May 2, 2008

CLOTHING IN CIVILISED COMMUNITIES

Posted in Education, Environment, Guyana, Thoughts tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 9:08 am by randallbutisingh

THOUGHT FOR TODAY

CLOTHING IN CIVILISED COMMUNITIES

This article written in the sixties when male teachers were allowed to remove their jackets in school; later they were allowed to come to school without jackets, but they could wear a shirt-jac or shirt and tie… During the seventies, the tie was discarded.

——

In an article captioned “Mini-skirted teacher” by Lucian, I would like to add that clothing in civilized communities is not only an article for the protection and adornment of the body, but it has a religious and cultural significance as well.

Among the religions, there is a tendency to dress in a manner which is sexually sobering, hence the purdah which is an extreme system of covering the whole body, including the face, by Muslim women. The shalwar and sari of the Hindus are garments which cover the whole body, but are elegant in appearance.

On the other hand, the tendency of primitive peoples is to wear as little clothing, if you may call it so, as possible. In most cases, only the regions for which Eve and Adam improvised their attire with the leaves of the fig tree are covered.

The argument that this or that piece of garment is superfluous or inconvenient cannot hold water. Usage and adaptability will take care of that.

Guyana is a hot country and from the point of view of suitability where comfort is concerned, would be that worn by the Arawaks. Our belles will be cool and attractive in the outfit worn by Miss Guyana for world scrutiny; but after all we are civilized, and this type of apparel, notwithstanding its practical utility, will be regarded as indecent.

The teaching profession calls for a certain dignity in appearance, and this dignity is dictated by convention and as Lucian rightly said, obligation. Dignified clothes hide contours, even deformities, both of which attract either salacious or morbid interest.

In our society the use of the tie as a cultural symbol is voluntary in certain categories of workers, but obligatory in the teaching profession where it is the duty of the members to maintain cultural standards.

Teachers are not models for fashion in the classroom. Fashion is an ephemeral phenomenon. Its designers pander to the excitement and attraction which current taste can reject. Teachers, too, must not initiate changes, but must confirm to what is accepted by society.

The time for discarding the tie by the male, even if reason prompts, and for permitting teachers to dress unconventionally and without modesty has not yet arrived. Let whatever is dignified and decent in apparel be retained in the classroom until such time as custom otherwise decrees. Perhaps a dignified national costume may be evolved.

Footnote: When a Miss Guyana entered for a Miss World contest in the seventies, she displayed what was worn by the Arawaks, an indigenous Amerindian tribe in Guyana.

.  Randall Butisingh

 

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