Alice Baines

This was a few years ago when I was still at colleague. Because we didn’t have a uniform at the time, we got a new dress code and we had to sit in a special assembly whilst the head of post-16 went through it. Any rules that were aimed at a specific gender, were all aimed at girls. Girls couldn’t wear strappy tops. Girls couldn’t wear shorts, dresses or skirts that were a certain amount above the knee. There were no rules saying Boys couldn’t do this. Boys couldn’t wear that. I was fairly tall and fairly long legged. So most things looked shorter on me than other girls. One day I got pulled up for wearing shorts that were deemed ‘too-short’. I had thick tights on and the shorts were, oddly enough, a lot longer than most of the denim hot pants that were in the shops at the time. I mentioned to the teacher that several boys had been walking round with football shirt and trousers hanging halfway down their bums (two things not allowed) and I asked why they were allowed to wear those when I was being criticised for shorts I’d been wearing for years. I got told “we aren’t talking about them now. We are talking about your clothing.” I mentioned because of my height it was nearly impossible to find anything that met the length requirements and I didn’t have the money to re-buy my entire wardrobe which is what I would have to do to have clothes that were long enough. I just got told the dress code was there to ensure we dressed appropriately and didn’t distract anyone and that was it. Many of my girl friends got pulled up for their clothing. But, as far as we could tell, the boys never did.