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As A Schoolgirl, I Choose To Challenge Gender Bias In School Uniforms

Posted: March 8, 2021

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Skirts, pinafores, and other such school uniforms for girls are uncomfortable and impractical. Why should our genitals determine what we need to wear?

If I’m a doctor, does my coat need to show off my assigned gender at birth? No, right? It’s impractical, irrational and just plain ridiculous, and has nothing to with my work as a doctor! But it seems like a norm in school uniforms.

Why should people assigned female at birth have to suffer through the humiliating ordeals of struggling with our skirts as the wind blows, sitting in uncomfortable positions to make sure we don’t accidentally expose ourselves, and compare our legs to our peers and wonder about how soon do we need to start waxing our legs? Why isn’t our uniform, well… uniform?!

#IChooseToChallege this inequality in girls’ uniforms

I choose to challenge the gender bias that is interwoven into every aspect of our student life — especially our school uniforms.

Our genitals really shouldn’t be representative of what we are forced to wear. It’s simply insane when I put it like that, but that’s exactly what’s going on, isn’t it? A petticoat,  a pinafore and a skirt for the girls, while and pants for the boys?

It’s a school, and  we all are going there for the same purpose! I find it simply ridiculous that a place meant for education, a place for instilling awareness into our youth, upholds such absurd and ludicrous biases that still lay present in the very fabric of society.

A student is a student, and a school uniform better well be uniform. It should simply serve the purpose of indicating your place of education, and gender has no place in that. It should simply be practical, easy to wash and wear, and look decent. Even jeans and a tee could do the job perfectly fine! Can you imagine the misery of gender non-conforming students, forced to wear a uniform that simply doesn’t represent… me.

What about ‘uniform’ requirements in hair?

Extending it from just clothes, why are there separate rules for boys and girls about their hair? I mean, it’s just hair! Let people do what they want with their bodies, why separate it based on gender?! The pandemic has proven so many boys would just like to wear their hair long, while it is the school rules that make them cut it short!

It’s simply ridiculous when you look at it from a critical lens, why specify girls should wear black ribbons or clips or hairbands? if neatness is the requirement, why can’t the rule read ‘hair needs to be pulled back away from the face and maintained in a neat, manageable, presentable format’?

Especially when most schools would love to call themselves inclusive, isn’t this a very simple basic way to allow each student to be comfortable in their own skin, every day for almost 12 years of their lives?

So I choose to challenge gender bias in school uniforms, by reaching out to schools and spreading the word to atleast let the awareness seep in on how much gender bias is programmed into our lives.

Let our uniforms be uniform!

#IChooseToChallenge blogathon: Each one of us can choose to challenge what we see as wrong around us. And here’s a small beginning we propose.

In this IWD 2021 blogathon, we called for your stories of how you would choose to challenge the regressive mindsets around, the injustice you see or are a survivor of, and call out sexism and gender bias. Of how you would take steps towards celebrating women (under this generic ‘women’, we include cis women, trans women, and non-binary persons) and their achievements more. Of how you would choose to challenge the oppression of those marginalised, or the violence you as a survivor, face.

Janani Balaji‘s is the second of the best 3 entries, and wins an Amazon voucher worth Rs 500.

Image source: a still from the film Hichki

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I am Janani Balaji. A grade 10 student, 15 years old and passionate about writing

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