Mandatory School Uniforms are a violation of free expression
Resolved: Mandatory School Uniforms are a violation of free expression
Some definitions are in order:
Mandatory: Necessary, compulsory
School Uniforms: Uniforms worn by students that are unique to the school
Violation: to harm, go against
Free expression: the right to behave and present ourselves as we see fit
The first round will be a presentation of arguments from my opponent. He may choose at that point if he wants to use the last round for arguments or a "thanks for playing" message to myself and you, the audience.
Regardless of whether he argues in the final round or not, there shall be no new arguments made there.
I hope for an enlightening discussion.
Many thanks to my opponent for initiating this debate. To be clear, I am assuming that the resolution pertains to the students' free expression rather than to the schools' free expression. With that being said, the contentions of my opening statement are simple:
Clothing as a Means of Free Expression: Medieval era and Renaissance
Purple, green, blue, gray, brown, yellow, and white colors in medieval and renaissance clothing had symbolic significance as well. For a longer list, see source 2.
Without furthur ado, let's jump straight to the chase—Clothing as a Means of Free Expression: Kids and Adolescents Today
Young women's sense for fashon is very evident in various studies that show how much they spend on clothing annually and the number of young women who buy a certain number of articles of clothing; from around the 8th of March in 2012 to around the 8th of September in 2012, 41% of girls aged 13-18 purchased 10 or more articles of clothing . It was just in the year of 2003 when teenage women (or their parents) spent a staggering amount of money on their clothing: over $170 billion .
Why do teenage girls spend so much money on clothing? Well, let's hear it from them:
"There's almost like this … boundary that you don't want to cross … because then you'll just be like, weird" -Melanie Burg, a 13-year-old from suburban New York.
This quote is justified by findings from the study in source 5; 81 percent of the girls in the study said that they were influenced by their friends and peers while 68 percent said that they were influenced by fashion magazines and advertisements. One would argue that because so much of the average American teenage girl's fashion sense is dictated by fashion trends, the implementation of school uniforms would not violate the adolescents' freedom of expression through clothing, since they are not essentially expressing themselves but the fashion trends. However, that person would be wrong in making that argument; the act of wearing clothing that reflects the latest in fashion trends is still a form of expression nevertheless, even if it does not necessarily showcase the wearer's purely unique personality, fashion sense, or anything else that is unique to the wearer. Expression is expression, regardless of whom or what is expressed.
That is true, but do not forget that many guys wear clothing in a certain way to express themselves. Here are two articles of clothing associated with adolescent men today and their significance in expressing the adolescent male wearer:
I'd like to thank my opponent for his acceptance and would love to begin without much further adeiu.
My Opponent's Case:
My opponent's case makes a whole lot of historical and statistical claims...before actually getting to the relevant part of if it violates Free Expression. The points about the colors of clothing having effects and how much we spend on clothing and different ways to wear one's trousers, while certainly being interesting, have no pertinance on the actual resolution today. The points about color specifically are just an arbitrary assigning of value based on appearance, but I don't feel like wasting time on something that doens't link to the resolution. ANYWAY, let us continue.
My opponent then goes on to make the claim, actually on topic this time, that because uniforms offer a limited range of clothes it represses our ability to freely express ourselves. This is a problem for three reasons:
First: We still have the ability to design how we present ourselves physically that go outside of the clothes we wear. The make-up women use, the way one styles and/or colors their hair, accessories and types and brands of shoes, all of which are not generally addressed by uniforms, are ways for one to express themselves while maintaining consistency with the school dress code. So it doesn't actually preclude our ability to express ourselves, and thus doesn't violate it.
Second: Even if we don't have control over anything that we wear or how we appear in any aspect (doubtful in itself), we still control how we act. Baring a mental coersion treatment where we are forced to act how the school wants us to in this uniform, we control how we wish to act. Our actions function as our ability to express ourselves far better than any clothing can, due to the fact that clothing are unable to truly express us without our actions and personality affecting what we wear. This alone allows us to fully express ourselves, regardless of what we wear.
Third: Even the courts, the people who have decided on the freedom of speech and expression and the like, ruled that school uniforms don't violate our freedom of expression.
As such, school uniforms actually don't violate our freedom of expression, as there are many ways we can still express ourselves.
Now, ask yourself this: how can you freely express yourself if you cannot freely wear the clothes you want?
So? In a school that operates under a school uniform policy, the right to express one's self through the articles of clothing touched by the school uniform policy is nonexistent.
"Our actions function as our ability to express ourselves far better than any clothing can, due to the fact that clothing are unable to truly express us without our actions and personality affecting what we wear."
Try telling that to the adolescents who love to dress up however they want, like the majority of the kids in source "1."
Warabe forfeited this round.
The resolution still stands affirmed.
Warabe forfeited this round.