Dress modestly, please

Academic achievement is in so many ways crucial to our future. The matter of whether jeans are worn is not.

Editorial September 26, 2013
Academic achievement is in so many ways crucial to our future. The matter of whether jeans are worn is not. PHOTO: WIKIPEDIA

Our obsession with what girls and women wear continues. At the prestigious National University of Science and Technology (NUST), up to seven female students have been fined between Rs500 and Rs1,000 for wearing tight jeans, tights or failing to wear a dupatta. It has also been reported that all women at the university have been asked to wear dupattas. While the issue is being widely discussed on social media, and among young people, the administration at NUST maintains silence with the Rector’s office denying knowledge of fines and saying only that students have been asked to wear ‘decent’ clothing on campus. The question of what is deemed ‘decent’ will, of course, vary from individual to individual and the word itself is closely associated with that other term, ‘morality’, which we brandish so freely. Women have always been a main target of morality squads and we see this happening once again, with students falling victim.

There is another issue here. Shouldn’t the administration at NUST be focusing primarily on imparting quality education? Ensuring the courses are on track and working to help students learn? Surely, how these students perform in the classroom is more significant than what they wear. Our priorities seem to be becoming more and more distorted and this should be a matter that concerns us all. Academic achievement is in so many ways crucial to our future. The matter of whether jeans are worn is not. This is something the administration at NUST needs to very carefully consider and it needs to recognise that its main role must be to ensure that pupils receive the best possible learning rather than concentrating on their attire or other actions such as keeping male and female students from interacting. This mindset is a dangerous one, feeds into the extremism we are trying to combat in society and simply detracts attention from needs that are far more pressing. This should essentially be a matter of personal choice and university-level students certainly need to be granted this most basic of liberties.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 27th,  2013.

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GoingBananaz? | 10 years ago | Reply

wow so much attention for those few rule-breaking chicks...... i see students from withing NUST going NUTS on the above mentioned affair.... seriously making a mountain out of a mole hill..... go on go spoil your own uni's prestige on such a trifling issue..... @ the ET....... you need to work harder this wasnt some mature reporting!

Aisha Shaukat Awan | 10 years ago | Reply

If family as an institution reserves the right to educate its members of the values, social norms, of the rights and wrongs; of what is or what isn’t appropriate, universities as institutions also reserve this right. Quality education is important no doubt, but dress code is also important. Why are there hundreds of books on how to present yourself (which includes how to dress up in a meeting, how to dress up in an interview, what to wear and what not to wear). There are special trainings provided for interviews, in which one of the most important thing that is highlighted is how interviewees should be dressed. A business school must therefore instill these values as well.

I am sorry to see such horrendous effects of the cultural and mental imperialism rampant in our media. Religion, gender, and Muslim women’s dress have been among the favorites of western media. Indeed our free media must follow the same trends and patterns. There are other major issues concerning the nation and its public that the media should devote its time, space, and mental effort to. I agree with the author it definitely “detracts attention from needs that are far more pressings.”

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