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Schools in Seoul removing regulations on students' dress code including the enforcement of all-white underwear for girls

11 replies

NonnyMouse1337 · 25/08/2021 12:43

It's good that many schools have changed their policies, but I didn't even know this was a thing. Shock

South Korean schools' strict dress code policies, which had been implemented to strengthen students' focus on academics and create uniformity among peers, have been at the center of criticism in recent years for harming students' privacy and breaching their basic rights, such as freedom of expression.

In May, a civic youth group Asunaro filed a petition to the National Human Rights Commission of Korea against 33 elementary, middle and high schools in Seoul for restricting students' rights to choose their own hairstyles and clothing. The number represented about 2.5 percent of the 1,316 elementary, middle and high schools in the city.

Those schools had rules banning their students from going to school and back home in training suits, having their hair permed or dyed, enforcing all-white underwear for girls or regulating the color of socks and stockings in spite of the city council's almost decade-old student human rights ordinance, according to the group.

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NiceGerbil · 25/08/2021 13:17

Apart from the pants the rest of the bit in your extract is normal for here.

MrsRobbieHart · 25/08/2021 13:22

My school in the 90’s/00’s did (not sure if it still does) had a navy underwear for under PE rule. It was a specific pair bought from the uniform supplier. All the rest, hairstyles/no unnatural colours, sock colour/style, hair band/bobble colour were prescribed too. Specific navy knee socks for year 8-10, navy tights for years 11-14. Weren’t allowed to travel home in PE gear unless we had been at an away match for netball/camogie and got back late. I think it’s pretty normal.

NonnyMouse1337 · 25/08/2021 13:51

I can understand certain school uniform policies like type of jacket or colour of socks, no makeup etc, but underwear??
I thought I had a strict school but we were always allowed to wear our PE outfit to
and from school on the days of the week when we had sports. Then again our school didn't have changing rooms and the girls wore normal full leg track suit bottoms. I guess many of the girls' PE outfits in the UK are shorts or something?

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LobsterNapkin · 25/08/2021 14:38

I just don't see uniforms as being against people's human rights. In a way it almost seems to make the idea of rights seem frivolous.

The underclothing thing seems odd, but sometimes when older rules were instituted there is a reason that made some kind of sense that gets lost over the years. I had issued underwear in the military which and I can't say I found them noticeably oppressive, though they decided that it wasn't practical to provide bras and just had us submit receipts instead.

NonnyMouse1337 · 25/08/2021 15:03

I had issued underwear in the military

Did they have to be of a specific type? 🤔

I'm intrigued by the notion of underwear being part of uniform dress codes. It's not something that I've ever encountered!

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LobsterNapkin · 25/08/2021 16:34


I had issued underwear in the military

Did they have to be of a specific type? 🤔

I'm intrigued by the notion of underwear being part of uniform dress codes. It's not something that I've ever encountered!

Well, they were all the same. When I joined, they were horrible green men's boxer types, with a very uncomfortable elastic. I don't know if many people worse them. But they redesigned them and what they came up with were a boxer-brief, no fly, and I quite liked those and they were good quality. A lot of the older men didn't like that they had no fly, however.

The tried to design some bras to issue to all women but quickly found that they would need multiple designs and sizes in each and it just wasn't practical.

In this instance though, part of the reason for including undergarments is that they are paid for by the military, and become available through the supply chain, including in postings overseas. What I wonder about the white undergarments requirement is whether it had something to do with how the system of providing them to students worked, or if maybe they washed them communally, or something like that. It might also have been related to whatever the colours of the uniforms were, there are a number of hot places where girls school uniforms are traditionally white and dark underpants would show through.
NonnyMouse1337 · 26/08/2021 11:55

Thanks for the explanation LobsterNapkin. You're right that in situations like the military, it's far more cost effective and efficient to have everything standardised including underwear, so that supplies can be shipped out to all personnel.

I find it hard to believe that all of the school uniforms in South Korea are white, but maybe they are. However, it seemed oddly specific that the requirement for white underwear was for the girls. If all students wore white uniforms, then even the boys would have to wear white underwear, else it would show up through their trousers.

I absolutely hate white underwear and still don't wear them. They stain so easily during periods.

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LobsterNapkin · 26/08/2021 12:59

Having searched around a bit, it doesn't look like the uniforms are generally all white now, though I saw some white boy's trousers.

It looks like most schools already don't follow these kinds of rules, only more conservative ones.

Some of the undergarment rules seemed pretty reasonable to me, though, like blouses should be long enough to cover underwear, and they have to be worn even in the summer.

But no one seems to really indicate where the rule came from or why it was created.

StrawberrySquash · 29/08/2021 05:00

Don't know if this was true, or just playground rumour, but there was a girl at my primary school who apparently went to a private secondary where the uniform mandated green knickers and they checked them. We were unimpressed by this rule/practice. This was early 1990s, England.

EmmaGrundyForPM · 29/08/2021 11:20

I went to a private girls school in the 80s where underwear was part of the school uniform. We had to wear regulation grey knickers, only available from one particular official uniform supplier. We were subject to random knicker- inspection and would get a detention for being in the wrong knickers. There was no such rule about bras, thank god. We also had to wear knee length grey socks until 5th year (Y11). I occasionally wore non-regulation knickers and felt like real rebel 😅

thinkingaboutLangCleg · 31/08/2021 17:44

Yes, I remember regulation school knickers from a specific supplier. I can’t see anything wrong with school uniforms. They are meant to reduce inequality — rich kids can’t show off their fashionable clothes there.

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