Social Implications of School Uniforms on Gender

There are several positive and negative social implications of uniforms on both the students wearing them and society as a whole.

Perceptions of masculinity and femininity
One of the criticisms of uniforms is that it imposes standards of masculinity and femininity from a young age. Uniforms are considered a form of discipline that schools use to control student behavior and often promote conventional gendered dress. Boys often are required to wear trousers, belts, and closed-toe shoes and have their shirts tucked in at all times. They are also often required to have their hair cut short. Some critics allege that this uniform is associated with the dress of a professional business man, which, they claim, gives boys at a young age the impression that masculinity is gained through business success. For girls, some uniforms promote femininity by requiring girls to wear skirts. Skirts are seen by some critics as a symbol of femininity because they restrict movement and force certain ways of sitting and playing.

Sexualization of girls
Uniforms often start to increase in popularity around middle school in the United States, when students begin going through puberty. Uniforms can be seen as a way to restrict the sexualization of girls (rules on hems of skirts, no shoulders). Uniforms take the focus away from sexuality and focus it on academics in a school setting for girls.
Miniskirts have been very popular in Japan, where they became part of school uniforms, and they came to be worn within the Kogal culture.

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