What’s the Educational Value of a “Teach-in” on Clothing Fashions?



More and more, American college campuses are the playthings of “progressive” faculty members and administrators who use them to propagate their personal beliefs. A good example is a “teach-in” at Grand Valley State University (GVSU) on Martin Luther King Day.

The topic was Oppressive Fashion Trends. Anthony Gockowski uncovered this deep learning experience for College Reform.

But how can clothing of any sort actually be oppressive? To professors who live to find new “social justice” causes to prattle about, it can be. That is because the clothing some people choose to wear supposedly shows their “privilege” and “power.” And doing so could make people in “marginalized populations, such as students, employees, women, and transgender identities” feel bad.

Notice that this complaint has nothing to do with action. The individual who wears a good suit and tie at work doesn’t have to actually do anything to mistreat a subordinate. According to the organizers of the “teach-in” it’s enough simply to wear the suit to make the subordinates feel downtrodden.

The GVSU personnel who conducted the teach-in are academic advisors who have been steeped in progressive notions. Nikki Gaines holds a doctorate in education administration and Care McLean has a Master of Education degree. Years of study under education professors are certain to impart a set of beliefs centered around alleged social injustice toward groups of people.

Clothing that bespeaks “privilege” isn’t the only problem that the teach-in addressed. Another big topic was the need to “identify pathways to liberation for underrepresented populations in the classroom and in the workplace through authenticity.” In other words, it is also oppressive to require all students and employees to dress appropriately. People in these “underrepresented populations” (the same ones who feel oppressed by “power” clothing) need to be liberated by eliminating rules against “authentic” hair and clothing they might prefer.

All of this underscores the way American colleges and universities now keep students from growing up. Mature adults understand that they are not entitled to have whatever rules they want – or no rules at all. They grasp that no matter what social group they “represent,” they need to live under the social conventions that have evolved. And they set aside whatever feelings they might have about power and privilege and cooperate with others for mutual gain.

The message of this teach-in is precisely the opposite. It tells students that they are being oppressed by society and their feelings are matters of great concern. It reinforces childish notions. By allowing such folly, GVSU authorities help to keep any students who participated from learning to act like grown-ups.

Writing on PJ Media, Tom Knighton put his finger on the problem: “What they are actually talking about are ways of continuing the juvenile obsession with ‘expressing one’s self’ via clothing long into adulthood…. Demanding to express your ‘authenticity’ on the job means you have no respect for the opportunity you’ve been given.”

This teach-in helps to explain why public support for state colleges and universities has been declining – the people are finding out that their institutions of higher education are wasting time and resources on childish opinions.

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