Part 152- Picture Day

Picture Day. For me, whenever I hear this I think of three words.

What to wear? 
I’ve never been so concerned about what I wore, only hoping to look good, but this year I was in full panic mode. Perhaps there’s more stress on what to wear now that I’m older. Middle school is the time where you start to take notice of yourself and what you do, so naturally, looking good for picture day would be a big deal. Or so I thought. Before I share my recent picture Day experience, let’s travel a few years into the past.

Elementary School. The time where we would have everyday outfits chosen by our parents until we were allowed to do so ourselves. Hence, the numerous pictures of us dressed up extremely fancy for picture day. Slowly over time, we've started to grow out of that, like I’ve said, and we start to have our own choices. Some kids don’t dress up at all. Some do. Either way, it’s simply for a picture. But, this year’s Picture Day has been playing on my mind, and that’s why I’m bringing this up.

This year was a shock to me. As soon as I stepped into the school, I began to grow more and more unsure of my outfit after seeing the other students. I had worn something semi-fancy that day. It felt as if no one dressed up at all, and I had made a fool of myself. Everyone wore something so basic, I wondered whether they remembered it was picture day or not. I was even more surprised seeing how many of the girls also didn’t dress up as well. Almost every year I would see stylish blouses or flowery dresses for pictures, but instead, it was the regular ripped jeans and shirt. I couldn’t understand what changed through the past year, causing this to happen. It wasn’t until later where I had a possible theory.

Maybe it’s just that people have started to care less for Picture Day. Well, I doubt many people would be excited for Picture Day. Maybe they are, but generally, kids don’t like Picture Day that much. It’s a hassle to have to dress up and pose nicely while giving your best fake smile. Other than possible pictures to buy for updated portraits, what else is Picture Day for? Ids? I don’t mind if it’s used for IDs or maybe for the yearbook, but otherwise, it feels so unnecessary. For me, I don’t even keep my pictures. I can’t be bothered to buy pictures of myself that will be replaced after a year. Not only that, I can take better pictures in places besides photoshopped green screens. ( No offense towards the Picture Day photographers.) So, really what is Picture Day meant to be for. Other students might have also realized that by now, and that’s probably also why they stopped dressing up. But, there is also one more possibility.

Dress Codes. Dress Codes are there for a reason, but right now, I want to state some opinions. Dress Codes suck. This may stray a bit from the Picture Day topic, but I believe this must be brought up. I feel like every Dress Code that exists, is meant just for the girls. I was reading through my school’s Dress and Grooming section in the Student Handbook, and frankly, it seems to be mainly towards girls. There are a few points directed to both, but in a given diagram of appropriate wear, there are far more labels for the girl than the boy. There are logical reasons for this, and I agree with them. But it seems so wrong. With the number of guidelines towards clothes for girls, it’s almost like they can barely wear anything we like. In fact, most of the time, girls doubt their favorite outfits or clothing choices because they’re worried about whether they will get dress-coded or not. And even when they are sure they won't, they still can’t help but remain tense the whole day. So, that could also be a reason for the lack of dress-up on Picture Day.

Apart from girls, boys have also started to dress up less. Even less than they usually do. Every year, I only see a mere handful of the boys dressing up. Boys aren’t that concerned about dressing up as girls normally have been. Even now, I don’t recall seeing a single boy stick out who was dressed up. Maybe they wore a simple, nice shirt with slicked-back hair, but otherwise, it wasn’t that “grand”.

It doesn’t bother me if people dress up on Picture Day or not. Never has. But, the reason I wanted to write about this was because of the strange interaction I had that day. I just found it unbelievable how not many people, especially the majority of girls, didn’t dress up. I thought that now we were closer to high school, even more people would dress up. Never expected the opposite. Still, it was a good insight into what Picture Day really is like these days. But I genuinely want to know, what was the cause of change this year?


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