This morning, through the hustle & bustle of trying to get Oliver bathed and dressed ready for preschool I found a few minutes spare to browse through my Facebook news feed. Unfortunately I came across an update from "This Morning" which drew me in when I saw the name of our local high school within the text.
Trentham High School have made the decision to ban female pupils wearing skirts from September. Why? You may ask....wait for it....
Trentham High School are banning female pupils from wearing skirts because male members of staff find it unpleasant and also a distraction.
The way this has been worded immediately makes you jump to the conclusion that the male teachers at Trentham High are sexual predators who are distracted by young females in skirts. I find it highly irresponsible of the school to have given these reasons to justify the ban.
In reality, the distraction most likely comes from teachers, both male AND female having to constantly remind female pupils to roll their skirts down after hitching them up, hence interrupting lesson time. That's fair enough.
However, the School has openly stated that distraction comes from male teachers and pupils having to watch girls walk upstairs and sit down, wearing a short skirt. By stating this in their reasons for banning skirts they have immediately conveyed a social message to the female pupils within the school.
Let's think about what we are teaching our future female generation here by giving these reasons to ban skirts as uniform. We are teaching them that despite the constant battles that women have undertook over the many years, we STILL do not have gender equality. We are teaching them that victim blaming and sexual objectification is perfectly fine in 2015 and if you are met with sexually inappropriate behaviour or worst case scenario, you are raped, then it's probably your fault because you were wearing a skirt.
School is for learning. Our children don't just learn academically, they learn socially, psychologically, emotionally. At the ages 11-16 females are going through a pivotal point in their development. Are we really going to normalise despicable societal attitudes to gender and sexuality?
This doesn't just affect female pupils, but also males. What example is being set here for them?
As a mother, and a woman I disappointed by the whole scenario. Surely an adaption of uniform could have taken place, such as replacing skirts with pinafores, rather than banning skirts completely?
Or if there really was no other option but to ban skirts, could they really not have given reasons for this without sexualising young women, potentially putting male staff at risk by using their gender as a reason as to why they are distracted?
What are your thoughts?