Skimpy school uniforms now illegal in Thailand

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Modifying our school uniform is a rite of passage for almost every Singaporean student.

While it may have been against the school rules, no amount of nagging from our teachers or random spot-checks could stop us from hemming our skirts, tapering our pants or folding up our sleeves.

But for students in Thailand, wearing a short skirt or tight blouse may now be considered a crime.

Updates to Thailand's Child Protection Act 2003 announced last Friday (Aug 30) have specified that school uniforms should be worn in an orderly fashion. Any obscene attire is also prohibited.

This was meant to curb the trend of skimpy attire and short skirts among female students, reported Thai Examiner.com.

However, there were no guidelines on what constitutes "obscene" attire.

Under the act, the parents or guardians of a student who flouts the regulations could be fined up to 30,000baht (S$1,360) and even face jail time.

This is the first update to the act since 2005. Ironically, the education ministry said that new regulations were appropriate to allow for a more modern age and society.

The Thai education ministry's move to increase the regulation of school uniforms comes at a time when other countries are allowing students more freedom and autonomy over their attire.

Research has also emerged showing that the incidence of sexual assault has little to do with what women wear. The idea that women are more likely to be sexually harassed or assaulted if they dress skimpily is simply a myth.

Nevertheless, women's attire continues to be disproportionately policed and the fight against sexist and oppressive dress codes continues.

kimberlylim@asiaone.com

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