**WARNING** Long List of Excuses For Refusing Girls Choice of Pants & Shorts

As 2019 takes off, we’re all still thinking about whether we should make new year’s resolutions and what the year ahead holds.  Here’s a reminder of the reasons we’ve heard for refusing girls the choice of pants and shorts.  If you’ve been thinking about doing something, or been put-off by your school, get in touch and get connected to your state rep.  If you’ve had a success, make sure you let us know, you can inspire others to do the same.   Making sure girls have the choice of pants and shorts for their school uniform is a good action to take up in the new school year. We’re here to support you in your efforts and to let schools know that their excuses are just that, excuses.

Let’s revisit that extremely LONG list of excuses that are given for refusing girls the options of pants and shorts for their everyday school uniform. Let us know if we’ve missed any.  Thanks to our UK Sister organisation, TrousersforAll, for the original call out – we’ve included their followers’ comments here too.  Seeing the ‘reasons’ in black and white shows their absurdity and the huge preoccupation with what girls look like!

*  Categorising is not an exact science, there’s arguments for many reasons to be included in multiple categories. This has been simplified to minimise the tedium.

Need to get used to it / Prepare for the future, looks like:

  • “The girls will go on to private secondary schools and they don’t have the option of short and pants there, so they need to get used to it now.”
  • “It’s good for your daughter to learn to conform … you are just making her life difficult by encouraging this.‬”
  • “The majority of parents are ‘happy’ with the status quo.‬”
  • “You knew this was the uniform policy of the school when you signed up for it”‬
  • “That’s the school uniform policy, they should leave the school if they don’t like it.”
  • “It prepares them for the workplace” or “teaches discipline”
  • “We all have to do things that we don’t want to/dress in ways we don’t want to sometimes”
  • “My daughter had to learn to manage her modesty when she was at school and she turned out fine” = “I didn’t have a problem”

Gender stereotypes, looks like:

  • “Trousers are for boys, skirts are for girls‬.”
  • “If the girls are allowed to wear pants then we’ll have to let the boys wear dresses / skirts‬”
  • “How ridiculous, next you’ll want the boys to wear dresses.”
  • “Girls want to wear dresses and skirts”
  • “Girls don’t want to wear pants or shorts”
  • “Let girls be girls and boys be boys.”
  • “Girls don’t want to run around, they just want to sit around and talk.”
  • “You are trying to make all children look the same, as if they have no gender.”

Obsession with girls’s appearance, looks like:

  • “Pants aren’t as flattering as skirts‬”
  • “This is a conservative school. The parents don’t want girls to wear trousers.” [Parents had never been asked for their opinion)]
  • ‬From a principal: ‘I don’t understand why girls would want to emulate boys’‬
    On that it is about choice and some girls will wear trousers and others continue to wear dresses “it would just not look neat, wouldn’t it”‬‪
  • “The parents here enjoy seeing girls in summer dresses and skirts, It’s become a tradition” ‬[could go under Tradition heading too]
  • “Girls’ trousers often have embellishments which at not in keeping with the school”‬
  • From a parent in charge of coordinating parent feedback to school in response to a request that the girls have a trouser option: “Interesting about trousers, it’s not a 6th Form Suit option either though many women in the workplace choose them. Mind you, the XXX girls who wear them look an absolute sight, hems hanging down, inappropriately clingy etc. And for any girls with larger than average figures, trousers are much less forgiving, skirts can hide quite a lot. It’s hard enough dealing with body image & teenage girls without adding to the angst. And trying to pretend one’s not wearing a pad, when puberty hits, is also harder in trousers most will wear pads at least at the beginning before graduating to tampons”‬ [definitely could go under Bizarre heading too]
  • “Girls look smarter in dresses and skirts”
  • “Girls look very nice in long skirts”
  • “The girls and school community don’t want girls to have shorts and pants or girls love / are comfortable in their skirts and dresses.”
  • “It’s a girls’ school‬” (could go under Tradition and Gender stereotypes)
  • “The girls are running around and playing. The dress is not stopping them.”

Trying to look like a private school /school image, looks like:

  • “We are trying to look like a private school and attract double income parents. We need our girls in dresses and our boys in ties to do that”
  • “Too many options will undermine our image.”
  • “The school needs to maintain it’s elite image.” (compete with other ‘elite’ schools)”
  • “We don’t want too many variations as then the uniforms all just look like a mish mash.”

“Tradition”, looks like:

  • “It’s a traditional school. Maybe it’s not the right school for your daughter.”
  • “Skirts are traditional for women and girls, it empowers them.‬”‪
  • “The school’s tradition is very important and part of that is the school uniform. Girls uniform is skirts in the winter and summer dresses in the summer.‬”
  • “It’s tradition, it’s always been like this”
  • “Our alumni/ parents would not like it/ resist /oppose.”

“No-one’s asked”, looks like:

  • “How do we know it’s not just you who wants this change?”
  • “Why can’t the girls just wear the boys’ shorts / pants”
  • “The governors *won’t pander to a minority*” ‬
  • “We have no plans to introduce trousers for girls.‬”

Uniform supply/cost issues, looks like:

  • “There’s not enough room in the uniform shop.”
  • “Adding shorts and long pants for girls will increase the cost for families.”
  • “The school needs to have a good amount of take-up on shorts and pants for girls to make the production costs to the school uniform supplier viable.”
  • “The school can’t afford it.”
  • “The school needs to clear the current stock of dresses and skirts.”

Bizarre / Ridiculous, looks like:

  • “At my high school we were told that it was more ‘hygienic’ to wear dresses.”‬‪
  • “If we let girls wear trousers, parents would say to us ‘what on earth are you doing?’”‬
    (In reply to the argument that trousers are warm in winter and can help prevent colds and other typical winter ills): “Scientists have demonstrated that the clothes you wear don’t make any impact on whether you get a cold, as long as your nose is covered.”
  • “Tights are as warm as trousers (ignoring cost and itchiness if its ever true). Girls could wear a longer skirt in the cold.‬”
  • “Schools with skirt policies have better results and better image in the community.‬”
  • “Let’s focus on the learning time and not the 40 minutes of playtime in the school day.”
  • “If your daughter is LGBT then she can wear trousers.”
  • “Handstands [and climbing on the monkey bars] is only for primary school girls”
  • “Girls can wear shorts and pants” [*not mentioning it’s only one day a week when there’s sport lessons]
  • “It upsets the principal.”

It would be great to not have to make 2020 the Year of the Pants and Shorts.

#girlswearpantstoo #girlswearshortstoo #2019YearofthePants #2018YearofthePants #2019YearoftheShorts #2018YearoftheShorts #uniformrevolution #choicematters #givegirlschoice