture was banned from being published in the year book. This is where the big question comes in of are the administrators protecting the students from harassment, or are they the ones harassing. Technically a tuxedo is not against the dress code, just as a boy with a appropriate skirt on is not a violation as well. This is an issue that most school boards have problems with they need to find that medium so it is not being discriminatory, but not giving too much freedom in school.

I do understand where some teachers feel as though if they make it so boys dress like “boys”, and girls dress like “girls” that they may reduce bullying.  Although I feel there is a better way of going about it instead of forcing someone to dress as something they are not.  If schools allow kids to dress as they please maybe this will make other students more accepting of each others preference. Banning cross dressing will only convince society even more that it is completely unacceptable. As long as the student is not dressing in a provocative way, they should have freedom of choice on how to dress.

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/08/fashion/08cross.html?pagewanted=2

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4 Responses to Can a Boy Wear a Skirt to School?

  1. lhitt says:

    I can also understand enforcing a dress code to ensure that no one is dressing provocatively or to the point to where someone is putting themselves at risk for bullying. I, myself, had some questionable styles while I was still finding my own sense of being. Those who simply dress different just because, or based on the sole fact that it will attract attention are those who are ruining it for everyone else. You can always tell when someone is dressing a certain way to be different or to be themselves.

    Bullying would be a major factor to consider, I think, in letting kids in middle and even high school dress a certain way. At my high school, there was a lot of bullying, and those who did dress differently were heavily tormented for it. Granted, when I was around, there was no bullying; however, not everyone will step up to that plate to put an end to unnecessary tormenting and teasing. There are also suicide cases to consider – one male at my high school committed suicide because he couldn’t take anymore bullying from our peers. That was one suicide that was difficult because I knew him well. There were also other cases involving bullying that are not forgotten.

    It’s disappointing that people cannot wear what they want because they are aware that people can’t keep their damn mouths shut. It’s also pathetic that those who do make fun of other people for the way they are and they way that they dress have nothing else to make themselves feel better EXCEPT belittle others.

  2. cjohn162 says:

    Yes, It is as though now you have no choice but to fit it , and go along with was is considered “normal” in order to stay out of harm. I feel that may be reasons why there is such a high suicide rate because of bullying. A lot of the kids being bullied have to live a hidden life , and pretend to be someone who they are not. This can cause them to become extremely unhappy and alone.

  3. caleno23 says:

    I thought this was really interesting to stumble upon because out of complete randomness, I was standing next to my boss and asked him “What would you do if I decided to come to work in a skirt?” And he looked at me puzzled for a second and asked me if I was joking. I asked him this because earlier that day he was talking about “wanting to have a non discriminatory atmosphere”. Then I asked him again and he told me “I would tell you to go home and not come back to work until you put on mens pants.” Even though I have no desire or intention of cross dressing or transgenderism, it bothered me that a man who I respected and felt close to, and who also accepted and supported my sexuality, would discourage me from identifying with my possible true self. I’m hoping he said that because he knows I don’t have those wishes, but part of me still feels he would have that same reaction.
    I feel that I would rather know who I am at an earlier age and be able to confidently express myself, then have to hide behind a facade during the years where self identification is crucial, then have to face the world not really knowing who I am but still having to develop a character I don’t fully comprehend.
    Life is never going to be easy; for children, adolescents or adults. The struggles you face and and the manner of how you approach to find a solution are what really define a person.

  4. dalex019 says:

    I think the best reason to enforce a dress code at school is not only to avoid bullying but to avoid distraction. I think children should be allowed to wear whatever they want in yearbook photos, proms and any other time that is outside of the classroom. I know when I was a teenager what someone was wearing could be a topic of conversation for hours; if a male came to school in a skirt that would have been the topic of conversation for days. In the end I think educators are just trying to do the best they can to keep students minds off of each other and on the task at hand.

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