It’s natural for all of us to have our own sense of style. Usually, we are encouraged to express this style freely, but in some situations we just cannot. This is especially true when situations involve rules, whether documented or understood, that affect what we can wear or are not to wear. Here are some examples of how rules can challenge our sense of style.
Your school is having Costume Day. You are allowed to wear any costume you want, as long as it is not inappropriate. For your costume, you decide to dye your hair red with temporary hair dye. Upon seeing your costume, a teacher insists that it is too bright and inappropriate for the school grounds and instructs you to change out of your costume and cover your hair. The school did not explicitly state that hair dye was not allowed and, according to another teacher’s opinion, the red hair is not inappropriate for Costume Day. Despite this reassurance, you are afraid that the teacher who instructed you to change will report you to the principal if you continue to wear the costume as it is.
WOULD YOU RATHER:
Change out of your costume and spend the rest of Costume Day in your uniform with a cap on? (20%)
Keep the costume on and risk being reported to the principal? (80%)
“I’ve been in enough hassles with teachers and never had any luck so, honestly, I might as well just change and done.” (Monae, 17)
“That teacher sounds too difficult, and if they didn’t say it’s against the rules, then she can’t report me.” (Naya, 17)
You are very interested in African styles of dress and, recently, you’ve been getting into the habit of wearing African headwraps. They are stylish and a good and quick protective measure for your hair, so you wear them everywhere, including to church on the weekend. You’ve been getting odd looks when you go to church, and your mother has told you that the pastor recently approached her and expressed concern about your headwraps. According to her, the pastor feels it is too suggestive of other syncretic religions and wants you to stop wearing them. You think this is absurd.
WOULD YOU RATHER:
Stop wearing the headwraps, despite the benefits and your love of the style? (40%)
Continue wearing the headwraps and lose the favour of the pastor and members of your church? (60%)
“I’m not sure what I’d do, but it seems wrong to not do what the pastor says.” (Brittany, 13)
“As long as it’s not directly disrespectful to the religion, I honestly don’t see why I should be forced to stop wearing it.” (Mikesha, 18)
Your aunt works at one of Jamaica’s top hotels and she suggests that you volunteer as a junior lifeguard at the hotel’s pools during the summer. You are excited to spend the days at a hotel pool, so you apply for and get the position. You’ve bought a number of new bathing suits for summer, but when you get to the hotel, you are told that all junior lifeguards are required to wear only kneelength swimming shorts and a modest swimming top while working at the pool. You’ve already spent a lot of money on the bathing suits, which you were excited to wear, and you believe the hotel’s rules are silly. You’ve considered giving up the junior lifeguard position in favour of simply spending your summer going to the beach with your friends, but you are afraid it will embarrass your aunt.
WOULD YOU RATHER:
Keep the position and wear the lifeguard uniform? (80%)
Give up the position and risk embarrassing your aunt? (20%)
“It’s sensible for the hotel to have its own rules and since it might embarrass your aunt, it makes more sense to just stay. You can still go to the beach at other times.” (Ari, 17)
“If my aunt knows me, she’d know I like to wear what I want.” (Janae, 16)