If you have gone through any part of the conventional schooling system, chances are good that you have some sort of experience with dress codes. These dress codes usually have something to do, for better or for worse, (but usually for worse), with covering up the female body. But a university in Belgium actually told their students to do the opposite–Free University of Brussels is receiving a lot of flack after sending an email to its graduating medical school students that instructed female students to wear shirts with a “nice revealing neckline.” (The guys, naturally, were told only to wear a suit.)
Free University of Brussels Graduation dress code PHD medics
Young Women: skirt or dress +NICE CLEAVAGE ? https://t.co/wHP2zUCuOp
— Principessa (@Beatrice356) May 31, 2017
Yes, really. After the story got out, university officials had to confirm that the email, which said that “from an aesthetic point of view, it is better for young women to wear a dress or skirt, and a nice revealing neckline” was not a hoax, and probably sent by a female staff member. The university has since issued an apology to its students via email:
Translated, this means, “This is a mail addressed to future graduates and giving practical instructions for the day of the ceremony. It goes without saying that the instructions relating to the clothing of young graduates are as inappropriate as they are contrary to the values defended daily by the ULB and its Faculty.”
I am sure that not everything translates correctly here, but still–that is a word salad if I’ve ever seen one. (And I know my word salads!) Still, an apology is probably about all one can expect here, so the best course of action here is probably to let bygones be bygones.
— Rachel Tavernor (@rtavernor) May 30, 2017
But, just to reiterate: Telling a woman to wear a low-cut top to her med school graduation because it is “better for young women” is sexist, just as it is sexist to tell a girl not to wear a low-cut top at school because it might distract the boys there. Basically? Let’s not have anyone but the women who are dressing themselves dictate what goes on or off their body, particularly if it’s done in a way that vastly differentiates them from the guys. It’s a lot easier for everyone that way.
What do you think of this graduation dress code? Let us know in the comments!