Is school a place for flirting or for learning?
by Jean-Philippe Simard
Bare shoulders, camisoles with spaghetti straps and shorts; yellow square movement instigators and protesters are saying they are hypersexualized by not being able to wear these kinds of clothes. Obviously, they might not be aware that their arguments are not reasonable.
Dress codes in schools are appropriate. Indeed, they draw the right line between a club and a school. The yellow square movement may have a lot of activists, but ultimately, their arguments contradict themselves.
Based on what I know, as an almost graduated student observing the issue, school is a place where you go to class to get education. In fact, schools are built for learning and they should not be considered as a place to mainly make boyfriends or girlfriends. Indeed, one of the main arguments of yellow square activists is that the dress code is not adapted to the raising temperature in classes in schools in general. As much as I know, I collected testimonials from students from École secondaire De Rochebelle, saying that in summer, the girls cannot handle the heat they’re under. Furthermore, these circumstances do not only apply to their school. So, let me ask; is the dress code too restrictive or is the air conditioner a problem? Why do some schools not have this problem? The solution is not in the dress code but in the infrastructures. Let’s get real; people go to school to learn, to go back and forth to their classes and come back home after, not to go to classes taking sexy poses and walk around like they are in a semi-naked trend show. Temperature problems are indeed a first proof that the solution to the yellow square activist’s complaints isn’t in the dress code; could it be a way to show more of their body by blaming the temperature?
Secondly, if the movement activists succeed in such small delays to modify the dress code to their favor, students will most probably abuse their new freedom. Primarily, they are using the “square” symbol, originating from the 2012 Quebec student protests, that lasted months. It’s only been few weeks and activists are expecting a change… Let’s be honest, if girls finally get the right to wear mid-thigh pants, some will try to wear shorts that are even shorter, thinking that because they changed the dress code once they will be able twice — And not only will it be the case with shorts, but with all apparel. We’ve seen it already; girls are trying to wear clothes that are as slim and as short as possible. It is obvious that girls will try to abuse their new freedom and the situation will get out of control.
In addition, comfort at school doesn’t necessarily mean wearing clothes that show off more skin. We all get it, wearing a bra can be itchy and disturbing, but let’s face it; could a girl deal with the harassment she’ll get by exhibiting sharp edges of her breast under her shirt by not wearing a bra? I vigorously believe that she probably would not. Not only do dress codes exist to impose a certain style, but they also exist to protect girls and guys from harassment. I am convinced that by modifying the dress code, the activists are opening doors to this provocation. There are many other ways to get comfortable at school without showing prohibited parts of our body; by wearing looser clothes, like jogging pants or even clothes not stretchy on the skin. Because models do it does not mean that girls should adopt the fashion movement. Girls will not get more comfortable at school by showing more skin, but by wearing more comfortable clothes, isn’t it logic?
Furthermore, if girls had the right to come at school showing off more of their bodies, they would necessarily be more eye-catching. Logically, since they will get more attention and more looks, they will probably go on and claim they are harassed. As much for students as for teachers, it can be difficult time to time to always keep eye contact. Indeed, teachers can suffer consequences from a student claiming they looked at his or her body. It is a logical cause-consequence case. If girls are showing more of their bodies, guys will give them more attention and girls will surely somehow think it is harassment, knowing it is their choice to dress however they want while respecting the code. But still, we don’t know what will happen and this risk isn’t a certainty. Sure, if a change is what girls genuinely want, then I guess they are protesting for the right cause after all.
Ultimately, what girls need to understand is that they are asking for change that will probably make them feel harassed. A school is a place where you learn, where harassment doesn’t have its place, where braless girls with sheer tops don’t either. We can’t even start to imagine the consequences of such a change yet, can you? But maybe after all if it is to much trouble to establish a dress code, should clothes, outfits or uniforms be imposed in all schools, which has many proven benefits?