For most students, the last day of school symbolises many things — the end of 12 years of education, the beginning of a new phase, progressing from strict uniforms to more flexible dress codes. College is that time of life where everyone grows into themselves, discovering who they truly are and learning to wear it on their sleeve. The recent directive of a strict dress code for all colleges in Tamil Nadu (across Arts and Science) may change that. This is what city students have to say.
Rajalakshmi Engineering College
If a person's attire is a reflection of one's intellect, then Archimedes’ principle should be considered null and void. He ran out onto the streets naked. While one may argue that protecting one’s modesty is important in preserving the ethics of an educational institution, a dress code may not reflect one’s identity.
The ritual of donning an old pair of jeans and a T-shirt is one that everyone identifies with. Suddenly, the government has a problem with our ritual and so, I must look like I walked out of an interview gone bad. Girls probably have it worse, compulsorily having to wear salwars/saris. The dress code that exists today is tolerable but anything stricter will be pushing the bar too far.
Ajay Ramesh, Loyola
Dictating what we wear is unwarranted and unreasonable on two counts. First, the cost of overhauling one’s wardrobe two months into an academic year is not feasible. Second, Chennai’s climate combined with poorly ventilated and crowded classrooms means that anything other than casual clothing is stifling.
The intention behind this is evidently to bring about basic decency, not to completely curb student freedom. There needs to be a line drawn between decent and ‘vulgar’ attire. However, every college is unique in its own right and hence a universal, rigid rule is not the way forward.
Imposing dress codes may seem like a gross violation of personal freedom on the surface but is in fact the worst form of moral policing. Prohibiting sleeveless tops and expecting women to wear only salwars and saris is not because colleges want professionalism, because if professionalism is what they expect why can’t women wear formal trousers or skirts to colleges? “Dress-code” is just a sexist’s way of saying to a woman, “cover your arms and legs.”
While this generation is talking about taking charge of their lives earlier than ever before, we are being told what to wear! What next? You can eat only greens? Braid your hair to college? How are saris appropriate for college? Chennai never seems to be ready to join more liberal cities.
Keywords: college dress code