Rethinking our Old Fashioned Graduation Wear
The white dress shopping may have already begun amongst some girls eager to get commencement started. The boys wear proper blazers and the girls wear virginal, white dresses. A time honored tradition at Phillips Academy—but why? It sends a message of men being prepared to enter the world of the workplace, ready to stand up under any microscope that judges class over everything. And the women are meant to invoke their innocence. They wear white for purity. Not only are these traditions crushing when we note what troubles a person outside the gender binary might have, they also double down on limiting roles for men and women. I propose we rethink these traditions and pivot towards graduation gowns. These items, while less flattering than the expensive clothes students are currently encouraged to purchase, are equalizing. No student will be made to feel less than because their dress is not up to snuff or they didn’t have the money for nicer chinos. And, if the loss of individuality is too much to bear, there is already a long history of students jazzing up their graduation hats and gowns. Please, join me in the move to a more equitable graduation.