Dress codes almost always suck.

Last week, a group of seventeen boys marched up and down Cardiff, Wales’s Whitchurch High School’s hallways chanting, “We want to wear shorts."

They did so while wearing skirts.

In the midst of a heat wave in the United Kingdom, 15-year-old Tyrone Evelyn and his friends took drastic measures to feel more comfortable in school. Whitchurch High School’s dress-code strictly enforces that male students wear pants, regardless of the weather, and shorts are firmly not allowed -- the school's dress code reads, "Trousers are compulsory for boys and optional for girls. These must be full length and plain black."


This is not the first time that boys have worn skirts in order to express opposition to an overly restrictive school dress code, and every time it happens, I find myself with newfound hope for the world.

Dress codes suck. They almost always suck.

Even worse, they are often illogical, uncomfortable and discriminatory, especially when applied differently to men and women.

Girls can wear skirts but boys can’t wear shorts?

Boys are required to wear a tie but girls are not?

Men are required to wear a sports jacket to dinner but women are not?

Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

Dress codes are often imposed by authorities who believe that physical appearance will change the way individuals think or behave. They are almost always imposed as an artificial means of promoting conformity or authority in a population.

It’s nonsense.

Dress codes are akin to the idea that the use of titles like mister or doctor in schools or the workplace establishes a certain level of respect for authority figures. It’s an idea typically supported by employers, managers, administrators and teachers who have difficulty earning respect through authentic means and believe that titles and dress codes will assist them in this endeavor.

They don’t. 

If I ever need the title mister or need to force my male students to wear long pants in order to earn their respect, send me out to pasture.

The idea that something as complex as respect could be earned, even a little bit, through a title or an article of clothing is ludicrous, and yet people continue to buy into it all the time.    

I love those skirt-clad boys. They are my latest band of superheroes. They began their protest more than a week ago, and as of today, it continues.

Good for them. I hope they don’t stop wearing skirts until the rule is changed or until they are handed their diploma while wearing a skirt.

Who do you respect me?

The boy wearing the prescribed trousers and adhering to the school’s dress code or the boy protesting the nonsensical dress code by wearing a skirt?