By Opinion Editor: Lawrence Dushenski
You may have seen the news today, but you may have missed it amidst all the graduation festivities this week. For those that are just catching up, you can read here. To quickly summarize, the above image was posted on the information page for the students that were graduating this week.
While we all understand that graduation is a big day for all involved, it is completely unacceptable for any university officials to be dictating such matter to the young women that are graduating this week, especially in such a condescending tone. The implication is that the young ladies dare not embarrass their family and the school during this most important day, and the moralizing by implicating that short dresses and cleavage are in some way evil and bad things is not what you would expect from this institution of higher learning.
The young ladies who this message was targeted at have spent years studying, and have paid significant fees to do so. There were hundreds of families around campus taking pictures of their children who they were so very proud of. So for the school to attempt to insert themselves into such a significant day for so many is nothing short of unacceptable.
If the graduating ladies want to wear a short skirt and show some cleavage on one of the most important days of their lives, they should not worry about the very institution that they are graduating from imposing such arbitrary moral tones on them. To suggest that dressing like Grace Kelly is in some way good and dressing like Kim Kardashian is in some way bad, just as these women are about to dip their toe into the work force, sends a terrible message from university administration.
I cannot speak from experience, but I am aware of the fact that being a young women is a much more difficult experience and existence than being a young man. The moralizing judgement that exists within society against young women is never ending, and exists in so many walks of life. However, there is a hope that an academic institution would be free from such judgement and the condescending imposition of such conservative ideals and values.
The university could have quite simply said that it was a formal event and left it at that. The young graduates have dressed up for formal events plenty of times before, so it should have been left to the young graduates to decide what exactly that entailed. It is not for the school to tell anyone specifically what to wear. You don’t want anyone to show up in trainers and ripped jeans, but that was not even the concern here.
Instead the tips attempted to guilt and preach at the young ladies about what is “appropriate” and what is meant for a “night out”. If they are comfortable with what they are wearing, the university officials should understand that it is not their place to impose their morals on these young ladies. Why not treat it like a night out? So many hours and pounds were spent for these young ladies to get to the point of graduation, and they were expecting to enter the world with the support of their institution.
They were sorely mistaken.
Entering the job market now is as uncertain as it has ever bee considering the state of the economy. Support is as important as it has ever been for all those graduating, so to see such judgement and shaming from what is meant to be a safe space for young women is disappointing to say the least.
We all expected better, we all deserve better, and we just all demand better.
Tuition fees continue to rise. Books are as expensive as ever. Trying to balance studying, growing up, relationships and staying healthy is beyond stressful for all those involved. These young ladies were smiling from ear to ear as they brought their families around campus, only to be utterly let down by the very institution that they invested their future in.