Social Question

Dutchess_III's avatar

Before the 70s, why were little girls required to wear dresses in school?

Asked by Dutchess_III (46938points) 1 month ago

Do you know what a a miserable embarrassment trying to stop the boys from seeing your underwear on the playground?
Why did they do that to us?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

37 Answers

chyna's avatar

Because some men have always wanted power over little girls and women.

cookieman's avatar

What @chyna said and traditional views of what is ‘female’ and what is ‘male’. Direct your attention to the male and female pictograms used on restroom doors.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Ok. But what is their actual excuse?

Blackberry's avatar

@Dutchess_III
You don’t need excuses when you have power lol.

But there’s plenty excuses out there: girls need to act like girls, it’s hot and gives them air flow, tradition, it’s just how we do it in our town etc. You can make up anything.

gondwanalon's avatar

Dress code. That is the way women and girls dressed. It was traditional attire.

I had two older sisters while growing up in the 50’s and 60’s. I never heard them complain about wearing dresses.

I remember one time in the 5th grade a girl came to class wearing pink leggings. The female teacher scolded her in front of the class and told her never to do that again.

I asked my wife just now how she felt about wearing dresses to school and she said that there was nothing to feel bad about and that’s just the way it was.

Seems far fetched to claim that some powerful men forced dresses on women and girls. Especially in high school (in the 60’s) the girls seemed to revel in wearing their miniskirts. They did that on thier own.

smudges's avatar

You got it right @gondwanalon ! It was just what we did, like men who worked in professional jobs wore suits, and you took your lunch to school in a metal lunchbox, and boys chased girls on the playground, not cuz they liked them, but so they could hit them or push them down, and kids hit the weaker students with the ball first in dodgeball.

apparently this really bugs @Dutchess_III, she wrote about it in 2021, too – see the “related” question section

jca2's avatar

I had a job at a bank when I was about 19 and the dress code was women had to wear skirts or dresses. This was around 1985. They could never get away with that shit now.

Kropotkin's avatar

They still do in UK schools.

JLeslie's avatar

I’m going to ask my mom if she had to wear a dress.

Mostly tradition probably.

I remember being in elementary school and one day my dress lifted and a boy teased me about my flowered underwear. I never let my mom buy me underwear with flowers again, and if I wore a dress (when I was still very little) to school I insisted on wearing shorts underneath). Mostly, I wore shorts and pants anyway. I’m more annoyed about how mean children can be telling that story than having a dress on, but the dress was not required anyway.

In my schools the boys and girls all did gym class together, and played in the playground, so to require girls to wear skirts seems ridiculous. In elementary school we didn’t change clothes for gym.

The Catholic schools required a skirt or dress for the girls.

If a school didn’t allow leggings under the skirt the girls were freezing in northern states waiting for buses or walking to school. If they could wear leggings then the skirt was just decoration basically.

Now, so many kids are overweight, having to wear a skirt would be very uncomfortable for some girls unless they also had on bike shorts or a culotte slip underneath.

When I worked retail in the 80’s and 90’s I had to wear pantyhose if I wore a skirt, and I had to wear a jacket (blazer) if I wore slacks. Men had to wear a sportscoat or suit also. The store was freezing so the men weren’t sweating. Most female employees were cold all day, except when unloading stock or something else that was very physical.

Dutchess_III's avatar

But why dresses? They hinder girls trying to run and play. Why not pants, like the boys?
In talking to some of my classmates I learned that many wore shorts under their dresses to avoid the harassment from boys.

JLeslie's avatar

@Dutchess_III I think women’s fashion historically was to accentuate a woman’s figure and skirts and dresses did that, although little girl dresses don’t do that.

Back in the day among the elite, girls and women weren’t supposed to be playing sports and running and jumping, they were supposed to sit quiet in a corner or look pretty on the arm of a man. The people with money and power make the rules. That’s why there was legislation to make sure there were sports available for girls in schools. Luckily, some people in power cared about it.

Years ago they had women riding sidesaddle, way more dangerous. Girl bicycles have room for a skirt.

Religion also played a role. There are still religious orders that expect women in skirts.

Men tend to not care if females are comfortable, especially if they look at them like objects. Ok, not all men, but in my experience a lot of them.

Look how some people went after Hillary Clinton for wearing pant suits. That was not very long ago.

smudges's avatar

I hadn’t hear of females wearing shorts under their skirts or dresses until the 80’s and the girl bands did it. I was way out of wearing them by then. I thought it was strange…why not just wear the shorts??

@JLeslie Your entire last answer was right on. not that your other wasn’t

JLeslie's avatar

@smudges In tennis and golf women still wear shorts attached to skirts (sewn into one piece) all of the time. Either it’s a skort or it looks solely like a skirt on the outside. Those skirts with shorts or bike shorts sewn in are worn by many women where I live in every day life not just sports.

snowberry's avatar

I always wore shorts under my dresses. Problem solved.

JLeslie's avatar

@snowberry It just doesn’t solve that girls were forced to wear a skirt or dress.

The biggest annoyance for me about it is easy access for men to assault us if we don’t have extra clothing on underneath. Aside from restricting us in sports and can be a safety issue during sports.

gondwanalon's avatar

Seems odd that women and girls are so apposed to wearing dresses mainly because a male may catch a glimpse of their underwear. Especially nowadays when women and girls pretty much go naked at the beach with tiny shoestring bikinis. Also they parade around nearly everywhere in skin tight tights that leave absolutely nothing to the imagination. Who’s forcing women to do that?

I get it that dresses have no value in sports competition. And no one should be forced to wear a dress. Those days are gone for the most part.

chyna's avatar

^No matter what a person CHOOSES to wear, it doesn’t give anyone the okay to grope or touch them.
When I was in 6th grade and to wear dresses, we had a guy in my class that taped a mirror to his shoe so he could look up our dresses. There’s an asshat in every crowd.

snowberry's avatar

As i recall that’s what people wore. It’s what was appropriate for the day. So when I was very small, wearing pants to school would have been been inappropriate and would have made me stand out. I’m glad I didn’t start wearing pants to school until everyone else did. There’s no point in voluntarily setting yourself up for bullying.

jca2's avatar

What a double standard, and then when the woman is raped, she’s cross examined on the stand about her clothing and underwear.

snowberry's avatar

Double standards abound today too.

jca2's avatar

That’s what I meant, @snowberry. Always a double standard, yesterday and today.

smudges's avatar

@JLeslie I know that women wear shorts and skirts in tennis and golf and that many women wear them today outside of sports. But the question was about the 1070’s and being in school.

Forever_Free's avatar

They are still required to do this in some private schools.

JLeslie's avatar

@smudges My point was the skirt over the shorts.

@gondwanalon I could care less if someone gets a glimpse of my underwear, unless I’m wearing huge granny panties (my husband’s term) or when I’m only six years old and boys tease me when they get a glimpse, or when I’m fifteen years old and a boy sees fit to put his hand up my skirt.

It’s more vulnerable being in panties than skin tight leggings.

Also, thigh rub from skin on skin is real, painful, and can break open the skin and bleed. Requiring skirts means requiring undergarments to prevent that if the person has large thighs. More money for women to spend. We already deal with: bras, tampons, make-up, hair products, and back in the day pantyhose. $$$.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Thigh rub happens when you’re overweight, which I never was.

Boys looking up my dress bothered the hell out of me.

Then, in 4th grade, Mom sewed up some green bell bottoms for me. I was the 1st to wear pants! Nobody said anything and it was bye bye dresses!
Other girls breathed a sigh of relief and quickly followed suit.

Dutchess_III's avatar

And slides burned the hell out of your legs.

gondwanalon's avatar

@chyna & @JLeslie Sadly their are creeps out there. I sorry for the torment that you and many others had and the burden you have from being female.

Seeing a girl’s underwear never meant a thing to me as I was the young brother of two older sisters. They completely dominated me. They were always 2 steps ahead of me and they always made sure that I didn’t forget it.

I’ve always felt nervous and shy around girls and women. I wouldn’t dare intentionally say or do anything that might offend. Many people insisted that I was gay even though I explained that I wasn’t. I always had an excuse for not having a girlfriend (school and work). When I started dating women I was used and abused (took advantage of my generosity). But I didn’t mind because of low self esteem and I did genuinely enjoy their company. Finally found a woman who is kind to me and loves my company and we’ve been happily married for 33 years.

Nowadays I’m shocked by how some women flaunt their bodies in public. It does nothing for me but make me feel uncomfortable. I dare not look at them for more than a quick glance for fear of being called a pervert.

JLeslie's avatar

^^Most boys wouldn’t do any of those horrible things that have been mentioned, but enough do that many of us have at least one story.

Dutchess_III's avatar

And the harassment is so insidious. It wasn’t until the last 5 years that I learned docs can check my breath sounds through my shirt. I didn’t really have to unbutton or remove my shirt for the stethoscope to work properly.
I started to figure it out when I was seeing more and more female doctors…fuckit.

smudges's avatar

^^ I don’t know what doctors you’ve been seeing, but I haven’t even had to open my shirt for 20 years, and I’m a heart patient!

MrGrimm888's avatar

As I have said many times, when people try to blame men for everything;
If you want to see how a woman WANTS to dress, look at Halloween.
Men don’t pick these costumes for girls, they do.
Sexy nurse. Sexy pirate. Sexy ghost. Any excuse, to show off their bodies.
From what little I know of Instagram, women are constantly seeking sexual attention there, and on other sites.

The male role in female oppression, is undeniable. And we’re working on it.
In the meantime, girls are going out of their way, to post sexually provocative images on toktoc, or anywhere anyone will see them.

As a former bouncer, I can testify that women are perhaps as bad now, as men were in the 50’s. Drunk white women, are sexual predators.
They make an embarrassment out of themselves by night, then want guys in the office to just forget that and see them as equals.
Working doors, I have been sexually assaulted countless times, by women.
At Bachelorette parties, women parade giant penises around, and drink from penis straws, and give head to random strangers.
Today’s females, have a LOT to do with how they are viewed.

When I was in school, the girls would change clothes in the parking lots. Parents thought their daughters were dressed appropriately, but they wear yoga pants and low cut blouses.
I had a date have her father come get her at a movie theater once.
He was upset, because she never introduced me to him.
She changed clothes in a panic, when she knew he was on the way. Out if a tank top, into a sweater.
He was just trying to be a good Dad.

I hear very little, about drunken house moms, who actually promote their daughter’s sexuality and allow them to drink and wear adult clothes to be cool.
I KNOW, almost every woman I have ever spoken to, has a story of an older female in their childhood, that told them they were “sitting on a gold mine,” or some variation. The women train younger girls, to act this way. I GUARANTEE, there are VERY few fathers or just men, who want our children sexualized.
If you are talking about the “catholic school girl” look.
I couldn’t agree more, I would prefer something different.
But yoga pants, are far more revealing.
I flunked several classes, because of girls that sat in front of me, and how they dressed.
Most of my schooling, was in warmer climates. So really short shorts, and small tops, are more comfortable.

I won’t say there are not some men, somewhere, that want little girls to be sex objects, but I think that’s becoming more and more rare.
And the younger girls are doing most of the damage. As far as how they desire to be viewed.

I am ashamed to say, all 3 of my sisters, and many of my female friends, have been victims of sexual assault/rape. I was the baby, so I didn’t know anything until decades later, but the statistics are disturbing.

I am tempted to opine, after hearing all her stories, that Dutch simply put up with more harassment than most.
But. I know that there is truth to what she says too.

IF. IF, there is any progress to be made, females have to acknowledge and understand their role in the dynamics.

As far as Healthcare, my understanding is that a LOT of their health care requires very invasive procedures, by nature.

You CAN use a stethoscope over clothing, but there is an advantage to listening through bare skin.
Especially when we are growing, we need to be monitored for any sign of disease.
A medical professional carefully examining a child, is a good thing. The doctor might have missed a murmur, or something important.

In the years I was going through my liver failure and subsequent surgery, I eventually lost my concern about getting naked.
During the Covid years, we were ALL packed into hospitals, and there were few blankets and stuff.
I have a dermatologist now.
First appointment, they threw a gown in the exam room and bam, naked again…

There are several private schools in my city, that still have some variation of short dress, and white blouse….

Dutchess_III's avatar

You’re only seeing what you want to see @MrGrimm888. I dressed very discretely. Didn’t stop me from getting attacked and groped.

MrGrimm888's avatar

^Respectfully. I am not disagreeing that you or any females, haven’t been subject to the things you speak of.
Women are still raped in countries where they wear cloth from head to toe.

I was simply making what I feel is a valid point, about the female role, in how society views them.

You seemed to imply that females dressed certain ways, because of some man/men.
I was explaining how females dress, when they can choose what to wear.

chyna's avatar

^No matter what females wear, it doesn’t give any one the right to rape them.

smudges's avatar

^^ That’s not what he’s saying.

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