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Boys in Britain Try to Stay Cool…by Wearing Skirts

Boys in Britain Try to Stay Cool…by Wearing Skirts

I went to a Catholic elementary school. We didn’t have uniforms, but we did have a strict no-shorts-in-church dress code. Girls, of course, could wear skirts, but the boys had to wear pants, no matter how hot it was. (Unless you happened to be my brother, who brazenly rolled up his trousers when it got too hot).

The unfairness of the skirt-pants dichotomy didn’t really strike me then, but it definitely occurred to a group of high school boys in Wales who recently found themselves suffering during a heat wave. (“Heat wave” being relative, of course — 86 degrees? Psh. What amateurs).

Like at the Catholic school where I spent my formative years, boys at Whitchurch High School in Cardiff†have to wear pants, while the girls get a slight reprieve from the heat by wearing skirts. However, a group of grade 10 boys at the school refused to take this lying down, so†they organized to protest the shorts ban…by wearing skirts.

According to the Mirror:

Protester Tyrone Evelyn, 15, of Bala Road in Whitchurch, said the group would continue campaigning for a change.

He said: ďItís just appropriate for the weather Ė we donít want to be hot and bothered. Over the last few days Iíve had a few headaches and skin irritations because Iíve been too hot.

ďGirls can wear skirts, so I donít see why we canít wear shorts. Itís a reasonable protest.Ē

It really is a reasonable protest, and this isn’t the first time men have worn skirts to protest dress codes. In Sweden, male train conductors wore skirts to protest a rail company’s dress code that allowed women to choose between pants and skirts, but only allowed men to wear pants. A similar protest went on at Gowerton Comprehensive in Swansea, as well.

Some of the boys and their parents were interviewed in this video from The Telegraph:

The Swedish train conductors won their demands, but the Welsh boys haven’t. At least, not yet.

But I think these protests highlight something more interesting. Maybe the question shouldn’t be, why can’t the kids just wear shorts? Instead maybe it should be, why are clothes so gendered? Why is it that society requires that men put each leg in its own tube of fabric, while women can just put their entire bottom half in one tube?

Let’s take the ambient temperature of the environment out of it. What do we find so threatening about a man in a skirt? We don’t find a woman in pants to be any particular threat (at least, not anymore). We’ve arbitrarily, over time, decided that skirts are for girls. And, let’s be honest, being called a girl is basically the worst thing you can call a boy. (There aren’t a lot of pejorative terms for men that aren’t denigrating women in some form. Think about it). In an ideal world, boys wearing skirts to school wouldn’t raise any eyebrows at all.

That said, man, summer sucks and shorts are the best. I hope those boys win their right to be cool.

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Photo Credit: Thinkstock

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276 comments

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7:06PM PDT on Aug 14, 2013

Everyone should be allowed to dress appropriately for the weather. Gender should not play a role. As long as the attire is not too revealing or distracting, it should be allowed in all countries, schools and work places. When I go shopping whether it be at a grocery store, department store or any other type of store, I see people dressed many ways and no one cares what they are wearing, so why should schools be any different?

1:20PM PDT on Aug 7, 2013

Brittany E.: Usually is is INDEED money issue...the lack of A/C.

I hope the boys eventually win.

3:40PM PDT on Aug 5, 2013

What is the problem the students wear shorts? By chance this will hinder learning?

9:06PM PDT on Aug 4, 2013

There is nothing wrong with male students wearing shorts that fit properly without sagging, being to short, to big or to small or any other type of lower body apparel just like females students.

3:35AM PDT on Aug 4, 2013

Thanks for sharing.

6:32PM PDT on Aug 3, 2013

i'm not sure what the problem is about wearing shorts. what's the big deal? Just let the boys wear it!

I also agree with Brittany E.: i don't understand why schools don't have a/c either. growing up, going to high school, there was no a/c and it was so hot! there'd be 30 students stuck in a stuffed-up classroom, with a fan blowing while the rest were just melting away...

12:21AM PDT on Aug 3, 2013

thank you for publishing this article.

10:49PM PDT on Aug 1, 2013

I've never understood why schools don't have a/c--well, except for the offices, teacher's lounge, and the library (in my experience). Oh, and some of the annex buildings had window units. Is it because most have limited sessions going during the summer or is it simply a money matter?

I'm pro-uniforms & think that long shorts (to the knee) (& not sagging down with your underwear or boxers hanging out!), and a polo shirt are appropriate for summertime school sessions. Perhaps the option of the trousers/shorts pants that zip/unzip at the knee could be a sufficient compromise so that if a situation takes place where they absolutely should need to have long pants on, they can quickly go from one to the other.

6:24PM PDT on Aug 1, 2013

Sometimes it is good to stand up for your rights if the establishment are imposing stupid rules. If you don't speak up, you accept the treatment.

6:02PM PDT on Aug 1, 2013

:-D

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