Monday, March 14, 2011

Conformity: A Means to an End

I feel that dress codes and conformity and the movement in the school system to essentially clone every student is a terrible idea. I mean its bad enough that we make them all think the same, but now we have to make them all look the same? It certainly detracts from the child’s individuality, and when that happens the risk for the proverbial excrement hits the fan rises. We are all born with our own sense of individuality, and it needs to be expressed.

Ask any educator which schools have less violence, and they will say schools without dress codes. The simple allowance of a choice of clothing gives the child a sense of having a few rights (even though this country treats minors as being legally incompetent – but that’s another story) and responsibilities. The children may tease each other about who has the “coolest” shirt, but it generally won’t degrade to violence. If we want the next generation to be “better” then this one, why would it make sense to imitate one of the ideas expressed by old documentaries from the 40’s, problem is that they’re a little hard to understand, since the narration was in German. (Thank you George Carlin)

Likewise, the same educator will say that some of the worst schools are those who have adopted not only a dress code, but an entire school uniform. Part of human nature is to express ourselves, and if not through our clothing, then how? Through violence, drugs or alcohol? School uniforms are not only degrading, they are an extra expense that many families cannot afford, as logos don’t come cheap; but they are required. And the punishment for not wearing your uniform at school? One day to a week of out of school suspension. Great idea lets punish our right-brained students by not allowing them to learn.

Think of the blind date scenario; you’re supposed to meet a woman at the bar. You’re told she will be wearing a striped jacket. You arrive at the bar, and every woman is wearing the same striped jacket. Sure it sounds funny, but think about it; if we have uniforms in schools, what’s to stop more places to require uniforms? Day to day life would be rather boring, and bored people generally seek out fun. This can lead to violence, and higher crime, but one should note that his is pure speculation.

With all of the choices we cannot make for ourselves, one less seems to be only a slight burden, but the freedom to dress ourselves is something we all take for granted. I certainly wouldn’t want to live in a world full of Dan Quayles and Al Gores, would you? Conformity leads to rebellion, this is a simple fact that history teaches us, but the average student wouldn’t know this, since he was home on suspension, for not wearing his school uniform.

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