Article by: Eve H.
Video by: BTV
As a seventh grader with a relatively positive body image, walking into the uniform shop and being told I was a High School size ‘Large’ was a shock. The newly released BTV episode, “Insight on ISM’s Uniform Shorts”, really struck a chord with me and urged me to write my own response to the video. Of all of the nine high schoolers interviewed, every single person said that the shorts were uncomfortable and did not fit them.
Inclusivity is integral to our school’s philosophy, but the fact that the uniform shorts do not fit anyone totally contradicts this value. It sends the message to students like me, with healthy body proportions, that we are not normal and don’t fit social body expectations. This can generally distort the body image of our students. This all occurs during an impressionable age, when students already face pressure from media and the fashion and beauty industries. I fully understand that the uniform shop is unable to cater to each and every student, but I feel we need a range of sizes that represent our unique and diverse student body.
I discussed this highly relevant issue with Mr. Birchenall, our Vice Principal. He mentioned that what was said during the video did not surprise him, because he was aware that the uniform shorts are extremely unpopular. What he did not know, however, was the fact that different colors have different sizes among each of them, regardless of the labelled size.
When asked about the design and development process of creating the shorts, he said that the last time the design was updated was around two or three years ago. The committee was made up of Mr. Flynn, representatives from administration, and from the student body. Apparently, these measures and efforts were not effective, as there is still a major issue with sizing and and the range of sizes available. He mentioned that he would be very open to modifying the design of the shorts, and to perhaps widening the size range based on the needs and feedback from students.
“My job isn’t just to enforce the rules, but to listen to the needs of our students and make changes based off of that, and that is not only me, but the whole administration as well,” he reported. In fact, on Thursday, plans were made to create a new committee in which changes, plans and designs can be discussed and acted upon. If you are passionate about this issue, watch out for information on student body representation in this committee. I really hope that our voices, as students, are considered so that we can all feel more comfortable with a more inclusive approach to uniform sizing.