Saturday, 10 December 2016

No cleavage, girls

Queen's University, Belfast, has attracted angry protests after telling graduating students to avoid short skirts and cleavage and dressing like Kim Kardashian. "Graduation is a formal event and the dress code should match this."

Politics student Sarah Wright criticised the "outrageous" advice to women graduates. "The focus should be on their achievements, not on moralising regarding what they choose as adults to wear to celebrate the occasion."

Well, yes, surely the point of the day is that students have graduated. What has their choice of clothing to do with graduating? Why should they dress like management consultants? Why shouldn't they wear what they feel comfortable in? If some people are bothered by short skirts and cleavage, that's their problem.

Presumably the university is worried about its reputation and thinks over-casual clothing creates the wrong "image". It seems to me that telling students how to dress and how not to dress doesn't do much for their image either.

And if the university is really concerned about its reputation, perhaps they should do something about the students living nearby who subject local residents to drunken rampages and abuse every day of the week. The constant complaints about student behaviour are met with an indifferent shrug of the shoulders from the university.

When I walk past the university on graduation day, I don't give a monkeys what the graduates are wearing. If they have afros and three-inch heels, so what? They can turn up in bikinis for all I care. I'm just glad people can study for degrees in subjects that interest them and improve their future prospects.

I have to confess I had no clothing dilemmas when I graduated. I never got that far. I dropped out of my incredibly uninspiring degree course after a year and became a bookseller instead.

Pic: Chloe Lamont, an English and Film graduate at Queen's


Rummuser said...

Don't students have to wear those dreary gowns and the flat top caps while receiving their degrees during convocation anymore? Like the image in this article?

Bijoux said...

Yes, I too was thinking that the cap and gown covers their clothing anyway.

I wish someone had talked about appropriate attire when my kids were inducted into National Honor Society in high school. Most of the girls were dressed as though they were going clubbing, not ready to receive an honor in front of their parents and teachers. And yes, I guess that makes me sound old.

Ursula said...

You say you don't care, Nick. So why even write about the subject?

There is a time and a place for everything. And whilst, in principle, I do agree that it doesn't matter what someone wears - fact is: IT DOES. What you wear sets a signal to the observer. It's why you don't wear a bikini to a funeral, it's why worriers of old smeared their faces in blood and earth, and it's why my son who does have very very very long blond locks to die for ties his hair in the neatest of neat styles, tucked away I don't know where, most days (not all) when he goes to the office.

Laissez-faire is fine. Up to a point. Faux laissez-faire? Sorry, Nick.


Mike said...

I'm surprised the students aren't traumatized and provided with councilors. Oh my word, they are actually expected to comply with some sort of standards for the graduation ceremony? Poor snowflakes!

In most work situations, they will be expected to meet some sort of minimum standards of attire. Are they going to protest then?

I would have happily met any dress requirements asked of me at graduation. However, I got my degree as a non-traditional student in my 40s attending university classes on weekends at an air force base 75 miles from here. The actual University that provided those classes was even further away, up in southern Missouri. I didn't attend any graduation ceremonies.

kylie said...

It's sexist of me and old fashioned but i really dont think teeny skirts and boobs hanging out are the look to go for on graduation (or any other day)
Having said that, I dont think the university has the right to make suggestions.

I like to have control over who sees my body and how much of it so I have always been conservatively dressed.

Isn't it interesting that the graduating men are seen to be sexy through their intelligence or potential to earn and wield power but the women who are equally qualified still rely on their physical appearance to feel attractive

Nick said...

Ramana: They're expected to wear gowns but not caps. One or two of the staff choose to wear caps. Goodness knows what caps have to do with graduation! According to Wikipedia, the cap or mortarboard is believed by scholars to be based on the biretta, a similar hat worn by Roman Catholic clergy. So it's actually more religious than academic.

Nick said...

Bijoux: Jenny said the same, that the gowns tend to cover whatever's underneath anyway. And if people want to attend in what looks like clubbing gear, why shouldn't they? I'm not sure why it's known as an honour either. It's simply a qualification you've earned through some serious study.

I wouldn't say you sound old - it's just a difference of opinion!

Nick said...

Ursula: I don't know about old fashioned. As I said to Bijoux, it's a matter of opinion. Sexist maybe - why shouldn't students decide for themselves what they want to wear? Why the necessity for formal dress?

Yes, of course dress codes are appropriate in some situations. Certain clothing is called-for in the workplace. And it would be pretty crazy to wear a bikini at a funeral. But it seems to me that formal dress for graduation is simply a pointless tradition.

Nick said...

Mike: I think they've already complied with strict standards by acquiring the necessary knowledge and skills to obtain a degree. And this isn't the workplace, this is simply a ceremony to hand over official qualifications.

If people are happy to comply with a detailed dress code, fine. But if you'd rather wear something different, why not? You're not meeting Her Majesty the Queen, you're only picking up a piece of paper.

Nick said...

Kylie: Well, as you say, what gives the university the right to "suggest" what graduates should wear? Why shouldn't they decide for themselves how much of their body to conceal or reveal?

Indeed, men's intelligence, earning power etc is more highly rated than their physical attractiveness, while with women it's usually the other way round. And no matter how brilliant a woman is, she'll still be criticised for her poor dress sense. The British scientist and neurologist (Baroness) Susan Greenfield comes to mind.

Nick said...

Ursula: Oops, you never suggested you might be old-fashioned or sexist, that was Kylie. Ignore my replies!

Wisewebwoman said...

Can't understand the tither about this apart from pushing the women into more outrageous clobber to stress a point.

Nick said...

www: Indeed, all a big fuss over nothing, if you ask me. The degree certificate should be the point of the day, not people's choice of clothing.

Anonymous said...

OMG..This University has nothing better to do than tell female students how to dress for a graduation ceremony. What a poor intellectual level. Bushmen live naked and bury their members naked.I am so thankful to have grown up far away of all this society codes.
Mia More

Nick said...

Mia: Exactly. You'd think the university would be focusing on the quality of its teaching and not the clothes its students are wearing. Bushmen have got the right idea, not seeing anything wrong with the naked body!

Ursula said...

It's ok, Nick. Considering that comments to your post came in thick and fast I'll forgive you. "Old fashioned" and "sexist" don't enter my vocabulary.

I can only reiterate that - never mind the free spirit I fancy myself to be - decorum does play an important part in society. And that applies to both men and women. On which note I'd say that women have far more room to play where men are tied to ties, suits and black tie. You know those invitations you get? Stipulating dress code? Anything from (see above) tie, tie and tie to "smart casual". The Ritz (London) will provide you (man) with a tie should you come in for afternoon tea untied. Well, Nick, there you are. Insert big smile (on my part). University, graduation, whatever, that this does even need to be spelled out constitutes (a minor) tragedy.

Fine and dandy, yours,


Nick said...

Ursula: But this has nothing to do with decorum - it's simply a presentation of degree certificates. The graduates could just receive their certificates in the post, for goodness sake. The only reason for a formal ceremony is so everyone can show off and swank around.

As for ties, I think you know my view by now. I think ties are obsolete and pointless and don't demonstrate smartness, professionalism, respect for the dead or anything else. They're just annoying bits of cloth which get in your soup and get caught in doors. How they've lasted so long I can't imagine.

Hattie said...

This is an old, old complaint I've heard, going back, actually to my 7th grade graduation. We were 12! People were complaining that some of the little girls were dressed like "floozies." No wonder we all raised so much hell as soon as we got the chance!

CheerfulMonk said...

I'm afraid I wouldn't have been bothered because I've always been a stick in the mud/conservative dresser. And my first reaction now was, "Don't they wear the gowns any more?"

Nick said...

Hattie: Dressed like floozies? Goodness, whatever next? And what did that mean? Short skirts, garish lipstick? How outrageous!

Jean: They do wear gowns, but not the caps. And if you can find a gown that actually fits you, you're lucky!

Jenny Woolf said...

How prim and proper of Queens indeed! Oh dear, oh dear.

Nick said...

Jenny: Prim and proper is right. Why does picking up a certificate require "respectable" clothing?

kylie said...

I feel chastened that old fashioned and sexist enter my vocabulary but not Ursulas!

Nick said...

Kylie: He he! I'm surprised you're so censorious. Wouldn't you just want your graduating offspring to enjoy the ceremony and wear whatever adds to the enjoyment?

kylie said...

of course i would want them to wear what they like!

I'm not really censorious (at least not in a prudish way) but i think that people are lazy and if they see a pretty girl with a nice figure a lot of them will assume she is only that. The whole question is a bit irrelevant for me now but I always wanted people to see the totality of who I am and I want the same for my daughters.

Nick said...

Kylie: I would have thought men see women in a certain way regardless of what they're wearing. I doubt if it makes much difference if they're wearing formal clothes or casual clothes.

tammy j said...

I shouldn't even join in with this modern tempest in a teapot. I'll be going out on a limb here compared to the others.
on one level I am a romantic traditionalist.
in the sense that I don't see certain graduation attire as 'rules or regulations' but more like a beloved tradition.

on the other hand I love the freedom with which I dress every day for any occasion.

on the other hand I am sick to death of IN YOUR FACE thumbing their nose of manners and simple thoughtfulness of most never all of course... young people today.
like the ones you mentioned that none of your commenters even addressed... "the drunken rampages and abuse every day of the week."
I don't give a flip what they wear.
I just wish SOMEBODY was getting through their thick heads the realization that they are NOT the be all end all supreme gift to the human race that they THINK they are.

Nick said...

Tammy: I'm surprised nobody else has mentioned the daily drunken mayhem. To my mind that's far more important than what clothes women graduates choose to wear. Local residents have been under siege literally for years but they're just supposed to put up with it.