Men in Skirts

When I was at University studying statistics, I was told that one point is a statistic but two is a trend. So it was today when I read that a Chinese University, Hunan Agricultural University, has lifted its ban on miniskirts and hotpants in the library after an outcry from students.

Hunan Agricultural University originally issued the restrictions when a male scholar complained his work was being disrupted and it posted a notice on the library doors restricting students from entering wearing dresses and shorts less than 50cm in length.

I thought I had seen this story before. I went back to the internet. I had and every summer since Mary Quant gave us the mini skirt this has been a stock story all over the world.

2015, Algeria:  a university banned a girl from taking her exam because her skirt was too short. The ban, which prevented an unnamed law student sitting her exam because her skirt finished above the knees, has incensed students in Algeria

2018, Colombia: men have been wearing skirts in public to protest against a university’s miniskirt ban. Pontifical Bolivarian University in Medellín advised female students to stop wearing short skirts on campus as they were distracting classmates and teachers.

And my favourite. 2013 Hungary: Students at a university have turned up to class in only their underwear, in protest at conservative new clothing rules banning miniskirts, flip-flops and low-cut dresses. Around 10 students and a professor at Kaposvar University in southwest Hungary attended classes on Thursday clad only in pants, or, in some cases, nothing more than strategically placed textbooks, in protest at the draconian new rules. The article was of course accompanied by a photo and video of the tutorial group dressed only in their books. So, nothing staged and pre-planned there.

I can’t understand why schools and universities try these tricks.

I am sure these guardians of our moral value believe they are imposing these bans for the right reasons but what those might be are baffling.

It should never be because male students are being distracted. I know times have changed and are very different from mine at university, but back in the early 1970s being distracted from my work by a naked, shapely leg was positively encouraged. Pretty girls, rugby training, the student bar all had a higher priority than study. I know it’s a dinosaur attitude, but I revert to an anthropologist university friend who said that male students are not at university to find a lifelong mate but to increase the opportunity of mating.

Whenever an administration (who are invariably older and male) becomes involved in setting fashion limits there will always be trouble.

University students (who are invariably young) are naturally rebellious and are looking for every opportunity to show their independence. Make a rule that says in mid-winter it is forbidden to be naked in the University and there will be one nude, protesting group who say otherwise.

And, what about these poor men being distracted by the wiles and guiles of these temptress women? Part of the role of University is to acquire some life skills. It is the transition from living with parents to independence and you know what, in the real-world women in short skirts is a problem every man faces every day.

In London, today, there will be many women walking around in short skirts and skimpy tops. They are not doing it in some coordinated, communist plot to bring the commercial world to a halt while the men are distracted. Nor are they wearing summer clothes in a feminist stunt. The weather is good, the temperature is rising and these clothes are comfortable. That’s the real world.

If students want to protest for a real cause then getting men out of trousers and jackets which are hot, restrictive and sweaty, would be much better.

Men in Skirts. That’s my new clarion call.