A mum has turned to the Internet to ask why in 2017 school uniform is still gendered.
Lucy Rycroft-Smith, a former maths teacher and now a full-time writer/researcher penned a blog for TES asking why girls’ uniforms must be “less practical and less comfortable simply because they have a vagina?”
“Boys have strong, waterproof shoes and girls have diamante ballet flats. It’s time to tackle the ridiculous gender divide in school uniform,” the mum-of-two writes.
“I’ve been having some conversations with my children about why their options are restricted – and often inferior – because they both happen to have vaginas,” she continues.
“This, my friends, is 2017 and it must simply stop. Schools must stop with the gendered uniform lists; shops must stop with the gendered clothing and shoe sections; and, above all, our children should stop thinking that their gender differences are the most important feature they have.”
The writer goes on to list some of the reasons why she believes school uniform needs to stop being gendered including the fact that gender is not binary or determined by sex at birth and the fact that in having gendered uniforms it assumes boys and girls act differently.
“Why else would boys have large, roomy pockets and girls have none? Why else would boys have strong, waterproof shoes and girls have diamante ballet flats?” she asks.
“If we want to start allowing our pupils to express who they are, regardless of gender norms – if we want the girls to feel it’s OK to play football and the boys to feel its OK to do crochet, as of course we should – then we need to stop dressing them differently.”
Now, Rycroft-Smith is calling for schools to make their uniform policy gender-neutral. “Schools: make your uniform policy gender-neutral. Parents: prioritise your child’s comfort and confidence, and to hell with the labels; ask, pester and protest about the school’s uniform policy,” she says.
The mum also started a Twitter thread about the subject, which received a huge response from other parents.
“Yes! A woman in Clarks refused to sell me some dinosaur shoes for my daughter because ‘they’re boys shoes’,” one parent wrote.
“There is an obsession in schools with uniform. Boys have asked me, seriously, if they can wear skirts in hot weather. I don’t see why not,” added another.
“We are supposed to bring up children to learn to say No. Then dominate and gender label them. Love this thread, food for thought,” another user wrote.
This isn’t the first time that issues surrounding gender and school uniform have made headlines recently. Last week, a mum ignited a debate after turning to the Internet for advice when her daughter was told not to ‘pull up’ her tights in front of male teachers.
Meanwhile, a secondary school headteacher also sparked outrage by allegedly telling female students they should only wear leggings to school if they’re a size zero or two (a size four and six in the UK).
And boys at Exeter’s ISCA Academy recently wore skirts to protest the school’s no-shorts rule during a heatwave, while a four-year-old boy’s mum was shocked to have him sent home for his long hair in Texas.
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