Thursday, September 04, 2014

dress code

So, I had a student show up to class today. Showed up in what amounted to a sports bra with sleeves (very short, very tight t-shirt - you could see her entire midriff) and a pair of shorts that looked like what I'd consider to be a reasonable bottom for a swimsuit. (I THINK they were some kind of lycra fabric; no I did not look very closely)

I don't know if the guys in the class noticed; I wasn't checking reactions. The thing is....that's just a little much, in my opinion, for a class. Understand most of the students in here show up in jeans and t-shirts, or jeans shorts of a reasonable length (rarely, there is someone in a pair of "Daisy Dukes") and a t-shirt. A few women wear skirts, usually of the maxi type lately, a few students wear those flannel not-quite-pajama-bottoms. So most of the students are fairly covered.

(Also, this is the classroom with the hyperactive air conditioning unit. I "run hot" and I have to bring a cardigan to class with me).

I don't know. That kind of thing (the inappropriate dress) makes me tired. On the one hand, yes, it's not really my business to say anything unless the student was truly violating public decency. But on the other hand, this is someone who is gunning for professional school. I just hope she dresses more professionally (or just plain MORE) when she goes for her interview....

Also, based on some things this student has said before, and based on the slogan buttons she sometimes wears, I suspect my saying something to her about her dress would be taken badly, that I might even be accused of trying to "slut shame" her. (I have no idea of her sexual proclivities or level of activity and frankly do not care).

As I said, this kind of thing makes me tired. This is someone wearing the most LOOK AT ME clothes possible, but I suspect if the guys in class WERE ogling her, there might be complaints. And I admit, I get really tired of people doing things to be 'transgressive' in some way and then complaining when people react negatively to them.

I don't know. I hope that she has a slightly more extensive wardrobe that will come out when it gets cooler outside....

I will say there are the occasional articles of masculine dress that bug me. I don't like t-shirts with sexual innuendo messages on them (Thank goodness that stupid "Big Johnson" t-shirt fad died years back). I don't like the really tight "muscle shirts," though men rarely wear them to class. Or the shirts that have the whole side seam essentially ripped out (and are sleeveless), so you see the entire armpit area on a guy. Again, I don't say anything but I find some of those things kind of distasteful.

I will say if I ever have a student in a lab I am teaching, especially one involving hazardous chemicals or boiling water, they will be asked to cover up.....I might even go to my office and get the giant old t-shirt I have advertising a now-defunct student club and give it to them to wear. Because I don't want to deal with an "accident report" for a student who got scalded on her belly because she had exposed bare skin in lab. (or the same for the armpit guys.)

1 comment:

Kate P said...

Interesting. I had a dress code at the first college I attended, and that was for both classes AND certain campus events. In a way I think it did help me figure out what was appropriate to wear for job interviews and working. Not to mention other life events like funerals. And, you know, I already had the stuff in my closet.

Nowadays, it seems the dress code is rarely enforced at work (fear of harassment lawsuits or something?) except at my previous school, where it was used to pick on people. Seriously.