Winter may be winding down, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to break out the gauzy fabrics of spring fashion just yet. For most of the past week, Japan has been cold and rainy, and while that’s generally not anyone’s idea of pleasant weather, it’s been particularly rough for Japanese Twitter user @otonakodomo_.
Now in her third year of junior high school, @otonakodomo_ has to wear a uniform. Her school’s dress code doesn’t just dictate what student have to wear, though, but also what they can’t, and the prohibited list includes tights, which is a problem for @otonakodomo_ since her uniform requires her to wear a skirt.
This isn’t the first time Japanese Internet commenters have shaken their heads at schools prohibiting students from wearing tights to keep their legs warm, but @otonakodomo_ brings up something that makes the situation seem especially unfair.
The boys wear tights under their slacks, because they won’t get caught. Why do only we girls have to endure the cold?”
It’s an excellent point. Boys’ uniforms include long pants, so even if they’re technically banned from wearing tights too, no one will spot the dress code violation (sort of like the school in Tokyo that demanded students wear white underwear). But since the girls’ uniforms leave their legs exposed, the no-tights rule is only enforceable for female students, and so effectively they’re the only ones being restricted from keeping their legs as warm as they like.
It’s not uncommon for Japanese schools to prohibit students from wearing tights, but other online commenters were quick share their agreement with @otonakodomo_’s frustration, leaving comments like:
“I saw students walking to school in the cold this morning wearing skirts with no tights, and I felt so bad for them.”
“What’s the point of banning tights in the first place?”
“I wish they’d just give girls the options of wearing long pants as part of their uniform.”
Some schools in Japan have recently started letting students choose between skirts and slacks, but they’re still in the minority. As for why tights are banned, at least one school says it’s to keep students from becoming too relaxed and losing focus during lessons, and one commenter speculated it’s because schools are worried about students showing up with wild or distracting patterns to their tights, largely circumventing the practice of having uniforms in the first place, and don’t want to be bothered having to administer rules for what styles are and aren’t allowed.
@otonakodomo_ doesn’t know what her school’s rationale is, but she did voice her complaint to the administrators, saying it’s unfair for tights to be banned. The school’s response?
“We understand your opinion, but you’ll be graduating soon [the Japanese school year ends in the spring], so bear with it a little longer.”
It’s a pretty callous reaction, and was of little comfort to @otonakodomo_. “I wasn’t just doing this for myself,” she says, “but for the girls in my school who’re younger than me too.” It’s sad that her plea seems to have fallen on deaf ears, leaving her and her classmates with cold legs.