Some people may want to abolish school uniforms, but others are strongly in favor of them.

Japanese school uniforms are loved by many for their crisp, clean, and professional appearance, but they don’t come without their own controversies. For one, sometimes they’re prohibitively expensive, making them almost inaccessible for low-income families. For another, they reinforce strict, outdated gender patterns, forcing female students to wear skirts and ribbons and male students to wear pants. As a result, “schoolgirl” uniforms are a popular target for perverts on the train.

But what some teenagers may hate most about uniforms is that they don’t allow students to express themselves through fashion. In fact, they’re almost universally hated because schools are often extremely strict about enforcing uniform rules–but the keyword there is almost. Some Japanese students are actually grateful that they had to wear uniforms. Why? Because uniforms help erase class and income distinctions between students.

Twitter user @mokobond started a very popular thread about this topic on Twitter, which got hundreds of replies and hundreds of thousands of likes and retweets:

▼ Translation below:

“I understand why people want to abolish school uniforms, but I’m so grateful that uniforms help hide differences in family wealth and fashion levels. Those who don’t understand would probably never understand. (I bet those who retweet this wouldn’t understand either.)”

What @mokobond appreciates about school uniforms is that, because students can’t wear their private clothing, it’s much harder to tell who has the money to buy new clothes all the time. Since wealth, or at least, appearance of wealth, is a desirable trait among many Japanese people–and people all over the world, really–it’s understandable that teenagers would not want a lack of wealth to be pointed out by their fashion sense, or lack thereof.

What’s more, an obvious difference between students would most certainly worsen Japan’s already terrible bullying problem, not to mention that being poor–and bullied–would likely lead to higher student anxiety and depression levels, and possibly a higher suicide rate.

Japanese netizens were quick to add their voices to the discussion, and many agreed that having school uniforms helped them fit in better at school:

“I’m really glad I didn’t have to think about what to wear every day…I would have had to try to find something from my small wardrobe to wear that wasn’t the same as what I wore before.”
“I’m so grateful there was a dress code. With street clothes, people are really particular about brand names and trendy clothes.”
“I feel the same. I’m grateful we have uniforms. My sense of fashion is horrible and I spend most of my money on video games instead of clothes, so I don’t have many. Uniforms hide a lot of things for us.”

And of course, many were quick to add other reasons why wearing school uniforms makes school life better:

“According to a friend of mine, apparently, besides hooligan students like gyaru, most students can’t do anything bad while they’re in uniform, so uniforms help deter crime and delinquency. That’s why I think they shouldn’t be abolished.”
“I totally understand! Because I didn’t have to worry about what to wear every day I could focus better on my studies, work hard at my club activities, and laugh and chat with my friends without worrying about how I looked.”
“There were classmates I hated and times and things at school that I hated, so I kept my uniform stuff in a separate drawer from my street clothes. What was convenient about that was that I could completely change over between my school life and my private life because my clothes were separated.”

 

According to these netizens, uniforms not only look snappy, but also serve to help students feel more comfortable. Without the added stress of trying to keep up with fashion trends, many Twitter users felt that they were better able to focus on their studies, school activities, and hobbies. And, with everyone wearing the same clothes every day, it was easier for them to make friends and be themselves.

That’s not to say that uniforms don’t have any problems. Many netizens who agreed with @mokobond also added suggestions as to how the problems they cause could be solved:

“They shouldn’t be abolished, they should just be free.”
“I very much understand. If they weren’t ridiculously expensive, hard to move in, or not suited to the climate, then uniforms would be easy.”
“Yeah, but they’re a major target for perverts. What about a uniform jersey that everyone has to wear? I think avoiding perverts is the most important thing.”

In the end, though many students may hate uniforms for their high cost and inflexibility, there are still others who find them to be a blessing in disguise. Luckily for anime fans across the world, that might mean that the iconic school uniform isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Source: Twitter/@mokobond via My Game News Flash
Top image: Pakutaso
Insert Images: Pakutaso (1, 2, 3)

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