Extra! Korea

May 10, 2011

(Updated) Short schoolgirl skirts to cost 820 million won of new desks

Filed under: education, rapid cultural change, youth — extrakorea @ 2:34 pm

While students at Korean middle schools and high schools are still required to wear uniforms, dress codes have been relaxed in recent years. Students are now allowed to wear running shoes, and regulations regarding hairstyles are not as strict as before.

Another effect has been that schoolgirls have been shortening their skirts, a subject that I and other bloggers have written about before.

The Gangwon Province Office of Education has cooked up a brilliant scheme to deal with this problem. They will spend 820 million won on new desks that will be specially-constructed so as to hide the schoolgirls’ legs.


First of all, this ignores the fact that if these schoolgirls are going to dress like this in class, then they are going to dress at least this provocatively off school grounds. Hasn’t anyone thought about what potential problems this might cause?

Secondly, the teachers are ignoring the fact that these schoolgirls seem to think that dressing in revealing clothes is “cool,” “empowering,” “stylish,” or something else that’s equally wrongheaded.

Fortunately, I’m not the only one who’s thinking, “We are authority figures, and for the sake of our students, we should act like it.”

But the Korean Federation of Teachers Association (KFTA) denounced the move, arguing it is a waste of money and a proper guideline is rather required to promote longer skirt lengths.

“What we need is to promote longer skirt lengths by adopting stricter dress codes,” said Kim Dong-seok, a spokesman for the KFTA. “The education office is now neglecting its duty to properly educate students.”


The BBC has picked up the story (Hat Tip to Gusts of Popular Feeling).

I think that the BBC might have been slightly mistaken when they ran the caption with the photo below.

The trend for short school skirts is well established in Japan

As far as I know, when Japanese schoolgirls are in class, they have to wear their skirts long. However, once they leave school grounds, they hike them up. They’ve honed it to a science, with folding techniques and even velcro.

Regarding the situation in Korea, Chris in South Korea correctly pointed out that 820 million won (about $700,000 or £427,000) could be put to many good educational uses.


  1. Or … perhaps let them wear what they want? Their clothes reflects their thinking. Maybe you want to change that too, so that it suits your ideas better? I can’t believe that someone actually gets paid for discussing these things.

    Comment by D — May 10, 2011 @ 4:06 pm

    • Or … perhaps let them wear what they want?

      Oh sure. Why not? Let’s let them wear hot pants that are so short that we can see their ass cheeks peeking out, like their idols Girls’ Generation and Narsha.

      We don’t let minors drink or smoke. Adults and authority figures have a duty to protect those who are underage, even if they don’t want to be protected. Once they’re legally adults, they’ve given to freedom to make decisions that are potentially harmful to themselves.

      Their clothes reflects their thinking.

      And what would that thinking be? “Being jailbait is cool”? “I’d really like to be sexually harassed by an ajeosshi“?

      Maybe you want to change that too, so that it suits your ideas better?

      It’s called education –teaching young women that they should be valued for more than just their physical bodies.

      I can’t believe that someone actually gets paid for discussing these things.

      Wrong. I’ve never received a dime (or won).

      Why are you so keen to see underage schoolgirls show more skin?

      Comment by extrakorea — May 12, 2011 @ 11:39 am

  2. […] much more on this, see (in no particular order): Gusts of Popular Feeling; the BBC; Extra! Korea; and BusanHaps. But in particular, see Michael Hurt’s comments on Facebook here (roughly the […]

    Pingback by Korean Gender Reader « The Grand Narrative — May 12, 2011 @ 9:16 am

  3. […] Thanks to  extrakorea.wordpress.com […]

    Pingback by New desks to Short schoolgirl skirts | Waiguoren's Weblog — May 14, 2011 @ 6:32 pm

  4. I’m all for telling schoolgirls to dress decently. However, I’m a bit concerned by the ‘potential problems’ link. Teachers who have sex with middle school kids are child rapists. Child rapists are 100% responsible for their actions, not the victims. I don’t care if these girls are cartwheeling around the room showing their underwear, the cause of molestation is the volition of the molester.

    I could spend the rest of my life teaching revealingly-dressed kids and I know I would never rape any of them because I’m not a child rapist. Now, I would probably find their clothes distracting and inappropriate and want them to change because of that.

    Provocative dress is not the cause of rape, especially not of kids.

    Comment by Sploggle — May 29, 2011 @ 6:12 pm

  5. I was really concerned about your (maybe accidentally implicit) argument relating the dressing issue to rape! Sometimes this argument can be used for sexists societies to justify sexual violence (suffered not just by women) in their countries. So, be careful ok? It would be better if you had developed your thoughts in one more paragraph intead of just have linked the report.

    Sorry about any English mistakes in this comment.

    Comment by nina — November 3, 2011 @ 8:03 am

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