School says, no shorts for dads, no maxi-nightie for mothers.

Many Indians seem to want their clothing and etiquettes monitored by other people.

Or maybe it isn’t themselves but others that they want monitored? Double standards?

So anybody who has some power over anybody (we Indians accept some people having power over other people easily) can make rules for other people?

Some of the comments below this news article seem to think it is okay for parents to be told how to dress by the people they pay to teach their children. Or maybe they particularly dislike the nightie/maxi/gown and are glad to see it banned.

Some who despise the shapeless garment called nightie/maxi – are not fine with the school banning shorts for fathers dropping their kids to school.

A friend I spoke to said something like, “If I want my kid to go to that school so badly, I will accept whatever rules I can accept, I won’t risk my child’s well being by offending the school – somewhere in their mind will remain my objection and they might take it out on my child.”

Do you think, giving a school such authority might create a hierarchy – putting school teachers above the parents? Would this make it even more difficult for Indian parents to object to any incidents of corporal punishments or verbal abusive (both very common in Indian schools)? And if one parent does object – would other parents be too afraid for their child, to lend support? Should children see either their parents or their teachers as having authority over each other or as equal adults working together for the child’s well being?

For some, the school is banning something they have always wanted to see banned.

(The ‘Nightie’ is a misnomer, it is also called ‘Maxi’ or ‘Gown’ (derived from night-gown?) or ‘kaftan’ and is not really sleep-wear anymore. It is a loose, long garment that is easier to maintain than a sari or even a pair of jeans. The garment is favored by women in some parts of India, specially since the only other garment they are permitted to wear is the sari. Many people find the ‘nightie’ offensive because although it is not accused of making women attractive, it is not considered graceful, or formal or a day wear. I am not sure but maybe – asking women not to wear the nightie/maxi is like asking them to wear a sari.)

Here’s the news article,

http://www.ndtv.com/article/south/dropping-kids-to-school-not-in-your-nightie-please-242206?pfrom=home-otherstories

Bangalore: Seven schools in Bangalore have had enough of the nightie. They’ve banned mummies from dropping off children in the morning in their nightwear.

“It is indiscipline to run out like that. I have also been trying to change this for a long time but they do not seem to understand. So it is now a rule,” said Dr Roseline, the Principal of the Ulsoor School of Academics in central Bangalore.

The dress code for school runs permits salwaar-kameezes, saris and jeans for women. Fathers cannot show up in shorts or pyjamas.

Dropping the just-out-of-bed look means a little better time management, say working parents. But “The mother is the first guru. If the mother dresses well, so will the kids. We just have to wake up a bit earlier,” said a mother.

As for children who’re often not thrilled about getting into their uniform, the new rules are very welcome. “It will be good to see them changing and get dressed for school too,” said a student, grinning.

Do you think school teachers should be involved in disciplining of the parents? How do the kids benefit from knowing that their parents are not allowed to wear maxi/nightie and shorts when they drop them to their school? (Many mothers might wear it to some other places)

Here’s a comment:

Here the question is not of shorts and nighties but the logic is can’t parents take few minutes in grooming themselves before stepping out from home to drop their kids to school?

Should children’s schools monitor how much time parents give to grooming themselves?

Here’s another comment talking about the women in the west.

In western countries too, you don’t see women in their night wear coming out to schools or markets though they are so liberal in their dress code. In Rome be Roman. Wear what is normal, just because a nightie or pyjama covers you up doesn’t mean they can be worn outside.

The women in Western countries! Women in the west wear shorts which are practical and very appropriate for Indian weather conditions, if the objection is only about etiquettes and grooming, do you think these seven schools would ‘permit’ fathers and mothers to wear clean and well ironed shorts to their children’s schools?

103 thoughts on “School says, no shorts for dads, no maxi-nightie for mothers.

  1. It is sad to know that teachers have to make such a rule. But the decision is welcome why?
    First getting in night dress shows indifference towards the child and his school. so a child will not wholeheartedly get ready until the parent does.

    Second, its really Shame if people get out of the house in nightdress. I have seen many people in my society too. Its pathetic, creepy and lazy.

    School is not objecting to wearing shorts or minis but are asking not to wear night dress. Which could have been handled better like holding a PTA meet and discussing this issue.

    summarizing, I welcome the decision but not the way it is proposed.

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    • The full length maxi is more like a weather appropriate dress, less of a nightie. Women are seen wearing them everywhere.
      You didn’t answer my questions,
      “if the objection is only about etiquettes and grooming, do you think these seven schools would ‘permit’ fathers and mothers to wear clean and well ironed shorts to their children’s schools?”

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      • For all my pro-women views, I personally have a thing against people dressing sloppily in public. Whether you are dropping your child off to school, or walking down the road to buy something from a local shop or walking over to a neighbor’s house – why is it so much trouble to wear clean, “outdoor” clothes. I personally believe that a lot of Indians are not conditioned to care about their outdoor appearance and personal grooming – and we follow the same habits abroad as well. I have seen Indian women in ‘nighties’ strolling down an apartment complex in the USA. I have seen Indian guys stinking of sweat and wearing stained/crumpled clothing, smelling of stale food at work and other public places. And I cannot come up with a logical reason why that is acceptable. Just as I cannot understand why Americans wear torn jeans as a fashion statement or jeans hanging so low that the underwear shows through from behind.

        In my opinion, the care that you take toward your appearance indicates how seriously you take yourself and the one’s who matter in your life. Even if you are just dropping off your child to school, you are representing your child and the care and effort you are taking in raising your child. Clean, weather appropriate outdoor attire (uncrumpled, cotton salwar kameez, skirt and top, comfortable pants and top) should not be that hard to follow – especially if you keep it ready the night before. And yes, even clean, pressed, modest length shorts should be acceptable – for men as well as women.

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        • As for whether it is right for schools to impose dress rules on parents dropping of their children – yes, I think it is appropriate for them to have a dress conduct for anyone who steps into their premises – even if it’s a few steps inside the school gate. Just like other public places do ie: restaurants, work places etc.

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      • I think the school would and should permit clean and well ironed shorts for both mothers and fathers. My mom being a school teacher herself has often told me how mothers come at atfernoon right inside the school to pick up their kids in nighties (kftans are different and most dont wear those), and night suits – you have to dress appropriately for the occasion, always; irrespective of the fact that you are a conservative dresser or not. f the only two options ou ever have are a sari and a nightie – too bad u have to wear a sari in the day time and nightie at night.

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    • Siddhesh- do you know how it works in most of the households? Most schools in Chennai start at 8. Some kids travel from quite a far distance and not all of them opt for the school van/bus etc since their parents drop them. Now, for these kids, their parents need to wake up the sleepy heads, get them ready, why- in some cases, brush their teeth,comb their hair, make them get into their uniforms, shoes, socks etc, ensure they have taken all their books, pencil boxes. Apart from all this, get their kids eat bfast, have milk etc, prepare lunch for them and put into lunch boxes. Additionally, in some schools, they have snack breaks, for which, their parents need to keep biscuits etc into seperate boxes – after all this, there is a rush to get their kid to school on time. Then after dropping the kids back, there is a mad hurry to get home and get ready to office. So in all this, personal grooming would be the last thing on any parent’s mind.

      And i am not even talking about kids who have “special classes” or tuitions that commence early mornings. Personally, there were times myself and my classmates needed to be at school way early- and my parents used to wake at 4-4.30 to get my food ready and then help me get ready. They are not even entering the school – is personally getting well groomed more important than getting the kid ready? If the school dictates dont come for PTA meetings in Maxi/shorts – well agreed. But to drop kids – sorry, I dont agree

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      • And the most important – how can schools dictate what the parents wear in the first place? Are they also attending the classes? Most ridiculous thing i ever heard – cant believe parents are agreeing to this!!!

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      • At this rate , they may ask the parents to do their hairdo, ear makeup and good shoes and then take the kids out?
        First of all, ask that school to be more Desi, it is better for the environment and it is better for the wearer . So long it is not indecent, why should anyone object?
        Hope the parents will get together and take up this with the school , and get these ideas nipped in the bid.

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    • I agree. In a way, this is a little relieving. Just goes to show, that like work, school is an institution not to be taken lightly. What is so wrong in asking parents not to appear wearing what they have just woken up in? Next, we would be seeing college students wearing maxis and shorts to college. Educations instituions need a mode of conduct and a school will be rated/viewed based on how it conducts itself. Personal grooming only goes to show that you take pride in your appearance. What is so wrong with that?

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      • I seriously think the whole dressing system needs a major overhaul in India. As far as dressing for the weather goes, I am all for it. In a casual setting. But No one in the west would wear shorts to business meetings. Even for ‘casual’ meetings, they have business casuals. Then why is it bad if schools decide to take it as seriously as well?

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        • True, but then would it be acceptable to wear shorts to the premises and then change? If I were going for a job interview, I wouldn’t want my father wearing shorts when he comes to drop me if he decides to step out of the vehicle. First impressions are lasting impressions. If my interview feels my father is not serious enough about it then why would I be? If he stays in the car when he comes to drop me its fine. Its the same for a school kid. We always crib that Indian schools have no standard. Now when they’re trying to build a modicum of standard into their way of work, we again protest? I think as long as its their premises, they have a right to set rules. What’s wrong in expecting that the parent doesn’t wear to work what he/she slept in? If the parent can, then the child will too. What they see is what they learn. I will give them the benefit of doubt assuming its got nothing to do with modesty or “cover up” but maintaining a standard instead.

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        • No offence Deepa, but any workplace that judges you based on what your dad is wearing, probably in the parking lot, is not somewhere you want to be working anyway

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        • LOL, you’re right KMKH. Point taken. But if a school wants to maintain a sense of decorum within their premises, is it so wrong? Its not like they’re preaching every parent of the country to dress differently. Convents have rules too. Don’t they? So do religious places. Then why is this any different?

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        • No offense, Deepa, but if I were the interviewer, KNOWING that an employable adult seeking a job at my firm had a parent drop them off would already bias me a bit – and most people I know – against hiring them. Not that I’m proud of this bias, but I’m just trying to make the point that what your Dad’s WEARING would have no impact on your chances if anyone I’ve ever worked with were in the interviewer’s seat.

          I realize this should be looked upon as a carpool. And a carpool is looked upon favorably. But in that case, nobody judges you for what the people you’re carpooling with choose to wear.

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        • No. But when he was in SA he too conformed to dressing standards. I don’t recollect any pictures of him wearing a mundu in SA. If the school’s intent is to maintain dressing standards on its premises, I’m OK with it. For any other purpose, I’ll be the first one to stand up against the ruling.

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        • In India he was wearing an Indian dress.

          How can an Indian school dictate what people where on the streets, so long as it is not obscene? (outside the gates)

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      • But then Gandhiji went to a round table conference in England wearing the same dhoti.

        “In Marseilles, Gandhi was received by the sister of Romain Rolland, as the Nobel Prize winning writer could not be there due to his ill health.

        The press persons of Paris were surprised to see Gandhi in his typical clothing and they asked him if this was how he was going to travel along the streets of London, Gandhi answered with a disarming smile that he was just a poor traveler who had with him as his only possessions his spinning wheel, a plate of metal he used in the jail to eat his meals, and a tumbler to have his drink of goat-milk, six loin clothes and some simple towels.”
        -http://www.indiavideo.org/text/trip-to-london-for-second-round-table-conference-137.php

        One might say that Gandhiji’s times, his purpose for dressing like that and his lifestyle were totally different from the realities of today. But my simple question is this – how would it be acceptable for moms to go to drop their kids off in a below the waist saree, a blouse with more strings than cloth than in a “nightie” which is also called a “housecoat” in some parts but covers her decently from head to toe? It might be shapeless – at least she cannot be accused of wearing figure hugging clothes which attracts the wrong kind of attention. So long as it is clean and decently worn, why should the school object? Fine they don’t want her to step into the school compound like that. But she need not get out of the car in the first place.

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    • The bottom line is that the parents are paying the school for services. Not the other way around. They have no right to dictate to their customers what should be worn.

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    • “just because a nightie or pyjama covers you up doesn’t mean they can be worn outside.”
      Really? Why not? One good reason please.

      “Do you think school teachers should be involved in disciplining of the parents?”
      An emphatic “NO”

      “Here the question is not of shorts and nighties but the logic is can’t parents take few minutes in grooming themselves before stepping out from home to drop their kids to school?’
      That is up to the parents to decide, not the teachers to dictate.

      And wow, we suddenly have the Big Bad West being held up as an example! Lol. Everything as per convenience? But then perhaps the school would “permit” parents of both sexes to wear shorts and sleeveless tops (like in the West)?

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        • On second thoughts it is not Bikram. We are witnessing one set of people (teachers) trying to dictate terms to another (parents) on what they should or should not wear. That cannot be taken lightly. It applies in every field of life. For example, one caste feels they know better and have the right to dictate terms to another.. Parents feel they know better than their adult children and order them about. We all need to understand our boundaries.
          But yes, when you look at it from the view point of the things that need more urgent attention, this seems frivolous, I agree.

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      • It has become a habit to blame west for everything. An Indian couple i know of went to enroll their son into school in US. They proudly claimed that their son can recite all the letters of the alphabet, knows some nursery rhymes also etc etc. The only thing the school principal had to ask in return was – would you son know to do his things himself – like getting ready by himself in the mornings, cleaning himself after visit to wash rooms,not pick fights with other kids, not say racist stuff – if your son knows this, then we can give him admission coz that is our criteria, alphabets can wait.
        In the west, if people open doors for you, one says thank you-regardless of who it is. Do we ever thank people who do things for us? Like saying thank you to the bus driver etc? Cultures are different, doesnt mean you blindly blame another one which you hardly know about and claim- oh their family values are bad, oh they dump their parents in old age homes, oh they are characterless and loose in morals, whereas we are the best, irrespective of what the crime rate statistics show.

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        • Absolutely agree with you Sharmi. I am sick and tired of hearing this Big Bad West BS. As if we were and maha-perfect ourselves. Indians should take responsibility for themselves and not blame the ‘foreign hand’ for everything that’s wrong with them..

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  2. What the parents do outside the school premises is none of the business of the school. I find it hard to believe that a school can impose such restrictions. They do not have the authority.
    It’s not only this IHM, but there are many instances where schools try to impose rules and restrictions on what teachers do after their job is over, which is somehow beyond me.

    I have a mall near my house where half of the population is in shorts during weekends. So is that a bad influence on the children? If I could take my child to a mall wearing shorts, why not to school? It’s comfortable and no one’s business. Sometimes, people are running late and have no time to change. Will the schools be fine if mothers come in mini skirts? I am sure they will have a problem with that also.

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      • No. Definitely not. I don’t think the schools have even thought about the children. It’s just that certain people who have the authority have decided to assert it at all the wrong places.

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      • Yes(sorry to comment uninvited).A school is neither your home nor some casual place where you can relax.A school is where children with cooperation from the parents are trained to be educated and responsible citizens,so parents in a way are teachers too.So when parents arrive at the school they are expected to be decent, and meanwhile the school has provisioned for different type of clothing which are completely accessible.You cant attend a job interview in shorts can you? You cant attend school in (colorful)shorts can you? You cant be sworn in as a CM in shorts can you? And visiting a school(the holiest temple) is no different if you ask me. And as far as i know these “can yous” are applicable in case of America as well.

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        • Sushobh, in your attempt to counter EVERY logic that seems to be presented in this blog you sometimes end up sounding plain STUPID! The children are going to school here, NOT the parents. The parents are just there to drop the kids off, thus the schools have NO authority to decide upon what the parents are wearing. Did you get that or are you going to get all worked up again and shoot off another meaningless response without even trying to understand what I’m saying here?

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        • //You cant attend a job interview in shorts can you?
          But my father who drops me to the interview can wear shorts.

          //You cant attend school in (colorful)shorts can you?
          But my parents who drop me there can.

          //You cant be sworn in as a CM in shorts can you?
          But my brother who drops me at the venue can.

          Really, Sushobh, grow up! Are you even able to understand what we are talking about here?

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        • //You cant attend a job interview in shorts can you?
          But my father who drops me to the interview can wear shorts.
          — Not if he’s coming right until the interview room with you. I wouldn’t like that. First impressions last long. In the eyes of my interviewer, if my father cannot dress appropriately in a business interview setting, what can he expect of me? What I learn from my parents is what I grow up to be. If my father stays in the car and does not get out, sure.

          //You cant attend school in (colorful)shorts can you?
          But my parents who drop me there can.
          –Ditto.

          //You cant be sworn in as a CM in shorts can you?
          But my brother who drops me at the venue can.
          –Ditto.

          Really, Sushobh, grow up! Are you even able to understand what we are talking about here?
          –The schools are not trying to dictate what you wear in your home or to parties or to functions or to shopping. All they are saying is if you come to their school then come decent. Its that simple. We always crib that Indian schools don’t even try to match standards and now that they are trying to establish rules, all we can do is protest?

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        • I personally don’t think i end up being stupid and i feel that plenty of people who don’t comment here will agree with me so i wonder how my argument can be categorized into the dross section.I have expressed my agreement on a lot of posts here which i find correct and disagreement on those which i don’t. Anyway,parents here are not in charge of adults but small children who need to be set an example. Wandering around the school campus in shorts or maxies is the worst that any parent can set and this is because i have seen parents enter the campus and proceed to enter the classrooms as well where there are plenty of kids around. Doesn’t the school deserve some respect? Or aren’t the parents sane enough to be not indifferent to some standards that have to be met irrespective of your thoughts on freedom of clothing?

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        • If parents are attending PTM or school annual day or any other school day, then asking them to be in proper dress code is ok with me.

          But still I am not getting why school should form a dress code for parents, who are coming to just drop the kids.

          And as Sharmi said, by this logic even school will start dictating dress code for parents at home.

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        • @Deepa
          //All they are saying is if you come to their school then come decent.
          How you interpret this line makes the difference. A school can dictate what I wear if I enter its premise but not when I am standing or sitting in a car outside its building. They do not have the right or authority.

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        • The difference is that the parents are the customers of the school and the customer is always right. In a job interview, YOU are the one who wants something – the job.

          But this is like the employee making a dress code for the employer!

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    • Bingo Amit – would the school also go a step further and dictate what parents should wear at home? Bcoz it would “influence” children.

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      • That would be the logical next step. May be they will send “Inspectors” to see how well dressed or not parents are at home, whether they ‘dress’ for dinner et al.

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        • LOL shail .. may be few school authorities can think this also.. then they will suggest shops to buy cloths, like do for school uniform or sell by themselves.. cloths for parents sold here..🙂

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        • LOL! Thank GOD my sister and I did not study in this school. Amma used to drop us – but anyway she was a saree person. When things got crazy like an ill grand-parent in the mix, Appa would drop us. So there were mornings when Appa wore a veshti and a shirt and dragged us to school. Autos were available mid-way but they would always act smart. So Appa would then fold his veshti at his knees to get ready for the negotiation. Yes, he would drop us at the school gate. There would be other dads, and they would all shake hands and have a quick chat. Yes some dads came in colourful lungis, folded at the knees to enable them to sit astride a two-wheeler. Teachers would be arriving at the same time too. Mothers came in ‘everyday sarees’ – hair just pulled back into a knot, face glistening with all the morning effort and hawai chappals. No one gave a crap about what Appas and Ammas wore while dropping us to school. And yes, during PTA meetings, all parents came in formal clothes. The school was more interested in seeing if WE kids were well groomed – trimmed nails, polished shoes, combed hair and so on – and THAT discipline inflicted by the school has ensured I sailed into adulthood with a neat presence.

          Hell, I can’t remember Appa wearing anything APART from veshti and a shirt (or even a vest on hot days) while at home. Any local grocery shopping, he would nip out in the same veshti and shirt. Neither do I remember any of my friend’s dads dressed in trousers and shirt while at home, or while running errands.

          Going by some comments here and also the logic of this school, my friends and I should have been scarred because of veshti/lungi preference of Appas while dropping us to school, and we should have become dowdy dressers. Nothing like that has happened. Give the kids some credit for their intelligence. I’ll be damned if some stuffy school principle thinks she is well within her rights to tell ME what to WEAR on a PUBLIC road. She’s more than welcome to be unhappy about it and grumble about it and write a ranting blog about it – but she has no right to enforce it like a law.

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        • Yeah @Sumana, I agree. If you go by some of the comments here, the clothes the parents wear maketh the child.😐 I agree with some views that we Indians are a sloppy lot. But that’s NO reason for a school to impose dress code on parents, unless the parents are their students of course.😛

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  3. “In western countries too, you don’t see women in their night wear coming out to schools or markets though they are so liberal in their dress code.”

    I beg to disagree with this comment.
    I’ve seen women of all ages in the US & the UK wearing pajama pants, t-shirts & fluffy slippers perusing the mall, at the airport, going to Starbucks, dropping their kids off to school etc.
    I remember my mom dropping me off to school in California with rollers in her hair (that was the early 70’s pre-blowdryer era) and a robe thrown over her night wear.
    For whatever reason the maxi/kaftan has only caught on as evening wear/lounge wear in the US (and it isn’t very common at that).
    So anyway……is it ok with the school officials if I slip an abaya or a burqa over my jammies when I drop the children off? That’s what I did when we lived in Riyadh.

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    • Completely agree! I’m one of those people who routinely go out and do chores in my tattered old t-shirts, shorts, and flip-flops. Anything else is too much work. And too much clothing for the summer (and Indian summers are usually worse)! I was once out in these clothes and realized I’d locked myself out of the house. I had to go see a friend for dinner and had no choice but to show up in those same clothes. At first glance, she thought I was a bum coming in to use the restaurant bathroom for free (cos I lived on the street)😀

      It’s been over a decade and so far, and nobody has denied my entry to anywhere. Or even given me dirty looks.

      ***Proudly bringing down the establishment one pair of shorts-that-look-like-boxers at a time***

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    • I cosign on your comment. In the West, people pretty much walk around looking however they want to. Is it always appropriate? Nah. Embarrassing for the kids when mom shows up in rollers and house shoes? Yep. Do they do it anyway? Sure do! I think it’s crazy for the teachers to tell the parents how they can dress. India seems to be the biggest hypocritical democracy. Your constitution is no match for the hierarchal mindset thinking that seems to plague the country.

      Obviously, every situation calls for an independent evaluation. I used to work at a magazine, a very creative field, and I wore shorts to work. I wore hats, scarfs, ect. As long as my outfit was cute and fashionable, no one cares. One of my coworkers, (the art director) would wear leather chaps with metal chains for decoration. Here, it depends on what field you are in.

      But all of us would look at someone crazily if they brought their Dad to their interview, regardless of what he is wearing.

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  4. How can it be ok for some pompous lady to decide what a bunch of adults should wear? And why does she have such power? What will she do – punish the child because her dad was in shorts that morning? Even the bible says something about the sins of the father not being wrought on the child so who the hell is Dr Rosaline to do so!?

    Ok, 1 question – i remember being dropped off at the school gate and after that i was on my own. It was so quick whoever was dropping me dint even need to turn off the engine. So how does it matter what they were wearing.

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  5. The school, like any other private establishment, is well within its rights to demand every person ENTERING ITS PREMISES to adhere to a dress code. But to ask parents who’re only dropping their uniformed kids to school to not wear certain outfits?!! That’s ridiculous and no business of the school’s! To find out what this kind of a power imbalance results in, read on.

    I went to such a school, too. I remember our school principal, of all people, chiding the KIDS during one morning assembly for what their PARENTS wear while dropping them off. I remember as kids we’d all like the teachers who were new to the school, and notice when they got ‘converted’. Meaning, they developed an attitude. They started talking about Hollywood actors and films that the rest of us hadn’t heard of cos there was no cable TV in India yet! The students and their parents, in turn, would suddenly become too declasse for them. Once, the day prior to an annual day function, they even said (again, during the morning assembly) – “Our chief guest tomorrow is so please ask your parents TO BEHAVE.”

    The teachers all had huge egos and knew they could get away with murder. They never hesitated in putting any parent who questioned them in his/her place, sometimes even right in front of the kids.

    I grew up with a MASSIVE inferiority complex, all thanks to my school and my teachers. I didn’t want ANYONE I knew to meet my parents, because I thought they didn’t “get it.” I know everyone thinks their parents are uncool but this was at a whole ‘nother level. I was ashamed of the fact that my mom would speak up at the PTA (and the teacher would scold me privately for it). The same teacher, a few years later, asked me if my mom could TUTOR HER SON!

    I was ashamed of the locality where I used to stay, because I’d heard the teachers in my school call it a place “not worth living in.” I even remember trying to talk my parents into selling that house and buying another one elsewhere. I remember my Dad saying, “But it’s good enough for YOUR SCHOOL!!!” That’s right. I used to stay walking distance from my school. So to the teachers it was a place not worth living in but definitely worth finding employment in and spending half of their waking hours in! Go figure.

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  6. I am in two minds on this issue.
    I haven’t yet formed an opinion on this.
    Let me read what others have to say and may be I will be able to come to a conclusion.

    For now, let me say that I believe in being well-dressed and would prefer to see parents well dressed when they come to school to set an example to children. A school is a formal place, like an office. I prefer to see people fully and formally dressed at schools and offices.

    But I also believe a school cannot dictate to parents in these matters.
    At most they can say that parents cannot enter the school premises dressed in nighties.
    How they dress outside is none of their business.

    I also wonder why the nightie is becoming an issue.
    My wife wears them all day at home and changes into a salwar kameez or a sari when she goes out.
    I now stay in an apartment block and she does not venture beyond the corridoor leading to the staircase and lifts, dressed in a nightie.
    Earlier when we lived in an independent house, she would venture just a few feet outside the gate to buy vegetables from the push cart vendor. But she would definitely not be seen in a nightie at our children’s school. She never had to drop my kids at school. That was my privilege. I would never have gone to school to drop them dressed in my Bermuda shorts and Tee Shirts that I normally wear at home. But I did see a few parents dressed like that but they mostly stayed inside the cars or continued to sit on their scooters and would not enter the school premises dressed (or rather half dressed) like that.

    But is the nightie really an improper dress?
    Is it to be worn only for the night?
    It covers better than a sari and in the opinion of a particular blogger it should be India’s national dress for woman!
    While not germane to the present issue, you may like to read this hilarious take on the Nightie
    I found it amusing. Please read if interested.

    http://www.firstpost.com/living/all-hail-the-nightie-the-new-indian-national-dress-367023.html

    Regards
    GV

    Like

    • I agree. One one hand , the school has absolutely no right to dictate what the parents wear or do not wear when they go to drop their kids at school. Its really none of their business, in fact.

      But on the other hand, my personal opinion is that a person, whenever stepping out of the house must look presentable. And being dressed in nightwear, fluffy sandals and rollers in the hair does not come under presentable. I don’t meant sit down in front of a mirror with you whole make up kit, or show up dressed to the nines in a tailored suit and tie. I just mean run a hairbrush through your hair at least. To me, that’s just basic social etiquette.

      And to answer your question, IHM, I really don’t think these schools would oppose women dropping of their children to school in shorts or anything. I feel they are just against the whole just-got-out-of-bed look, which I can understand, really. But then again, that does not give them the right to control what the parents wear. That was a little out of line

      Like

    • Had a good laugh at ‘Nightie as India’s national dress for women’ LOL! Why not?

      Here is some nightie economics LOL! At least in Bangalore, the price of salwaar kameezes are ridiculous if you ask me. Nighties on the other hand, come in all price tags – and are more afforable to a vast majority, than buying salwaar kameezes (for everyday home wear). A good cotton nightie with beautiful prints is Rs200-Rs300 whereas a good quality cotton salwaar can cost upwards of 800 or 1000. You would’nt want to wear an ‘expensive’ salwaar when you know the rasam will splatter while boiling! When you eventually put the nightie for wash – it is just one garment unlike the salwaar kameez.; an important consideration for many who don’t have a washing machine, and who don’t get a regular supply of water. In many households the washing of vessles/clothes is done outside – and the nightie is most definitely a convenient, modest garment for this purpose. Being cotton, the nightie is also best when one is cooking many things in the rush of the morning. Another advantage is that nighties don’t need ironing – and when after all that cooking breakfast for several mouths, making coffee, packing lunch or tiffin, supervising the maid – there is precious little time left for ironing a salwaar kameez and self-grooming.

      The concept of wearing a pyjama and tee or any ‘pant-resembling’ garment is a no-no in many, many households even today. Its either saree, salwaar or nightie.

      Yes, the parents of these students are mostly upper middle-class; and in this case, it is not about the economics – but simply the absolute lack of time to even wash one’s face in the morning. The women turning up in nighties probably have husbands who leave for work early – and so for about 3 – 4 hours, the women have to single-handedly battle it out in the kitchen with the cooking, with the cleaning, ensuring the children are groomed, they’ve taken their books, their homework, their craftwork and what have you. Depending on their proximity to school, many have to take into consideration the hideous traffic, availability of autos etc.

      The school should be concerned with the puncutality of the students, rather than the fashion sense of the parents.

      Like you, I am stickler for looking presentable when I step outside. But ‘presentable’ is such a subjective word! To me, a woman in a nightie, with neatly combed hair, flowers in her plait, fresh face is far more presentable than a woman in ill-fitting, expensive clothes!

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  7. The parents might have been doing more important tasks than grooming according to someone else’s standards. Working hard to cook a nutritious meal or getting things ready for work, for instance. No one has the right to impose restrictions on the parents’ dress code. Imposing is one thing but parents following the rule with no questions asked out of fear or any other reason teaches a wrong lesson to the kids.
    If I were in that position I would have a talk with the principal detailing why I cannot follow her rules and convey my hope that my child continues to get a good education and treatment nevertheless.

    Like

  8. This is what I call stupid issues..

    When we have so many important ones to take care of.. how the hell does it matter if I wear a short to drop my kid to school…
    The teacher’s shud concentrate on the child if he is dressed properly rather than checking out MY LEGS… In shorts…

    Like

  9. School management cannot decide what parents of children who study in their school wear outside of their premises. Period. They are there to drop off the kid and hurry back to their chores, get ready and either head out for work or do more work at home.
    However, I have found that generally people lack the sense to dress well when they step out. Nothing wrong in that, their body, their clothes, their wish. But I wish people would develop some sense as to dress appropriately while going out. It builds class, culture and teaches their kids too. A maxi in a market out mall looks completely out of place and awkward. Every body has bad hair days and dress days on days when things are completely haywire and that is fine. But at least make an effort to dress appropriately. It definitely makes an impression.
    And I personally think people in a nightie/maxi/night dress come across as clumsy and simply too lazy to change their dress.

    Like

  10. I guess this also tells us something about our society. We apparently accept being told what to do, even like to be told what to do. We cannot distinguish between the right of every person and organisation to have its own guidelines and code of conduct and imposing that code on others The latter is not a right… but we seem to think that if enough people say so, or one person in authority says so or we happen to agree with the one person that said so, then imposition is fine. No wonder we have a government that behaves like a ruler instead of a servant of the people (Amit Verma has written about this on his blog) that elected it and by and large it gets away with it.

    Like

  11. What I want to wear is my choice and no one decides this. Rather than focusing on kids,these schools are emphazings rules where they are not required.

    Infact nightie is a great outfit,it makes you so comfortable and relaxed.

    Like

  12. While I welcome the idea of not seeing the nightie + towel combo “in public”,I don’t think anybody should decide what somebody else *should* wear ….for all you know somebody finds my no make up no jewelry look dry and no way I am changing all that for anybody!

    Like

  13. i would be embarrassed, if someone/ school tells or teaches me what to wear and what not to? its personal choice.. they shouldn’t be bothering me as long as i send my kid to school in proper school uniform.
    yes, i have experienced this. when i had to take my daughter to hospital on an emergency. my husband came in his shorts. doctor didnt allow him into the casualty ward as they felt that he was not properly dressed. i thought doctors just saw patients , didnt know that they noticed dresses too..😦
    //If the mother dresses well, so will the kids.//
    who said, there is no condition. my mom might dress according to her taste and take her own time, while i do /wear things differently.
    //How do the kids benefit from knowing that their parents are not allowed to wear maxi/nightie and shorts when they drop them to their school?//
    it would be like a threat to kids mind.. they will be scared to be next to you when u are dressed in shorts or maxi and wouldn’t want u next to them. will try hiding you from the school vicinity. i seriously dont see any benefit at all.

    it is like, My EX-college VC saying, BAN all bright colours in college campus, as i feel it will attract and distract professors. so who is he blaming? the professors who teach? the students whom he thinks attract opposite sex? or is he showing his dislike to particular colour?

    Like

  14. My dream is to be to able to go to work in a nightie .. if it is a formal meeting I promise to go in a two piece (mean a robe) … the only challenge I see with it is some of the men may say – ek chai banao …
    Jokes apart .. schools have no right to impose any restrictions on parents as long as they are not entering their premises.

    Like

  15. this one is amusing to say the least ! If what parents wear out would have an “influence” over the children then what about what they wear at home ? The next thing we will hear is notices from school cautioning us about our indoor wear ! The morning rush is something that befuddles even a homemaker and the pressure on a working parent is very much understandable.Having said that I believe that our day-to-day wear inside closed doors is a personal choice but once we step out we need to be presentable and the just-out-of-bed look is strictly no-no. But the schools definitely have no say regarding that

    Like

  16. Anyone who hasn’t been in Bangalore for reasonable amounts of time may not understand this context. This is one city (only city I have seen) where women are in nighties ALL the time. Morning/evening/everywhere. IHM, maxis are different. These are clearly nighties. And you’ll see it often in bazaars, just anywhere at all.

    I don’t personally like it and therefore make appropriate personal choices.

    If we can say ‘business casual’, then I think we can say nighties don’t tell well of people who wear them around everywhere. I don’t believe people wear them to school interviews or any place they want present a decent impression at.

    That said, I don’t think anyone can tell another what to wear.

    Like

    • Sangitha, looks like you haven’t been to Kerala. People here are also almost always in their nighties. The only dress women are allowed to wear (by the men and their other family members) other than sari is a ‘nightie’. At least it is more convenient than the sari. So they naturally wear it most of the time.
      Our objection to nighties comes from the fact that it is a nightwear. Well, if we just stop thinking of it as nightwear and only as a loose convenient dress some people like to wear, we may be able to better accept it.

      Like

  17. I used to drop my nephew to school in my baggy, faded jeans with an XXL T (and Im thin) and a funky cap. Once he told me to drop him off at the start of the lane instead of at the gate. I was curious. Why wd he (my lazy darl) want to walk wen he needn’t.
    After much probing he said, teacher said something abt my dress and laughed in class. I was sooo angry. But I didnt go an make a hungama bcs my parents wd kill me and probably side with teacher anyway (my parents hate my tomboy look). Next day I waited for her to come outta the school and cornered her; gave her such a blasttt and ended with ‘And if you dare to take this out on my nephew I will report you for child abuse’! I was a journalist then and she took me quite seriously. Ahhh it felt sooooooo good! That memory still make me grin like maddd

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  18. ““It is indiscipline to run out like that. ” Interesting.
    I am sure every school kid has heard that Archimedes allegedly stepped out of his bath going “Eureka”. Innovation vs “indiscipline”? Somehow, I think the former weighs a little more than the latter. Also, very interesting to note that the schools are in the business of educating parents for free. Now that fees doesn’t seem exorbitant anymore does it? (PS: Sarcasm intentional!)

    Like

    • Lol, Agnija. Don’t let the schools hear you. They might just start charging parents for what as of now they are getting for free: tips on how to dress😛

      Like

  19. If the parent is entering the school premises, then they have a right to dictate what anyone entering the school wears. I have personally gone and dropped my kids, always seated in my car, dressed in my pyjamas and top, which is my nightwear. If I am comfortable driving in it, and I am not going inside the school, who the hell’s business is it to tell me what to do? I would have raised a bad stink had my kids’ school done something so irrational. Why are parents so meek? I shoot off letters to Principal very often, and he has always taken them in the right spirit. I think it is the cowardly parents who are at fault.

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  20. What I find amusing about people who have taken a moral highstand as regards shorts and maxis is WHO exactly decides what’s appropriate and what’s not and on what basis? Who has decided that maxis and for that matter shorts are not up to standard as a form of dress for dropping children to school? On what basis? And HOW exactly is it a bad influence on children? It is only when some people wrinkle their noses and start making adverse comments that children take note and start feeling something is wrong. If no one bothered or talked derogatorily about what other parents wore, no kid is going to give this a second thought. My foot, there are so many things that affect children and which has to be given thought. Maxis and shorts or jammies worn by parents are the last thing that’s going to impact them in the wrong way.

    Like

    • Its just every individual’s opinion Shail. You and I are not the ones who made the rules for the school – that came out from the school. I cannot talk for others. Only for myself. I would not go to a school wearing shorts to drop my child off. Only reason being if the school feels that they’re trying to maintain some sense of decorum. Not because of modesty. I would love to wear shorts. To casual events. What is so wrong in grooming one’s appearance? Its not the shorts or the maxi that’s a problem – I am guessing its more that don’t wear your nightclothes to school. Anyway, end of the day, we would all have opinions – may or may not gel together – but that’s the beauty of having varied discussions isn’t it?

      Like

      • Opinions definitely vary, in fact that’s why I gave mine. My point is not about discussions. Discussions are ALWAYS beautiful. Mine is was a question (in general) as to who exactly decides which dress is acceptable and which is not and how it affects kids. I find the whole thing pretty amusing. What’s debated today is acceptable tomorrow. And yet, we never learn.

        Like

      • And Deepa, I too have my standards on what I would wear and not wear. I definitely would not go out in my nightie.Old rules are hard to leave behind. So I don’t even go outside my bedroom in it. But that does not mean I won’t speak up for the freedom of others to dress as they prefer.🙂

        Like

        • Am glad we agree on that🙂 LOL. I do saunter around in the house wearing my nightie or maxi as it is now being called, but I have a very strict rule for myself for not going out wearing that. I might wear a frock or a gown which might be the same kind as far as being airy and comfortable goes, but definitely not my nightwear. I have been wondering the same myself, who gets to decide? It should be the individual’s opinion as long as its in public. Maybe the school has a right to lay down rules for anyone stepping into their premises, but on the roads outside the school, definitely not.

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        • I agree shail, it is the most idiotic useless thing our schools could think off. They can set rules inside their premises, but if i’m dropping off kid by car andwaving a big Ta Ta from outside the school why should the school object. and anyway their business is teaching, teach the subjects you are expected to , teach them to follow your rules and be done. me dressing in nightie or not is irrelevant to my kids education. sometimes we take our roles a bit too far.
          My sons school demanded that both parents attend the conf one year. ok do you have flexible scheduling as in .. these are the dates and times and we sign up for the most convienient slot.. NOPE. they gave us a day and time and expected us t show up, well guess what my husband was in a mtg in Vienna and he sure as hell didn’t want to drop it to attend the PTm for a 3rd std kid who was by all respects doing quite well and no complaints cam ehome.. oh boy you would have thought we commited murder, i got a lecture fromt he teacher and asst principal on child rearing etc., etc., it was quite humiliating. and we had always supported them , attended every function, making sure we met the teachers on a regular basis etc., they had the gall to ask me if my husbands mtg was more imp than the kid.. err no but it sure as hell is more imp than a PTm for a 3rd std kid…I kept quite didn’t want to upset my son and then met the principal and correspondant the next day. sure you can tell me you won’t meet me without my spouse but berating me on my child rearing is stepping out of bounds and we made sure they knew.
          but yes, it’s a matter of control adn power and showing who’s boss – as in all spheres in india , we learn to live with crap like this and try to change daily.

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  21. The bangalore school rule came I believe as a result of one of the child getting bullied by peers since him mom used to drop him to school in a nightie.
    However, I would think it fair for the school to set up such a rule if it wants to – people can put their children in other schools if they dislike the rule. Some workplaces demand formal dressing – some are ok to see employees walking in wearing shorts. And it would be ok for such places to set rules.
    Not every nightie can be worn outside home – some may be sheer etc…if that offends the school they may set up rules – if that offends you ..put your child in another school. Zimble!

    Like

    • “The bangalore school rule came I believe as a result of one of the child getting bullied by peers since him mom used to drop him to school in a nightie.”
      If this is the case then changing the dress code is the worse possible response to bullying. So the school is giving in to a bunch of loud mouth school kids. Way to show strength. Instead of disciplining the kids and telling teaching them tolerance the school decides to force everyone else to conform. What’s next? If some kids bully another about how ugly his/her mom is will the school make a rule to stop ugly people from dropping their kids off.

      Like

    • scholls can dictate inside their premises, how i dress outside the gate or in a street corner is my personal business. our high school biology teacher criticized us on our non-cotton dupattas, someof us went the georgette way !!!! oh folded and pinned et all.. and she wore her saree shabily in what the boys called percentage pallu showing off her blouse covered breasts yet noone seems to care since she wore a saree and we wore a punjabi dress ( very risque in those days long long ago) .. we always have diff standard for diff folks🙂 andlike someone said todays indecent shorts will be the decent wear tomorow.

      Like

    • //”The bangalore school rule came I believe as a result of one of the child getting bullied by peers since him mom used to drop him to school in a nightie.”//

      And this is the response to such a situation? I’d hate for my children to study in such a school. How about some strict action against the bullying ones? How about teaching them some respect for others’ choices? Isn’t that what a school is about, ‘educating’ the child? Instead the school chooses to control the parents?! #Fail

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      • Whoa! Now this is news to me. All this because of a bullying incident. The whole ragging thing should be extended to bullying at school as well. And here I was think the school wanted to set some standards.

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  22. I agree that schools can’t dictate what parents should wear… but, I also wish parents dressed decently when they step out of the houses and not in torn shorts or “nighties”
    Whether its to simply drop off kids or whether its to step inside the school premesis – one needs to dress decently and when I say decent – I dont mean fancy, designer clothes!

    Like

  23. I do not think that schools should be policing what parents wear. That is oversteppng boundaries.
    As for whether people should wear their nightclothes or casual lounging at home clothes in public, it should be up to the people themselves. Too casual for me maybe appropriate street wear for another.

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  24. I personally do have a big problem in “external appearances”. I hate it when people say that it takes only a few minutes to make oneself presentable, then whats the harm. (I say, it takes lesser time to not tell others what to wear, then whats the harm in shutting up!). Wearing ironed clothes, wearing matching accessories, etc. does seem unnecessary to me. Clean clothes-yes, that is required because it pertains to being hygienic. (but then again, this factor depends on the person also, depending on how many clothes they can afford, how often they can afford to wash etc. We are after all not talking only about people with means here!). I work in the software/electronics industry and there are days when I go to work wearing track pants or even shorts. In our company apart from the managers, I have seen most of the engineers dress casually-read creased clothes, baggy pants/sweatshirts, shorts. (far from the definition of being “tidy”). And you know what, no one really cares! As long as we do the work we are hired to do, and as long as we do not break the company policies about behavior, everyone is happy! It has been years I have actually used an iron to iron my clothes. The reason I have a problem with over-importance to external appearances is because sometimes I feel we give more importance to external appearances than to what we think, how we behave with other people, are we being biased, are we as people adding any value to society and how we are as people. And it is not like I try to be shabby and untidy (again, these terms are relative), it is just that for most of the time I dont feel it is important to even spend few extra minutes matching my clothes, ironing them or deciding the accessories and shoes.
    So bottomline, Yes, it is the school’s rules and all that, but I do feel this rule wont be adding any value to either the students or the school. I dont think this in any way teaches children about being disciplined. And I would say, the lesser attention children pay at “how they look” and what clothes they wear or their parents wear, the better. I would think it more beneficial if the parents spend those few minutes (that would be spent in getting out of nightie, wearing good clothes, tidying oneself) talking to their children or checking if they have done their homework rather than anything else.

    Like

  25. Ummmm. Something screams “FAKE” in the entire episode. Perhaps my googling is at fault, there doesn’t seem to any “Ulsoor School of Academics” or “Dr Roseline, principal” that I can locate online (apart from references to this article).

    Not to mention that the first line of the article says 7 schools and then talks of one (apparently non-existent) one.

    Finally, common sense dictates some things … for example my school prohibited parents from smoking at the school gates. Enforcing is obviously when you enter the premises, Just like you have the right to do what you want outside the premises, the school is free to proclaim its wish that you don’t arrive in that “just dragged out of bed” state to its doorstep. If you are a reasonably intelligent parent, you can take it or leave it.

    Like

  26. I began reading posts after following a link from shakesville earlier, and I’ve been reading your blog for the past 4 hours.
    I wasn’t planning on commenting, as I’ve only ever lived in the U.S. and haven’t traveled to many other countries. I don’t want to be one of those people who judge based solely on their own cultural context – so, having very little firsthand knowledge of other cultures, and no firsthand knowledge of life in India, I was going to stay mum.
    Then I googled the dresses to see what they looked like and was shocked! When I lived in L.A., I saw these dresses everywhere and thought they were absolutely beautiful. I lived a few blocks from an Indian market that sold them – I’d walk there every week to buy nag champa incense and something to eat. I was always tempted to buy one – but, I’ve never been one for “feminine” dresses and I thought I’d feel too “girly” and uncomfortable in one. I can’t even *see* them as “lazy” clothes or pajamas. Wow, I just can’t. Within my cultural context, those dresses are so pretty and they’re “modest”, so I can’t wrap my head around anyone banning them from a public place.
    Also, it’s almost impossible for me, growing up where I did and living in that same country all my life, to *not* balk at the idea that anyone would attempt to tell me what I can or can not wear in public. So many comments keep saying that the school has the right to ban them because the premises belong to the school. Well, the mall doesn’t belong to me – but it’s still considered “public”, the grocery store doesn’t belong to me, still “public”. Plus, the school wouldn’t have any premises to speak of if the parents weren’t paying them good money. I can’t help but instantly think, “how dare they?!”
    And what is this “parents must set an example for the kids” excuse I’ve read in a few comments? It’s not as if the parent is showing up naked and drunk, or screaming racial epithets at other parents – *that* would be setting a bad example to me, not wearing something “lazy” in public. Sheesh, some of the things I see people wearing in public here astound me – 10 year old pajama bottoms, dingy t-shirt, ratty slippers. I don’t like it, I think it’s trashy – but, I would *never* consider forcing my views on “appropriate” clothing on another adult.
    And laws against smoking on school grounds are based upon the fact that the smoke could possibly hurt someone else. It reminds me of a saying a lot of anti-choicers here in the U.S. love, but I think makes more sense for a pro-choice person: “the right to swing my fist ends where the other man’s nose begins” Clothing, to me, falls within that concept of my body being my own private agent – whether I’m in my home or in public. I’ve already written a far longer comment than I intended, so I won’t go off on a tangent – but, I do realize there are some exceptions that have good reasoning behind them: public nudity is illegal, public intoxication, smoking in many public places & areas, the work place dress code. But, pajamas in public? No. I can’t see how that harms anyone & would be greatly offended if anyone attempted to ban me from deciding what clothes I put on my own body.
    Sorry – I didn’t mean to leave such a long comment. It really did shock me what dresses these “nighties” are. Those dresses are just so beautiful to me – I never would have imagined they weren’t meant to be worn outside the home!
    Brilliant blog, by the way. It breaks my heart to read about how much worse my gender is still forced to experience their lifespan, based on gender, in this world. But, I have so much respect for you and all the women who speak out about their struggle to be treated as a human being first and foremost.

    Like

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  30. Well, I am not here to comment if the school’s decision to impose a dress code on parents is wrong or the right thing to do but would like to share my experiences.

    My family lived in Singapore for the past 7 years. It is a common sight to see Indian expat women (Singapore is flooded with them) in their humble nightie’s below most HDB blocks. The indian kids would play in the parks and their mom’s in nighties will have a casual conversation almost every evening. You could catch a glimpse of a nightie worn woman in market places, shopping for fresh fish too.

    Now, you must know that a country like Singapore is multi-racial. I have observed the other communities dress impeccably if they do step out of their homes. It could be Shorts or Skirts or Jeans or Salwar or Sari or the Malay traditional dress or the Chinese traditional dress. I have heard a few nasty comments from my colleagues, of other races and the singaporean native Indians , about what an ugly image the nightie creates about Indian expats. It is not about the dress (nightie) , it’s length or how much it covers. It’s basic common sense that you don’t roam streets in your sleep wear.

    I have found it quiet embarrassing , being an Indian expat myself. Does it take couple of minutes to change into non-sleepwear , before stepping out of the home ? If you cannot give yourself that couple of minutes, what kind of a life are they leading ? This may apply to Pyjama’s as well.

    Does it need a school to intervene and bring out a rule to stop seeing parents in night-wear, inside their school compound ? Isn’t it common sense ?

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