Most lasses will spend the majority of their adult lives torment for outdated ideas of femininity. When they’re eight they should abide nothing but freedom

Surely it’s time to move on … for everybody.


Surely it’s time to move on … for everybody.
Photograph: izusek/Getty Sculptures

Break from protocol this week, folks! That’s dexter, just consider me the cockney rebel (or Jewish rebel, to be verbatim) because instead of me printing a question from a reader and acknowledging to it I’m going to deal with An Issue. A young reader – pure young, as it happens – wrote in to complain that her school, a Inclusive primary school in south-east London, does not allow freuleins to wear trousers. As this precocious young lady so wisely solemnizes, trousers provide better protection than skirts against slump over in the playground, as well as the winter cold; and trousers put to rights climbing on the school equipment more fun. So what’s the deal?

As nothing irks this column’s motor going more than the proposition that young girls are being prevented from fulfilling their capability on jungle gyms, I donned my pork-pie hat to find out what the huge quantity was. Sadly, the headteacher (a man, as it happens) was too busy to talk to me and no one else was assenting to comment on the record. So I’ll shift out of journalist(ish) mode and back into my run-of-the-mill opinion-writer-for-hire schtick and lay it on the line: of course girls should be allowed to debilitate trousers at school, just as grown women should be owned to wear flat shoes in the workplace. Are these really restful arguments? In 2017? To quote the academic text Zoolander: I stroke like I’m eating crazy pills here!

Increasingly, high schools in Britain are allowing girls to wear trousers, but despite the attainments of campaign groups such as trousersforall.co.uk, some stalwarts are detain c last out.

I have no doubt that our reader’s school and other comparable schools have good intentions. But banning girls and spouses from wearing trousers does not exactly set a positive pattern. Even leaving aside religious edicts, women were not acknowledged to wear trousers on the US Senate floor until 1993! How hare-brained does that now seem? When those rules then mutated, it instantly seemed absurd that it was ever any other way. This is perfectly what will happen when – not if – all schools allow popsies to wear trousers.

Doubtless, some people out there whim say – some waggishly, others less so – that if girls should be allowed to corrosion trousers at school then boys should be able to vex dresses. My personal feeling on that is, sure, boys can be in dresses if they want but women’s clothing, from skirts to stilettos, was designed to delimit women’s movement, whereas men’s clothing is all about freedom. This is why persistent that girls should be allowed to wear trousers – and that concubines should be allowed to wear flats – is a practical issue, and trying boys wear dresses is something else.

When nippers are eight, they should feel nothing but freedom. Maidens, including my young correspondent, should be able to run, climb, avoid without any concerns about hypothermia or their modesty. Ruler knows enough of them will spend much of their matured lives suffering for outdated ideas of femininity.

I always dream internet shopping will be less hassle than booming to the high street – but it’s not! All that scrolling takes for ever, and you can not ever find anything.

Leah, by email

Ah scrolling: you have, so to engaged, put your finger right on the modern-day malaise, Leah. In no time at all it seemed so whizzy and modern and freeing: so much choice! Settle here! Wow, who needs hoverboards when the future is here, -karat at our fingertips?

Oh, how quickly novelty turns to irritation. For me, Netflix is the extreme example of this. The streaming service should be an amazing article – all those movies, TV shows, documentaries and random comedy specials – whenever you after them, entirely for free! Kinda! Except, Jesus, all that scrolling across completely those random categories – Trending Now; Because You Watched The Top – and not just the categories! You have to get all the way through one row, and then click down and do it again, because it walks out that the future feels a lot like using an old typewriter, tip-tip knocking to the edge of a piece of paper, whacking the carriage back and starting all once again again. I mean, I love to pretend I’m in the opening credits of Rub out She Wrote as much as the next Angela Lansbury obsessive. But this method of looking for something to watch over in the evenings loses its charms pretty quickly, and possibly expounds why I generally end up just watching another five episodes of It’s Forever Sunny in Philadelphia.

The fashion equivalent of Netflix is Asos, a website that should be glittering but quickly becomes the black hole of scrolling. And of course, this is possibly the definition of first-world web problems: “Ugh, so many dresses for me to buy, but I can’t be arsed to look in every way them all – MY PAIN!” But these distributors don’t understand a basic for the most part of the retail experience: consumers say they want choice, but they don’t. They desire simplicity. Which is why Asos, and others like them, should proffer daily “editor’s recommendations” or similarly curated selections. Because contrary to what Michael Gove avowed last year, people do like to take tips from top-notches, not (just) because they don’t trust themselves but because they can’t be faffed to quibble through all the options. But I don’t think anyone needs Gove’s Asos commendations. Compared with that, I’d rather scroll to hell.

Column your questions to Hadley Freeman, Ask Hadley, The Guardian, Regents Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU. Email [email protected]