Dress is a personal choice
I would like to comment on an article (“Wenzao college addresses issue of student dress code,” April 6, page 2).
A note recently posted on the gates of Wenzao Ursuline College of Languages in Greater Kaohsiung said students could not wear slippers, hot pants or revealing clothing to school. Some students complained that the college had no right to decide what they wore. This made me think whether it is suitable that a school interferes with college students’ apparel.
I think that although some students may wear inappropriate clothes to school, the college administration has no right to interfere with their clothing choices. College students are adults. They have already cultivated a personal style and thought about whether they want to show off their curves. Even if they dress in hot pants or wear revealing clothing, they are old enough to take responsibility for their behavior. It is important to give students the freedom to express their own sense of style. Other countries also have missionary schools and different kinds of teachers, but these foreign schools do not forbid students from wearing hot pants, slippers and revealing clothing; they can even sunbathe in swimsuits. If we can accept different cultures, then why not different clothing styles? Nothing is set in stone, so why can people not turn conservative views into progressive views?
I think we should give more freedom to students to develop their own style, rather than prohibiting them from wearing slippers and hot pants. We have to break free from conservative thinking and think about why foreigners can accept revealing clothing and we cannot.
I remember my French teacher saying that when he attended college, the students at his school were always dressed formally. So when he came to teach at Wenzao College, he was shocked by how casually dressed Taiwanese students were. The typical dress style involves a vest, shorts and flip-flops. He mentioned that if French students dared to dress like this, they risked being beaten up because it was considered very impolite and rude to dress this way in public.
In my opinion, school is a formal environment. College students are already adults; they should understand the need to dress in a manner suitable to the occasion. College students enjoy the freedom to wear what they want; the school cannot punish students because of their clothes or force them to wear something else. Of course, students can wear casual clothes, but it is definitely better to dress up.
However, I also put myself in the students’ shoes to understand their point of view. The weather in Taiwan is sweltering, especially in Kaohsiung. It is an inescapable fact that students love to wear skimpy outfits, but girls wearing hot pants or revealing clothing on campus is still inappropriate.
I think I can offer some suggestions for handling this problem: For example, the school should treat Taiwanese and foreign students equally. They must post an English version of the dress code notice to promote this. If students fail to adhere to it, the school is better off giving oral warnings instead of punishing the offenders. After all, not every student wears flip-flops on campus, but girls do need to mind the length of skirts or shorts.
As for girls who wear revealing clothing, they can cover themselves with a coat or simply wear them when not in school. The best solution is for both sides to meet each other halfway.