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Umbrage over dress code advice given by QUB to graduating students is much ado about nothing

letter of the day: Appropriate attire

I write in response to the sensationalistic and naive front page article in Friday's (December 9) edition of the Belfast Telegraph, and the equally ill-advised piece by Fionola Meredith.

Both concern the advice given to Queen's University Belfast students attending their graduation ceremony, specifically the advice given to females and the dress requirements for such a prestigious occasion.

You seem to have taken umbrage at women being advised (not instructed) on how to dress. Apparently, having reasonable standards expected of those wishing to celebrate a momentous milestone in their lives is unthinkable. Why can't I show off as much skin as I choose? Because it is a formal event and, with no regards to your liberal sensitivities, there are rules and conventions to follow.

This is the first step in those graduates' lives in the real world, outside of full-time education, for which they will need to adhere to guidelines handed out.

University is an extension of school and does not represent society and, being a graduate myself, I am fully aware of how many freedoms are afforded to those in university education and how many of the normal pressures of life are not placed upon their young shoulders.

A separate issue was raised around the fact that women appeared to be unfairly targeted with draconian advice, as opposed to that issued to their male counterparts. I would argue that is purely down to the variety of dress which women have, as opposed to men.

A man, typically, will have a form of trousers (unless Scottish ...) and something to cover his top half. Women, however, have a multitude of different options available, with far more scope for inappropriate attire (short skirts, cleavage, etc.).

One need only look at the hideous spectacle that Ladies' Day at Cheltenham is, for examples of how women can get it wrong when expected to dress in a manner befitting a formal event.


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