Neither miniskirts or short shorts, nor low-cut or “cai-cai” blouses, nor slippers or trousers showing underwear – at the Cardoso Lopes Schools Group, in Amadora, students were advised as soon as they arrived about the type of clothing they needed. could not use. The notice, with explanatory drawings, made it clear what was prohibited and what was allowed.
It was this notice that a mother photographed and which was shared this Wednesday on social networks by singer Sónia Tavares, who revealed her indignation: “In 1993 I was going to secondary school dressed as Luís XV, with straws in my hair, shoes buckle, ruffles and shorts and my individuality was never questioned by any teacher or teacher, only one or another fool in the class, as always, was the boss. go back?” asked the lead singer of The Gift.
It is true that the notice refers to the Student Statute, which is an official and national statement, but it only reads – in section III, article 10, paragraph v), among the many rights and duties of the student – that the student must “present themselves with appropriate clothing and footwear, depending on their age, the dignity of the space and the specificity of school activities, in compliance with the rules established at the school”. There is no mention of miniskirts or cleavage.
The Internal Regulation of the Cardoso Lopes Schools Group (2017-21) is more detailed and establishes that the student must “present yourself at the School with clean clothing, which avoids exposing parts of the body that may violate public modesty”.
Asked by TVI24, the Schools Group guarantees that the notice has already been removed, as well as all other notices that were posted and that had been signed by the previous principal. The new board, which took office in August, would not comment on the notice or what would be garments that “may attack public modesty” or explain why the school had felt the need to specify dress rules. The Group also guarantees that the regulation will be revised soon.
Why do girls have more prohibitions than boys?
However, the publication by Sónia Tavares opened the door to the discussion in the comment box: can public schools impose dress code on students?; and why are these rules mainly aimed at girls?; What is, after all, “dignified clothing”?
The singer Márcia commented: “And there are only rules for girls. This is unbelievable”. The presenter Ana Markl wrote: “I can’t believe it”. Model Luís Borges joked: “I’ll have to give away all my daughter’s clothes”.
This is an old discussion and it regularly gains visibility. In a quick search for the regulations of some schools, it is possible to see that the majority is based on the vague formulation proposed by the Student Statute, with some even opting not to make any reference to the students’ clothing.
But there are also schools that place in their regulation the prohibition of specific pieces of clothing. For example, the regulation of the José Régio Secondary School, in Vila do Conde (2016), lists the “beach clothing, clothing that shows underwear or ostensibly parts of the body and clothing with images considered disrespectful”.
And the regulation of the Camilo Castelo Branco Schools Group, from Famalicão (2019), recalls that “not all clothes are appropriate for the school context”, therefore prohibiting ” slippers (Havaianas type); beach shorts; garments that allow you to see the belly, underwear or buttocks; shorts, skirts or dresses that are too short to show parts of the body“.
“Unfortunately this is not a new situation and over time cases like this have been made public and have become a topic of discussion”, he begins by commenting to TVI24 Beatriz Vieira, activist on the Feministas.pt platform.
Fashion and the way we dress is an important tool for expression and, therefore, it is especially serious that in schools where young people of ages in which this expression is so important are dealt with, you have these attitudes.”
Beatriz Vieira also regrets that the bans are mostly directed at girls:
“The truth is that society has always tried to control women and their bodies and clothing enters into this control”, he says.
Another thing that worries me is for a school to send a message to girls that they are less worthy people because they wear miniskirts or a bigger cleavage. This discrimination and oppression that women suffer and have suffered in terms of clothing control over the years is another form of violence against women and therefore I think it is important that some guardians have questioned this attitude on the part of the school, I think this backward attitude must not be tolerated and that these discriminatory methods must be ended within schools, as these must be a place where young people can express themselves with the greatest freedom.”
“We haven’t had any complaints”
Alberto Santos, from Confap – National Confederation of Parent Associations, explains to TVI24 that this organization does not have a position on this matter since it has been raised neither by parents nor by students for a long time. “Right now it’s a non-issue,” he says.
“We have not had any complaints. In public schools there is, in general, some latitude when it comes to dress rules. We know that some directors may have had some intervention to solve one or another case, which may occur, but in general there is a consensual understanding of what is in the Student Statute”, says the official. “It’s a matter of common sense, there’s usually no need for more rules or bans.”