Kids in Australia go back to school this week (no doubt with many parents popping champagne bottles) and with that comes the usual stress of preparing for another school year. While we don’t have kids ourselves, my husband’s cousin posted on Facebook that she’d mistakenly ordered a girl’s uniform for her son.
I can just imagine the sinking feeling in her stomach when she opened the uniforms and how unimpressed her son would have been by his mum’s error. What struck us though was how sad it is that there is no chance that, with this situation, her son could just go in that uniform. It fits. It’s a school uniform. So what’s the problem?
I’m by no means saying that he should go in a uniform he doesn’t want to wear but isn’t that part of the point? Freedom to choose what you want to wear and express yourself the way you feel most comfortable?
I imagine there are plenty of transgender kids who will be starting school this week and wishing they were wearing the ‘girl’s’ uniform or the ‘boy’s’ uniform. Instead, they’ll be forced to put on the shorts or the skirt, meanwhile longing to do just the opposite.
One uniform rule?
It’s such a sad thing that clothes become prisons and imbued with such heavy meaning when, at the base level, they’re there to keep us warm or from getting sunburnt.
I remember when the girls at my Catholic high school were finally allowed to wear slacks as part of their winter uniform. It was a welcome relief for many of them as they were spared from having to wear skirts and long stockings.
Some still chose to wear them but they at least had a choice, even if it was within the narrow confines of ‘female fashion’. The boys on the other hand…well, the skirts were ugly, though I did think the blue dresses they wore for summer weren’t that bad. Better than our khaki shorts and shirts, that’s for sure.
Perhaps one day it won’t be an issue what anyone wears at school and the only rule will be something like it can’t be too revealing, or it has to be neat and presentable. Jaden Smith seems to be upsetting a few stereotypes with his fashion choices but whether that eventually makes it more acceptable for kids who aren’t famous remains to be seen. We can hope though.
In the meantime, give a thought for the transgender kids who’ll have to confirm that little bit more when they go back to school this week.