Pants are a choice, not a punishment

Females with shorter skirts than permitted will soon be told to change into black or khaki pants. To get an idea of what it may be like, junior Paige Alban wore the pants for a day and gained various reactions.


Pia Scotto

The Discipline Committee addressed skirt length violations and announced that females with short skirts will be told to change into pants. These pants will either be black or khaki.

As I walk into school, an overwhelming wave of anxiety rushes over my body. I hold my head up high and walk past the people staring. Laughter spreads around me as people glance down at my khaki-covered legs, and I can’t help but think, “I never thought the day would come that I’d be anxious to wear pants.”

After the Discipline Committee was formed to address dress code violations concerning skirt length, they announced that female students whose skirts are deemed “too short” may be required to change into black or khaki pants provided by the school.

I volunteered to wear these khaki pants instead of my skirt for a day because I, along with the administration, was interested in how the students and teachers would react. Though I have always liked to do the unusual, I was completely taken aback by how wearing pants could be seen as “unusual” in 2017.

As I sat down during my off mod at the beginning of the day, I was met with shocked faces and people whipping their phones out to take pictures of me. Comments like, “Is this some gender equality political statement?” and “You look so weird,” were thrown my way. I responded with laughter and tried to explain that I was just doing a social experiment of some type, but the people ignored me and gawked.

The more negative aspect we add to pants, the more of a taboo thing they become

— Paige Alban

My fellow female students were shocked when I informed them that no, my skirt was not too short, and no, I was not being punished, but I volunteered to be the guinea pig for wearing uniform pants. Girls I had never spoken a word to muttered things about me being “insane” or that they would “rather be expelled than wear a pair of khakis.”

Many of my teachers were beyond supportive, even praising me for wearing pants. In my Spanish class, I was called to the front of the class to model my pants. Yes, this was insanely uncomfortable and my class giggled at me, but I appreciated that my teacher brought attention to it. It made it easier to point out the elephant in the room.

Some random teachers made side comments like, “I am more traditional, so I do not like it,” and others just plainly put it as, “I do not like it at all.” Of course, both comments did not devastate me. By the time I heard these comments for the thousandth time in one day, I had grown used to them.

The thing that really perplexed me was when I was asked, “How do they [pants] feel?” At first I would respond with, “They feel good, pretty comfortable!” but as that question washed over me, I could not help but think about how I wear pants on the weekends. Wearing a pair of pants is not a new thing for me.

Throughout the day, it felt as though a dark cloud of anxiety was hanging over me, but I am glad I did this. The way people reacted to me wearing pants opened my eyes to how something so small can completely change the way people look at you. It showed me that a small change can rock the boat, and that maybe the boat needs to be rocked.

Overall, pants should be an option, not a punishment. I am someone who is not very affected by words, so this day full of comments made me laugh. I was never hurt, but I can understand how someone could be embarrassed by this as a punishment. In my opinion, the school should not stop female students from wearing pants, but also not force us to wear them as a form of punishment. The more negative aspect we add to pants, the more of a taboo thing they become.

Paige Alban is an In-Focus Editor for The Patriot and