Oxford University abolishes gender-distinct academic dress
No more blouses for the ladies; no more shirts with separate collars for the gentlemen. Henceforth, both will wear plain, white shirts with fixed collars (though why all are not being obliged to wear blouses is beyond His Grace. Indeed, is it not decidedly masculinising [and so sexist] to suppress blouses?).
It is not clear what happens to hats. Presumably, by the same gender-neutral logic, no more will male graduands carry a mortarboard while the fairer sex sport soft caps (with strict, manifestly sexist rules on the wearing thereof). And, presumably, the ladies may also now wear white bow ties, and the men dark grey skirts and black stockings. And neither is it clear what becomes of His Grace’s preferred headgear, the Canterbury cap. The new regulations are reported in the University’s Gazette:
(d) Regulations relating to Academic DressBut how many transgendered students are there at Oxford?
The following changes have been agreed by Council. They remove any reference to gender from the regulations, in response to concerns from Oxford University Student Union that the existing regulations did not serve the interests of transgender students.
Text of Regulations
In the Vice-Chancellor's Regulations 1 of 2002 (made by the Vice-Chancellor on 20 March 2002, as amended on 24 January 2008), delete existing regulation 5 and substitute (new text underlined, deleted text struck through):
'5. All members of the University are required to wear academic dress with subfusc clothing (and candidates who are not members of the University are required to wear formal clothing) when attending any university examination, ie a dark suit with dark socks, or a dark skirt with black stockings or trousers with dark socks and an optional dark coat; black shoes; plain white collared shirt; a black tie or white bow tie.
Men. A dark suit and socks, black shoes, a white bow tie, and plain white shirt and collar.
Women. A dark skirt or trousers, a white blouse, black tie, black stockings and shoes, and, if desired, a dark coat.
for each sexshould be such as might be appropriate for formal occasions.
Candidates serving in HM Forces are permitted to wear uniform together with a gown. (The uniform cap is worn in the street and carried when indoors.)'
Surely, if there be one (or maybe two), he/she/it/they could have found ways of accommodating the University’s strict dress code with their own particular circumstances without neutering the entire University population?
His Grace is rather peeved (to say the least) by this development, and supports all efforts to erect a new Congregation, whilst remaining within the historic Convocation, for those unable to accept such innovations.