punkwalrus (punkwalrus) wrote,

Walk the walk, talk the talk, dress the part?

I am not sure how I feel about this. I am conflicted.

Wichita Middle School Cracks Down On Goths.

On one hand, you have Free Speech, yatta yatta yatta... and on the other, you have disruption of education. So let me tell you about McLean High School in 1987, and how they deal with people who dress like that: they got expelled. Bridget Huevas, a girl I used to know who got tattooed eyeliner, was booted out. Kelly Bender, who dyed her hair blue one day, got expelled as well. I'd be a liar if I said they didn't have other issues as well, and their dress was the free ticket the school was hoping for to label them as "dangerously disruptive." So my knee-jerk response was "fuck you, Witchita!"

Then I read the article, and kind of see another side. Let's take my punk/Goth love out of this for a moment. Say a female student with nice curves decides to wear a low-cut dress, miniskirt, sex-me shoes, and ... okay, say she dresses like a porn star. This is unfair to males, because her dress would give many teen males a hard-on that would beg to be taken care of. The History of the Ottoman Empire? Forget it. It can't compete with some depraved fantasy of a sexually frustrated teen boy. I know, I used to be one. And what about gang signs and such? If you are afraid you'll be shot or stabbed outside of school just for staring at someone wrong, I doubt you'll give a crap about sines and cosines.

So is dressing Goth that much different? I don't think so. Now, keep in mind, most Goths only want to scare you so you'll leave them alone. You could also say gangs do that, in essence, but Goths generally don't track you after school to beat you up, and I have never heard of Goths involved in drive-by shootings. But the ignorant don't know that. All they see is "scary people I don't understand," which, honestly, is the effect most Goths or punks are generally looking for at that age. You could say it's a more exaggerated form of protection through group identity.

[Wilbur Middle School's] dress code forbids students from wearing clothing that "create[s] a 'gang' or clique appearance," as well as accessories like "nose, eyebrow, lip or tongue rings, chains, dog collars, safety pins [and] studded clothing." According to the dress code, these items are all banned because "they disrupt the school environment or impede learning in the classroom."

And Goth would certainly fit in that category. I have seen a few blogs argue that "you could easily say that about black people/women/Islamic dress," but I disagree here, because those people don't have a choice. Goths do. Goth is not a religion, race, or creed, it's a culture, and you don't have to dress Goth to BE Goth. I know. I mean, I totally want to dress Goth, but I need to keep a job, apply for bank loans, not roast in the sun, and so on, and I could bitch and complain all I want to about how some "unfair" people "see" Goths, but in the end, it's a choice I have to make, and the consequence I have to deal with. Anyway, too many poseurs pay a lot of money at Hot Topic to play the part, so dress is meaningless to a true Goth, anyway.

Still... I own a lot of black clothing...

Anyway, the conflict lies within me, because I know my "right to be who you are" is pretty abstract, and in an ideal world, you could do that, but our world is flawed and imperfect at every twist and turn.

'I'm so glad Ms. Crain did this, because a Goth sat behind me last year and every single day he'd hiss at me like a snake.'

I'm sorry, but BWAH! First, that's probably a lie or at least a one sided story. Maybe the kid called him a '"fag" so the Goth hissed back. But even if it was unprovoked, that's pretty damn funny. Of course, it's not a Goth thing, I would hope any kid hissing behind another in class would be considered disruptive.

Maybe I can hiss at Ted. "Your so stupid loser!" Hissssss!


According to Crain, in previous school sessions, "no more than three students" wore Gothic-inspired clothing. But when the school year began last week, she noticed a group of 10 to 12 students dressed in black, wearing lipstick and makeup. She immediately called the students into her office to let them know their look violated the school's dress code.

I wonder about the density issue, like 3 is okay, but 10 to 12 is a problem. Where does this boundary lie? How about, say, 6 people dressing like Goths. "Six little Goths, hanging from a tree. One fell down in mis-ser-y..." Makes a nice jump-rope rhyme, doesn't it? But I digress. I wonder what the density of concern is? Like "After 18 students, they begin to reach critical mass, and form a black hole from which no misery can escape..."

Thus far, the students have complied.

Or so you are led to believe ... now they just THINK in black...

This entry was originally posted at http://www.punkwalrus.com/blog/archives/00000584.html
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