Fabricated Freedom

Amy - Cincinnati, Ohio
Entered on April 9, 2008
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe in navy blue, cotton, pleated skirts. I believe in only having the choice between a white, navy or columbia blue polo. I believe in athletic shoes with solid colored ankle socks. I believe in school uniforms.

Coming out of public schooling for the first eight years of my education, I had been acclimated to the idea of social cliques. The popular crowd would have the girls rushing out after reading the latest fashion in a magazine and try to emulate their favorite celebrity. The jocks would wear their athletic gear and lettermen jackets and stand in the halls describing the self-proclaimed “game saving” play from last night. The gothic group would paint their eyes with eyeliner and weigh themselves down with clanking chains. They are the groups that are always found in the movies and they just seemed to be an accepted part of life as a teenage student. That was until I decided to make the move from public to private schools.

I left my public school to attend Mount Notre Dame High School in Cincinnati, Ohio. An all-girls catholic school, uniforms were mandatory at MND. I knew that it was going to be difficult to get leave behind my rainbow colored wardrobe for one that was limited to shades of blue. However, I never expected to learn anything about my classmates from these school-issued uniforms. Coming into this new school, I didn’t know where to start. At public school I had help finding people that might share the same interests as me because their outward appearances made them easy to classify. However, with few ways to define yourself with fashion, approaching a classmate was like social roulette. I was afraid I would walk up to a girl who was much more popular than me that would laugh in my face for even saying “Hi”.

But as I got to know my classmates in the school settings, I began to really see them as people, instead of how they would dress on the weekends. I would at times be shocked to see Katie from my biology class wearing all black or Maria plastered in brand names. At first I didn’t know why I was finding myself breaking through these cliques and making friends with many different types of people. But I came to realize what the uniforms were doing for me. In school, all the girls looked pretty similar, making it hard to judge what they were like due to their outward appearance. The uniforms had us looking at their personalities instead.

I believe that being in this uniform atmosphere for four years was beneficial for me, helping reduce any kind of ignorance or judgments that I may have come to high school with. So now that I am in college and am free to choose what I wear to class, I’m also free to choose my friends, regardless of what they wear.