Via my friend Ryan, it seems the BBC has picked up yesterday's Korea Times story about the kerfuffle caused by short skirts worn by students, a problem to be solved in Gangwon-do by spending about 820 million won to change the desks by placing boards across their fronts. Ten years ago all the leg I remember seeing was seen under practically knee-length shorts in the summer, and knee-length skirts on schoolgirls. Things have changed a lot, with the relaxing of rules for students in the past five years being, I think, a pretty direct cause for these changes among students (with the prevalence of short skirts being something that has occurred over only the last two years (and over the last year, I think, in my neighbourhood).
There has also apparently been an increase in middle school students wearing makeup, which James attributes to teen girl groups and their appearances in makeup advertising. I imagine that's correct, though it likely wouldn't have been possible under the 'appearance management regime' that existed in most middle and high schools until recently. As the stories of a Korean friend who teaches at a private boys' high school remind me, though, not every school has done away with those regulations. His school has a roving band equipped with hair clippers which walks into classes and checks the boys appearances, providing immediate haircuts for offenders, Yusin style. In fact, here's a piece from Stars and Stripes from June 12, 1974 about a similar crackdown:
Of course, back then short skirts used to be measured on the street as well...
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