UK Campaign Seeks to Censor 'School Uniform' Costumes

UK Campaign Seeks to Censor 'School Uniform' Costumes

MANCHESTER, U.K. — A student group at a private Manchester secondary school for girls has launched a petition demanding government censorship of school uniform costumes in "sex shops and pornography."

The online petition by students involved in a “Feminism Group” study club at single-gender, high-tuition Sandbach High School, near Manchester, “has now gained more than 13,400 signatures, meaning it has surpassed the requirement to receive a government response,” Victoria Mann of Canada’s public broadcaster CBC News reported Monday.

The report noted, however, that “amid the chaos of Prime Minister Boris Johnson's resignation and a total reshuffle of the Conservative Party, no response has come within the usual 14 days.” 

The Feminism Group was formed in 2012 by Sandbach High School teacher Sarah Maile. Each year, according to CBC News, Maile “encourages her students to select a women's rights issue to focus on, ranging from human trafficking to female genital mutilation.”

Mann interviewed uniform history researcher Kate Stephenson, who noted that enforced sartorial rules are actually “about making sure everybody looks the same and removing those items that indicate that some children have more money than others.”

The Sandbach students who authored the petition told CBC News that “they have been repeatedly asked whether removing uniforms from schools altogether might improve the situation,” a line of thinking they condemn as victim-blaming.

Maile added that “the intent behind targeting sex shops is not to tell consenting adults what they can and cannot do in the bedroom, but to highlight the inappropriate way the costumes are marketed.”

Maile said she would like the government to target for censorship “the very specific language that is applied to these costumes,” citing as an example phrases such as “sexy schoolgirl lingerie.”

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