Japan seems to have a worldwide reputation for cute skirted uniforms loved by all ages and genders. However, Taiwan seems to have embraced the style with an unbridled enthusiasm. One only needs to look towards Taiwan’s highly organized school uniform map and subsequent online vote for the cutest uniform in the country.
Now, Taiwanese media outlets are sounding the alarm that the days of uniforms with skirts are numbered. In some cases predictions are being made which say that all uniforms containing skirts may disappear from Taiwan within the next three years.
At the root of this panic is a move by the government to “eliminate all forms of discrimination against women” in which female government workers will be no longer bound by the guys-in-pants-girls-in-skirts dress code in effect until now.
This means that female public workers like police officers, firefighters, and customs officers will not be required to wear a skirt as part of their uniforms. Probably we can all agree this should be a welcome change for firefighters as pants do seem more appropriate for the job.
The move is expected to be followed by private companies such as airlines and banks as well. The utilitarian benefits of pants are plain, but with the added bonus of being promoted under the flag of “anti-discrimination” its hard for even commercial enterprises to not want to jump on board.
While this is all well and good, news reports in Taiwan are alerting the public to the slippery-slope this may pose to the beloved school uniforms with some issuing a statement that “the provision that schoolgirls both public and private will have to wear skirts will be eliminated in three years.”
These remarks have left commentors largely divided and confused:
“Wearing skirts is discrimination?”
“Only a fool would think something so superficial is promoting true ‘equality.'”
“I think it’s kind of good. I didn’t like wearing a skirt in school.”
There were also many comments to the effect of “Wouldn’t it be best for them to choose whether they wear skirts or pants?” This hit the truth of the matter beneath the hype. The proposals announced have been to remove provisions that women must wear skirts. It didn’t explicitly say that the skirts themselves would be eliminated.
That doesn’t necessarily mean that skirts won’t disappear as the media are predicting but it still does seem likely. Women will probably be given a choice between skirts or pants, which leads us to the next popular comment online in Taiwan: “Shouldn’t men be allowed skirts as well? That would be real equality.”
Indeed, the government said themselves this was a measure to “eliminate discrimination against women” but ironically discriminated against all the male firefighters and police officers by not allowing them to wear skirts. It’s a shame too, because they could probably add a lot of flavor to the online uniform map.