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Uniforms, uniformity and individuality, uniqueness

14 Dec

Uniforms. They’re everywhere. In shops, on the street, in shopping malls, railway stations, airports. You name it. Everywhere.

The Polis for example now wear spanking uniforms. Lots of different types. Body armour too. Pointy helmets in the right place only of course. To set the uniforms off Police Cars have gone silver. Very fetching. Even their flashing lights have gone disco and their sirens? Well, if they hear a siren on a USA TV  cop show and it sounds good then it should work equally well in Scotland

The Fire Brigade. They’ve also introduced colour.  They can’t afford to be left behind. They have a sort of mustard thing going on at the moment. Helmets are shaped much more interestingly and even some fire engines have gone white.

Nurses uniforms. Well things have certainly changed since Barbara Windsor squeezed into one. Name a colour and there is a nurse or some other health worker who will have pulled a uniform on in just that colour or shade. Kind of tricky to know who is a nurse and who is an orderly or a cleaner if you don’t have a shade chart though. And ambulances are going yellow.

The Army wear camouflaged uniforms when they are “in theatre”.  The Army kind of needs a uniform. Maybe not all the time but mostly. You don’t want to shoot one of your mates instead of the chap shooting at you because he has the same clothes on now would you? The Red Coat Uniform may not be a great choice these days however. A flamboyance which is no longer affordable.

Hi-viz rules. Elfnsafety likes hi-viz. You’re much less likely to get squished if you wear hi-viz.

So uniforms are for identification, belonging and protection as well as identifying status.

In business the uniform is a suit, collar and tie. It’s not nearly as popular as it used to be. I don’t wear a tie. I wear a suit when I have to but never with a tie. I don’t wear a tie because I just don’t like wearing ties. Most days I’m in jeans. When I worked more in IT than business I worked with businesses who should have had a dress UP Friday. They certainly couldn’t have dressed down any further. There uniform was no uniform.

Uniforms conformity have a place but not in schools.  There is a family not that far from me with two wee girls. One goes to school and other is too young. The older girl wears a school uniform like almost every other child that walks through the school gate. When it’s not a school day the older girl is obviously encouraged to choose the clothes she wears with no guidance or input at all.

Last Saturday Mrs TT and I were at a local arts centre at event and coincidently, so were the family and the wee girls. The older one was dressed as a dragon, complete with tail, the younger sister was a dressed as a fox complete with tail also. Excellent. Other times we’ve seen then the older girl dressed in a myriad of colours. Again excellent.

We want and need our children to be individuals. We want them to be innovative, creative and have the confidence to question. I know the arguments for school uniforms, levelling, encouraging belonging and it looks nice doesn’t it?

Lot’s of schools all over the world don’t have uniforms. Children are in school to learn loads of stuff so they can take their place in society be it as a scientist, artist or any one or more of hundreds of potential careers.

Can’t we let our children be as free as possible, for as long as possible? Can’t we encourage our children to be individuals and not follow the herd? Or at least encourage them to recognise the herd and then personalise it for themselves?

We owe it to our children to help them develop into the people they want to be whilst ensuring they stay outside the walls of the nearest prison unless of course the uniform is quite fetching and it’s lure is undeniable.

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Posted by on December 14, 2011 in Education, General

 

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