Kolkata’s Acharya Jagdish Chandra Bose College has caused outrage among its students after it asked freshers to sign an affidavit saying that they will "not wear torn jeans" or "any kind of indecent dress" inside the campus. The affidavit also seeks the signature of a parent or guardian.
The affidavit that the students were asked to sign reads, "Having been admitted to Acharya Jagadish Chandra Bose College, I will never enter the college premises wearing torn or artificially torn jeans or any kind of indecent dress. I do hereby affirm that I shall wear normal civil dresses during my study period inside the entire college premises."
Kolkata College Bans Torn Jeans
The college administration defended itself by saying that the affidavit was meant to "maintain discipline among them." It also stated that such clothing causes a "disturbance in decency."
Students, however, have expressed clear opposition to the ban, asking why there should be restrictions on clothing choices. They argued that they should have the freedom to wear what they want since they are adults.
The incident has sparked a discussion on dress codes in colleges yet again. The debate over educational institutions' "dress codes" and students being able to exercise their constitutional right to freedom of expression is a long-standing one. How ironic is it that students are educated theoretically to stand up for their rights but are prevented from practicing it practically?
While it’s true that adults have the freedom to decide what to wear, there’s also something called etiquette that needs to be followed inside an educational institution. Staying away from the discussion of what kind of clothing qualifies as "decent and indecent," as it is subjective, wearing a bikini to college just because one has the right to wear what they want is discourteous. So, students on an individual level need to make conscious decisions on what to wear to college and what not to wear.
Stop Dress Policing Already!
That being said, in this case, the college authorities are deeming "torn or distressed jeans" as an "indecent outfit," which it is clearly not. While it might not qualify as a professional outfit, it certainly is not indecent on a regular college day. If the college wished to maintain etiquette in dressing and prepare students for a corporate culture, it could ask students to avoid wearing such clothing during seminars, workshops, symposiums, conferences, conclaves, summits, etc. However, prohibiting students from wearing distressed jeans, which is in no way "indecent," is definitely an infringement of rights.
Unfortunately, even in today’s society, sarees are "sanskari," but crop tops are "uncultured." So, it’s not a big surprise that distressed jeans are perceived as a "disturbance of decency. However, doesn't that sound more like a problem with a "torn mindset" than "torn jeans?" When is society going to stop dress-policing women over torn jeans and focus on patching up torn mindsets that seek to control and oppress women? We are close to 2024; why are we still not discussing smashing patriarchal mindsets that objectify and sexualise women?
Views expressed by the author are their own
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