the right to freedom in how we live our lives

Accept what you can’t change.

Change what you can’t accept.

— Unknown

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Admiration plus for this group of boys and their parents!

You would have seen this photo, or photos like it, over the last week. They’ve popped up everywhere — emails, Facebook, newspapers, blogs.

Just in case you live in some sort of bubble: these boys were told by their teacher that the school would not relax their ‘no shorts’ uniform policy during England’s current ‘heatwave’. They were still expected to wear trousers, even though the girls were allowed to wear skirts. So, the boys decided if skirts were ok, that’s what they would wear. You can look at one of the articles here (or just Google it, there will be zillions).

The first time I heard about this, I immediately thought “brave boys”; wearing a skirt can result in enormous ridicule being heaped upon the male wearer. However, they had a very good reason for wearing these skirts: a justified protest and statement about gender inequality — except this time it was the boys on the receiving end of the unfair treatment.

‘About time,’ some people may say. Females have had to fight, and are still fighting, for equal rights in so many areas for so long.

When I was in high school (only 30 or so years ago) I remember being part of the push to allow girls to wear shorts. Up until then, the uniform for girls consisted of either a sports skirt (you know the one, with the pleats, a real prick to iron) or a shapeless tunic. I also remember girls being sent home, or forced to change into ‘lost property clothing’, when they ‘rebelled’ and wore shorts. I think I was in my third year of high school when the school board agreed to make shorts part of the uniform for girls — and initially I believe only skorts (shorts that look like a skirt) were acceptable.

It is slightly scary to think, in this day and age, we still have these antiquated regulations regarding clothes (of all things).

But, is this what it’s all about?

Is it only about fighting for equal rights?

There are many of these fights going on: gender rights, same-sex marriage, religious acceptance … what is at the core of all of these?

Freedom!

During my primary school years I recall doing a unit of work on Australia. The general gist was how great our country was, how lucky we were to live here, and how people wanted to migrate to Australia because of our basic right to freedom.

There is not an insubstantial amount of crap in that school of thought!

There is no argument that we have more ‘freedom’ than many other countries in many ways, but is there true gender equality? No! Do we have the right to follow our own religious beliefs (or non-beliefs) without risking ridicule? No! Do we have the right to marry whom we wish? No!

By all means, we should look at other countries and be thankful for what we have here. There is no doubt about that, but this does not mean we shouldn’t continue to strive for equality in all areas.

The fight for freedom is so important. We should all have this right; to be free to do what we need to do in order to be happy, comfortable and live our lives in the best way possible.

But with rights comes responsibility. In this case, the right to freedom in the way you live your life comes hand-in-hand with the responsibility to allow other people to do the same!

Congratulations, boys, on a point well made!

 

 

 

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One thought on “the right to freedom in how we live our lives

  1. Love this article!
    I have learnt during my senior years to become a much more assertive human being than in my wild youth when I was almost called ‘a ‘yes’ man, or should I say ‘woman’. Any conflict was to be avoided. During the past few months, however, I have persevered with my fight for the right of ‘little’ individuals to stand up to big bully organisations, to present assertive arguments/reasons for grievance. Without going into detail, I have eventually become a winner! How sweet it is!
    How important it is to listen to all those around us! How important it is not to dismiss thinking that doesn’t gel easily with our beliefs/thinking! How important it is that being exposed to divergent thinking enriches our very being! How important it is to encourage thinking/opinion about an infinite range of subjects!
    I like these thought-provoking quotes:
    ‘Your life is an occasion. Rise to it.’ (Suzanne Weyn) and ‘If your ship doesn’t come in, swim out to it.’ (Jonathan Winters)

    Janet

    Like

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