Girls given green light on long hair

Re­lax­ation of rules for fe­male stu­dents ap­plauded by par­ents

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA - By ZHENG CAIXIONG in Guangzhou zheng­caix­iong@chi­nadaily.

High school stu­dent Li Chul­ing brushes her long hair into a pony­tail be­fore she leaves for school ev­ery morn­ing. It takes time, but she en­joys it. “Ev­ery girl likes to be well groomed,” she said.

Yet up un­til re­cently, the length of girls’ hair was strictly con­trolled at many high schools in Guangzhou, cap­i­tal of Guang­dong prov­ince.

The city hit na­tional head­lines in 2006 when fe­male stu­dents were told to keep their hair short — level with their ear­lobes at the long­est. This stirred heated dis­cus­sions about whether schools had the right to dic­tate such things.

But lo­cal me­dia have re­ported that the once-strict re­quire­ment is be­ing re­laxed at many schools.

The Af­fil­i­ated High School of South China Nor­mal Uni­ver­sity, a top high school in Guangzhou, re­vised the rule this se­mes­ter. Xiao Chaoyun, deputy head­mas­ter, said the school man­age­ment now just re­quires stu­dents to be neatly dressed and tie up their hair if they want to wear it long.

The change “in­di­cates that stu­dents’ per­son­al­ity is re­spected”, Xiao said.

“Now ev­ery floor of the girl stu­dents’ dor­mi­to­ries has been equipped with a hair dryer,” she added.

Zhang Yiri, an as­so­ciate pro­fes­sor at Guangzhou City Polytech­nic, said the rules that re­quire all the stu­dents to have the same, short hairstyle are out­dated. “Stu­dents are not ser­vice­men, and they have the right to de­velop their per­son­al­ity and like to look smart while study­ing hard,” Zhang said.

In re­cent years, more schools have qui­etly re­laxed their rules on girls’ hair, only re­quir­ing fe­male stu­dents to have a short hair­cut at the be­gin­ning of the se­mes­ter, rather than year-round.

Xiao ex­plained that the pre­vi­ous strict re­quire­ment was made in con­sid­er­a­tion for stu­dents’ health and safety.

“Girl stu­dents with long hair could have an ac­ci­dent dur­ing lab­o­ra­tory work in their chem­istry lessons. They might also eas­ily catch a cold af­ter swim­ming, as their long hair can­not be dried in a very short time,” Xiao said.

The new tol­er­ance of long hair has been ap­plauded by par­ents and their chil­dren.

Wang Yanyan, mother of a 16-year-old girl, said it was hard work per­suad­ing her daugh­ter to have her hair cut be­fore the new school term be­gan. “My daugh­ter used to cry and say she looked ugly af­ter hav­ing a short hair cut,” Wang said. “For­tu­nately I no longer have to do that.”

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