In my post on language and misogyny I wrote that I’d constantly received jibes (from teachers) about not wearing skirts. This was as a sixth-former, when we were allowed to wear what we liked. Anna commented that this was restricted to school uniform now (although I was beyond uniform!) and noted the delightful example of the boy who wore a skirt to school.
But skirts are de rigueur for girls at posh schools, it seems. Every day I see Bede’s girls in silly, mini-ish skirts – and they all have long hair too; I saw a Bede’s girl with short hair the other day and nearly crashed, such was my surprise. There’s a photo of Magdalen sixth-formers in today’s Torygraph with all of the boys in trousers and the two girls in mini-skirts. In this weather! They also had distressingly impractical slip-on shoes and, of course, the regulation long hair.
I’m sure that they would argue that they like skirts and it really is their choice. But I am not so sure. It’s the prevailing fashion; a fashion set many years ago, that even 50 years of women’s lib have not shifted. Skirts are still the Proper dress for women. As a teenager, you’ve got to be sure of your sex and sexuality if you’re going to wear trousers – at least if you’re of the Country-Life-reading classes.
Why spend thousands on your daughter’s education if she is just going to conform unquestioningly to the social stereotype that puts women as physical/ sexual objects first and foremost? Why pay to develop her brain if she is not going to challenge the brain-numbing of women?
Skirts are symbolic of the disempowerment of women. It’s time that they were thrown out of school.