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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Everybody's talking about... Looking like a lady

Everybody's talking about... Looking like a lady

Women can waste a lot of time and money trying to dress for school. But trying different styles can have a positive impact on one’s confidence. Skirt length is all a matter of how short is appropriate. There’s no problem if the skirt is at or below the knees. Makeup is also appropriate, but don’t overdo it. You’re going to class, not a party. Skirts that are too short can be uncomfortable to wear and distracting for other students, who should be paying attention to their studies. Too much makeup, such as facial powder, can impact your health by irritating the eyes. University students are mature, so they know what they have to do. Universities should have some regulations, but they need to be flexible. If schools prohibit women from wearing what they want, it really violates their rights. What teachers wear can be a good example for students. But there will always be people who judge women on what they wear, particularly if they wear very short skirts, and that can also lead to judgements about the school.”

Wearing makeup and short skirts is something that defies school regulations. NUM requires all female students to wear under-knee skirts and not to wear makeup, jewelry or too much perfume. It can affect Khmer tradition and NUM does not support this. NUM is strict with students by allowing all teachers to examine the students who don’t follow the regulations. We understand that students want to look beautiful, so it is alright if they wear only a little bit of makeup. But we strongly prohibit students from wearing short skirts and too much makeup. Dressing inappropriately affects all students and teachers. I think that it does not affect student’s rights if certain clothes are banned. Students have to abide by the school’s rules. They have freedom, but it is limited in the school. I think some students are too much influenced by international styles. They follow these styles and they think that it is good for them, but it is not.”

Heang Sreychea, 19-year-old graduate from American Intercon School (AIS)

I think that female students should have the right to do what they want. Wearing makeup and short skirts to school is what some students like, but they do have to follow the school’s regulations. Wearing makeup depends on the student. For me, it is all right to wear a little makeup at school since everybody wants to be beautiful, but don’t overdo it. I think students should wear knee-long skirt, under-knee skirts or bent skirts. Students wearing a lot of makeup and short skirts think that it does not affect anyone else, but they could get a lot of negative looks from other students. We shouldn’t judge people based on what they wear. University students should have more freedom to express themselves, but they must also respect the rights of others , as well as the regulations of each school.”

Bin Soriya, 21-year-old senior in banking and finance at Norton University

In fact, there are students at some universities who often wear makeup and short skirts to class. Dressing this way can lead other students to make judgements about whether women who dress this way are good or bad. Apparently, the [education] ministry has discussed dress regulations for all universities, but some have not followed the guidelines. Normally, every girl wants to be beautiful. A little makeup is not a problem. But university students set examples for others, so they have to dress appropriately. Inappropriate dress can have a negative impact on the traditions of Cambodian culture. But if universities were to create a ban on certain types of clothing or the wearing of makeup, then this would affect the rights of students, especially since most female students like to wear makeup. But students should think carefully about what is most suitable to wear to class, and what is most commonly accepted at the universities in Cambodia.”

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