willie and lucinda
republican update

dress for success

We begin today's scans with a look at the dress code for Antioch High School, academic year 1968-9 (I was a junior, Robin a sophomore):

This was actually how we were supposed to dress ... and if you didn't measure up, they'd send you home. Among the highlights:

No pants for girls
Boys' hair "cut or neatly trimmed at all times"

And then there are the philosophical underpinnings of the dress code:

"Is the attire in keeping with the moral standards of the school and community?" This being a problem because "the market for teen-age clothing is in a constant state of change. It moves from one fad to another without any 'rhyme or reason'."

I should note that we did not attend a private or religious school ... the above code was mandatory for a public high school, 35 miles from San Francisco, in 1968-9.

What was the result? Well, I don't know, but here's a photo sent to me by my sister Sue that shows what the community standards were back in the 1950s, when I assume this picture of me with my brother Geoff was taken:



Patrick Ellis

When I was on student council (shoot me, ok?) in 8th grade at Willard Jr. High in the 1967-68 school year in Berkeley, we had two major achievements: 1) we got the ban on girls wearing "granny dresses" rescinded, and 2) we got the girls & boys having to go to separate lunch areas dropped. I know we tried to get them to allow girls to wear pants, but I think the granny dresses may have been the compromise we won. I'm not sure whether we ever got into the questions of allowing girls into shop classes and eliminating the "grace" components of girl's PE (learning to walk with a stack of books on their head, etc.), although looking back I can't imagine we didn't at least try to do something about these too.

This is the school year that Huey Newton led a march by openly armed Black Panthers on Sacramento, Bobby Kennedy & Martin Luther King were shot, and there were nearly continuous demonstrations just a few blocks away on the campus, leading up to occupations of Berkeley by the National Guard each of the following three years. But at the local level of the city operating beneath the national view of Berkeley, the junior high kids were still fighting student dress codes and gender-segregated lunch sections.

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