Don't impose dress codes

Kamloops Daily News
February 6, 2013 01:00 AM

Imagine how terrible it would be to live in a country where government employees could tell you what you could or could not wear - a country like Iran or Saudi Arabia or Canada.

Canada? Yes, Canada - even Kamloops.

For a couple of years now we've resigned ourselves to allowing school officials decree that girls are not allowed to wear tops with spaghetti straps.

The next step might be a ban on leggings and yoga pants. Both have a body-clinging fit, and have been declared by St. Boniface Diocesan High School in Winnipeg to be a distraction that is not allowed.

The "distraction" argument has been used in other places as well. Women are expected or forced to wear veils and loose-fitting clothing in some countries because their bodies might distract men from a life of piety.

When Islamic extremists took over northern Mali, the women were forced to cover up. Here's how they reacted to liberation by French troops:

"Women wore vibrantly coloured African prints and bared their midriffs, their arms and their backs, after nearly a year of being forced to wear a colourless, all-enveloping veil. They danced as men played the drums - a loud, raucous celebration after months of privation," according to The Associated Press.

Would Kamloops girls exposing their midriffs in this manner be tolerated at our schools? Likely not.

At Brock Middle School, for example, they would be asked to cover up, change or go home. Here's the policy:

"Clothing must cover underwear, cleavage, bottoms and midriffs. Skirts must be no shorter than mid-thigh."

Before things go too far, let's take a hard look at how much we need government employees telling us how to live our lives. We're a long, long way from the restrictions seen in Iran or Saudi Arabia, but why would we even want to head in that direction?

If girls, women, daughters and parents freely decide among themselves that certain clothes are too trashy and that they shouldn't be worn, then so be it.

That's their choice. Just leave the bureaucrats out of it.


© Kamloops Daily News

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