Saturday, 13 December 2014

Death to uniform.

I have been wearing uniform all my life. From the age of 4 I've gone to school in red, then blue and then finally black. As a primary school child I paid little attention to my uniform. Clothes didn't exactly bother me, I was pretty preoccupied with other important stuff such as who will play mum in today's mums and dads game. Or if you were a child with a slightly overactive imagination like me, who will play the pregnant teenage daughter of the negligent mother in our more modern, more dysfunctional mums and dads game. But more of that later.

The point is, when one's individuality is only just beginning to form it's just simply more practical for the parents to have the same outfit ready everyday. The same goes for the lower years of secondary school, younger minds needn't be bothered with social conformity so conforming in minor ways such as wearing school uniform isn't at all a problem. The problem arises when the scepticism starts to kick in. When the individuality has finally arrived and it suddenly matters a great deal to the hormonal, bad tempered teenager. Suddenly you're being told to do something you most likely despise. To wear an ill fitting, uncomfortable skirt or blazer at the age of fifteen, an age riddled with crippling insecurity, is a little bit like death. One comes to the realisation soon after this age that, perhaps unintentionally or even wholly deliberately, you and all your peers have been trained into a uniform way of living and looking that is apparently the foundations on which the entire business world stands upon. Because then, of course, sixth form comes around and uniforms are abolished. Almost.

This is, for most schools, the pinnacle moment of uniformity. The boys will wear suits and the girls will look smart also. You will all look like lawyers and bankers or you will go home. The rules perhaps are more malleable for the girls, but totally unavoidable for the boys. This is the proper way to look. People will take you seriously like this, even if you have no say in the matter. Even if you'd actually prefer to look like an artist, or a punk, or a goth or any other fashion you can identify with. This is the adult world now, and we must all go forth together banded with ties and cufflinks galore.

Don't dye your hair, don't pierce your body, please wear a tie, do up your top button, wear a black suit, wear a matching skirt and blazer, don't show your shoulders, don't wear ankle boots, make sure your skirt isn't too short or too tight, and please, for the love of god, look the same as everybody else.

Looking your best is important, for most people it is even pleasurable. But everyone's 'best' is not the same, so please stop trying to tell me your made up rules.