Dress modestly, please

Published: 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

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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Reader Comments (7)

  • Toticalling
    Sep 26, 2013 - 11:09PM

    I agree with your editorial fully, but surely you know the reason for these restrictions. I wish you could say openly that the restrictions imposed over 1000 years ago are not valid today. It is that simple, but since our sense of reason has been evaporating with the obsession of one direction, we cannot reverse the trend. At least we can say that the rights for all individuals to choose is more important than anything else.


  • Anber
    Sep 27, 2013 - 10:46AM

    It is sad & baffling to see ET’s views on a subject matter that they lack research in. Firstly, there are stricter dress code restrictions on boys in NUST than they are on girls. Jeans are not allowed for boys and girls alike. The article starts with wrong facts & misrepresents it by playing the women rights card. Secondly, let me clarify that NUST is producing the brightest of the brightest kids. Having two immediate family members who have studied from NUST & being in the corporate sector, I have no doubts that NUSTians are performing better than LUMS grads at the moment. Thirdly these dress code restrictions are on the Business School students only & not the other 10-11 schools of NUST…. Having said that, Publications & Blogs like ET continue doing what we have abundance of in Pakistan – immature journalism ! Defaming without fact check should be taken to courts .


  • khan
    Sep 27, 2013 - 11:02AM

    dress code is also in Standford hospitals. are they also myopic..liberals please uniform is uniform..u people are making a mountain out of a molehill


  • A.Raja
    Sep 27, 2013 - 12:52PM

    (Student at NUST)
    I am astonished that you went ahead to say so much without even looking into the matter.
    let me correct you on a few things:
    First of all you start off by saying that our obsession with girls’ dress code. you’re trying to portray this matter in the light of gender issues which is not the case because the gentlemen have a dress code too
    secondly you say that all female students at the university are forced to wear dupattas. this is also NOT true. Only one department (Nust business school) has this rule. and even they dont force them to cover their heads.
    the rest of the dress code that you have an issue with is also not implemented in any of the other schools at NUST. only the business dept which claim that they do this to train the students for the corporate culture. Which is also part of education which seems to be the issue here. Why have we limited our definition of education?
    The male female interaction is also allowed during working hours. and also after that. Just the cafeterias have been segregated. There are no such rules which is why i reiterate that you should look more into the matter before ridiculing the institution.
    In short. what you said was NOT based on facts but just rumors or were vastly exaggerated and twisted. And that is just poor reporting on your part but hats off because it got you the attention you seeked


  • Rafia
    Sep 27, 2013 - 12:54PM

    Shouldn’t Express Tribune be concentrating on issues bigger than this if NUST is supposed to concentrate only on Education and not personal grooming?


  • Aisha Shaukat Awan
    Sep 27, 2013 - 1:36PM

    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.”


  • GoingBananaz?
    Sep 27, 2013 - 6:02PM

    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!


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