“Rules are made to be broken.” Such an overused, rebel-without-a-cause mantra. I think it’s safe to say that I speak for (almost) everyone when I say I have absolutely no problem embracing rules that impact my life in a positive way. Don’t run a red light? Sure, I don’t want to get a ticket. Don’t walk alone at night? Okay, it’s dangerous and I don’t want to get hurt. Don’t bring valuables to school because you could lose them? I mean, kind of annoying but sure, makes sense. Rules work because they make sense, because we can understand why we have them and collectively choose to follow them.
However, what happens when these rules stop making sense? What happens when we are forced to follow a rigid series of mandates that restricts our freedom in an unnecessary manner? That’s when things start going a little bit sideways. That’s when rules stop being effective and chaos takes their place.
Of course, talking about “chaos” and the “restriction of freedom” in a school environment is pretty harsh; but if we take in consideration the 40+ hours we spend in classes, the monumental role school plays on our development, and the even bigger role it plays in our daily lives, we can begin to understand how not being allowed to wear jewellery to school can be perceived as a huge violation of our right to self-expression.
We’re teenagers. We are just now beginning to discover our place in this world. Sadly, part of this process has to do with the way we present ourselves: the way we do our hair, the way we personalise our belongings or the earrings and necklaces we choose to wear.
We are not 10 year-olds. We understand that we are in a school and certain rules have to be followed in order to maintain peace. Our hair needs to be tied up, our jewellery can’t be Met Gala appropriate, our skirts need to be at a certain length, etc. I can understand that, but how does having more than one earring affect my learning? Where does it say that wearing any kind of necklace stops information from getting to my head? How do black sneakers make me unable to perform well in my classes?
But what if you lose your jewellery and decide to blame the school? That seems like a good reason … when we were in primary school. Are you really telling me, a 16-year-old girl that’s a year away from graduation, that the reason she can’t bring any type of jewellery to school is that she might lose it? If I lose it, it’s my fault and my fault only! Believe me when I say nobody is going to be blaming the school; neither students or parents.
But, we have a uniform that already has a scarf, why do you need to bring a different colour one? Well, because I’m cold! So what if I want to bring another jacket under the school one, I’m still wearing the correct uniform, right? So what if I’m wearing a white fluffy scarf instead of the green uniform one, wouldn’t you rather have warm students than cold ones?
Rules are made to be followed. However, there is a point where it’s impossible to follow them because of how absolutely unnecessary they are. Our looks are overly supervised and censored, it’s no wonder we are constantly finding ways to break this set of superficial rules. Rebellion is nothing more than a response to a faulty system, and our system is failing. Isn’t it time to start listening to the complaints instead of dismissing them? This isn’t an empty critic. This isn’t another worthless ramble from an angry girl that wants to come to school with makeup and high-heels, it’s a collective cry for help. Things are not working out. Maybe it’s time for a change.