Students across Japan kindly ask any teacher who suggests this rule be looked into.
School dress codes have always been a source of controversy around Japan. With each school exercising their own authority on how long your bangs can be or what color underwear you must have, it sometimes makes one wonder if it’s all really worth cramming everyone into an arbitrarily chosen aesthetic uniformity.
For Twitter user Yuichiro, who was taking a trip down memory lane, the item in question was the humble ponytail. Generally considered a conservative hairstyle suitable for the office or other formal environments, one school considered it to be a tad bit risqué for them.
Yuichiro’s look back to his middle school days of 2013, has triggered a lot of discussion on Twitter for the reasoning behind it. According to his thread, a teacher in their 20s or 30s was behind the proposal on the grounds that ponytails, and the way they revealed girls’ necks, “conjured lustful feelings in boys.”
ゆういちろう@ずωだ通信担当 (@yuuitirou528) July 29, 2017
Yuichiro was unsure whether the older teachers were for or against the proposal but his mother, who was at the PTA meeting where it was discussed, said there were more than a few confused people with one adult commenting, “So, if I wear a ponytail, all the boys will be after me too?”
Yuichiro was surprised as well, because as a teenage boy himself he never really considered a girl’s neck all that interesting relative to other body parts. Young netizens agreed that the neck wasn’t all that arousing, even though some people may be into it…which they believe was likely the case with the teacher who proposed the rule.
“I think it’s the teacher who gets all horned up by ponytails.”
“It was definitely an old guy who had the idea that the napes of necks are sexual.”
“When I was a junior high student, I was not excited by that at all. I liked breasts.”
“So, pigtails are okay then?”
“Yeah… I’m not at all into necks.”
“Heck, some people are turned on by horses asses, but I don’t see anyone banning that teacher from school.”
“Yeah, it’s definitely old guys who are into necks.”
“The guy who thought up this rule is the one to look out for.”
“Does this make Your Name an adult video then?”
It should be noted that ponytail bans are not common in Japanese schools. Some schools do maintain a no-ponytail policy, but only as a remnant of very old and strict rules that no one had bothered to change. Most educational facilities draw the line at dye jobs or perms, and stricter schools will put the kibosh on untied hair below the shoulder line.
However, those are all more about imposing conformity than “protecting the female students.” In this case the school was clearly considering restricting the freedoms of female students based solely on the premise that male students are automatically suspected of being sexual predators.
So everyone loses, and therein lies the anger among young people. Yuichiro was – and still is – also confused by this proposal but in the end said he never bothered to fight it. He tweeted that his school was on the chopping block anyway, and this year has been assimilated due to lack of students caused by the country’s shrinking birthrate.
If only the previous generation had worn more ponytails…