School clothing (France)

(59 Posts)
VikingVagine Mon 01-Jul-13 17:55:15

Hello, first time posting in this topic, but I thought it was the most appropriate place to put it.

I'm a teacher in France, in a couple of days we will be discussing what our pupils will be allowed / not allowed to wear at school next year.

By French standards we're pretty strict (the vast majority of schools don't have any dress code at all), we expect all pupils to wear reasonable items (no short shorts/skirts, no tank tops, no flip flops or other beach attire, no underwear visible and no low tops).

I've noticed over the year that these rules are applied more to girls than boys, I've seen boys with Bermuda shorts and no one has batted an eyelid, but girls are intercepted at the gate on a daily basis because their skirts are too short or their tops too low.

I was discussing it casually with the person (CPE) who is in charge of this enforcement and I said that i felt the girls should be allowed to wear short shorts or skirts if they wanted (they're 11 to 14 yo by the way). Her reply was that if the girls wore sexy clothes then they'd get touched up by the boys shock . I tried saying that in that case the problem wasn't with the girls' clothes but with the boys attitudes, but I was generally fobbed off by the other members of staff who agreed with the CPE.

Am I right? If so I need good solid arguments for the upcoming meetings as to why the girls should be allowed to wear what the fig they like within reason for a school.

If not, I need arguments to ensure the equal treatment of both sexes in our school.

MyHumpsMyLovelyBabyBumps Tue 02-Jul-13 15:44:11

i also plan to go around dropping bricks in to the backs of boys trouser that are worn anywhere below the hips

UptoapointLordCopper Tue 02-Jul-13 18:35:58

its a proven fact girls do better at school when clothed shock Did they try naked schooling!? grin

AmandaPandtheTantrumofDoom Tue 02-Jul-13 18:44:54

There's that 'sitting a test in a swimming costume' experiment isn't there?

Oh, you probably know about that one. Sorry, I am very tired and slow on the joke/serious uptake today.

Phineyj Tue 02-Jul-13 19:08:03

In our school dress code it says that skirts may not be shorter than a certain number of inches above the knee (I think it's 6).

One person's idea of a 'short' skirt is another person's idea of something perfectly reasonable so it would be better to have some kind of objective guidance and I agree that things like not wearing see-through/backless clothing are better expressed so that they could in theory apply to both sexes. The shoe thing can be expressed in terms of safety, as flip flops, open toed sandals etc are dangerous in an environment where you're doing practical lessons.

I am always astonished by how casual the clothes are that French students wear to school (only based on meeting exchange students & seeing students hanging round smoking/chatting outside schools when on holiday in France) -- it must be a big wrench when they go to work, or are workplaces very casual too?

VikingVagine Tue 02-Jul-13 20:54:58

Depends on the work place I suppose, but compared to the UK it's very very relaxed in most workplaces.

Our CPE seems to think that knee length is acceptable and anything shorter is asking for it hmm . She made a remark along the lines of some of the clothes girls wear around in town makes rapes unsurprising shock shock shock

Phineyj Tue 02-Jul-13 21:35:53

I think you have more problems than dress code then grin

MyHumpsMyLovelyBabyBumps Tue 02-Jul-13 22:10:23

that's what i was reffering to amanda, realize i could have worded it better now grin

that and just my own experience of girls at school being painfully self consious in their clothes. tugging up hipster jeans which had artfully displayed their pants or pulling their shirts down. they want to fit in so they have to dress a certain way and the end result is them focusing on everything but school.

speaking of naked though, does anyone know if rape statistics have been taken at nudist colonies vs general western socity vs conservative women totally covered societies.

Svina Wed 03-Jul-13 23:31:35

Hi everyone

viking vagine I can imagine it is going to be difficult for you to achieve a good outcome with the victim blaming attitudes which seem prevalent in your work place. Good luck, and well done for trying.

On a slight tangent, I work with young people in a centre where there is no dress code. Young women are trying out different styles, and often wear clothes which are too small, and show a lot of cleavage.

I am a heterosexual mother of 2 in her 30's with no sexual interest in any of the young people I work with. I find their cleavage distracting.

I find it interesting that there are comments onhere, and quoting marjane satrapi, of whom I am a fan, about well you shouldn't be looking. But I say again, cleavage is distracting. I do not look at it, but it nevertheless disturbs me. I am finding this hard to share, in case anyone thinks I must be a perv. I am certain I am not perv. I am starting to think that modesty is importent, not because it's the girl's fault if people are looking at her body, but that in the clothed society we live in, anybody perv or otherwise, can find revealing clothing distracting, which is not helpful in a working or learning environment.

UptoapointLordCopper Thu 04-Jul-13 08:37:03

Is the onus upon the girls and women to cover up?

CoteDAzur Thu 04-Jul-13 08:41:38

In DD's primary school (South of France) girls go to school with dresses/skirts (no shorts underneath) and bermuda shorts all the time.

BarbarianMum Thu 04-Jul-13 09:44:50

I have no problem with the idea of some rules governing how much flesh should be exposed (because I also don't want to see the crack in anyone's arse, their underwear or their genitals) but do think rules should be equitably applied. So either knee length shorts are OK, or they're not. Strap tops/ vests either Ok or not. Skintight clothing OK or not. But the rules should apply regardless of gender.

burberryqueen Thu 04-Jul-13 09:51:25

my question would be - who is it who stands at the gate and decides if the girls' tops are too low or their skirts too short - a male teacher? I bet the old perves are fighting over that job in the staffroom!

Bonsoir Thu 04-Jul-13 09:54:46

I think that you are coming at this from an English cultural perspective. Bermuda shorts are traditional "old man's clothing" in France and not in any shape or form the equivalent of a girl wearing shorts or a short skirt. And you aren't going to change French attitudes to sex into English ones in a hurry thank goodness.

Lancelottie Thu 04-Jul-13 09:58:03

Svina, I'd find very tight clothing on boy or girl (or man or woman) distracting. It's that nervous feeling of 'Oh god, I'm looking at their cleavage/bum/crotch -- look away!'

wem Thu 04-Jul-13 10:36:36

Bonsoir - I don't think the OP is saying Bermuda shrts are equivalent to short skirts, more that the girls are policed closely about the dress code (no short skirts) but boys are not (getting away with wearing beachwear).

Do you think the cultural attitude that girls shouldn't wear short skirts because the boys will touch them up should be allowed to stand unchallenged?

BikeRunSki Thu 04-Jul-13 10:52:53

I went to the Lycee in London until I was 11. My mother was relived when I went to the local state secondary and had uniform. Dealing with how much we rolled up our skirts was much easier than the previously ambiguous and inconsistent dress code at the Lycee.

In your situation OP, I' d say that there needs to be a change in the boys' attitude, a review of the dress code and consistency in policing it. Not sure the attitudes will change though - my sister is in France a.d trying to sue her former boss for constructive dismissal through sexual harrasment. Her solicitor says she has no case even though it seems obvious to every one else in the UK that she does.

Bonsoir Thu 04-Jul-13 11:13:12

Bermuda shorts are not beachwear in France. My (very bourgeois) FOL wears bermuda shorts all summer long, in Paris, as do all men of his generation, to go out and about to restaurants, friends' homes etc.

Attitudes to sex are so very different here that you cannot hope to challenge them with English cultural preconceptions and be understood.

wem Thu 04-Jul-13 11:30:07

The OP says the school is strict by French standards. The dress code says no Bermuda shorts, no short skirts. The boys get away with flouting it, the girls don't.

We are still fighting attitudes in the UK that if girls/women wear revealing clothing they should expect sexual assault/rape. Is it really not worth fighting those attitudes in France too?

Bonsoir Thu 04-Jul-13 11:35:50

I didn't read that the dress code said no Bermuda shorts. It read that it said no beachwear. As I said, Bermuda shorts are über traditional city wear in France.

I agree with Bonsoir in that I don't see how boys wearing bermuda shorts should translate into girls wearing short skirts. It sounds like the problem really is more the enforcement of the rules, so perhaps focus on that?

obviously your boss' comments are also very problematic but hopefully they won't be conveyed to the students -- ?

I have to say that where I live, in western France, people do dress very modestly (compared to London anyway). It's rare to see any display of cleavage, or short skirts without tights. Clothes may be tight but they are not revealing. So I would see school rules like yours as a sort of extension of that social preference.

moreyear Thu 04-Jul-13 11:56:08

I'm not sure I follow your reasoning. Are boys allowed to wear short shorts? Can girls wear shorts/skirts that are bermuda short length or are they not allowed to wear shorts at all?

Your CPE made a ridiculous statement but I do not see how it logically follows that if boys are allowed to wear shorts then girls should be allowed to wear short skirts - ie shorter than bermuda short length.

If a boy rocked up in a pair of thigh grazing hot pants would that be allowed? If it would be then obviously you have every right to be hmm but if this wouldn't be acceptable then I don't see your objection is logical. (Beyond the clear inappropriateness of the CPE's comment).

Bonsoir Thu 04-Jul-13 12:02:33

In Paris people generally dress with more modesty than in London - it's a French thing. And, especially, DC are generally dressed in quite traditional clothing - hence Bermuda shorts for boys and elastic-waisted sticky out knee skirts for girls, both items that are rarely seen in England.

wem Thu 04-Jul-13 12:04:23

I guess I assumed VikingVagine would know what the dress code at her school officially covered.

There is still a major problem with the person in charge of enforcement saying the girls will get touched up if they wear sexy clothes. Is that acceptable to you? I know you say it's the culture, but you don't seem to want it to change.

bigTillyMint Thu 04-Jul-13 12:07:31

There's quite a difference between smart chino-style Bermuda's and the flowery kind that boys/men wear for beach/swimmingwink

Bonsoir Thu 04-Jul-13 12:09:23

I might want it to change but I also might recognise that a one-woman campaign led by a non-voting foreigner is unlikely to endear me to my colleagues or enhance my career prospects smile

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