On the naughty step conduct that deserves a ticking off

This week: skirt rage

The Roman army didn't let anything like wearing skirts and sandals stop them from conquering a continent. Affording attractive views of sturdy knees and manly leg hair, their miniskirts were the pride of the legions.

They might not have managed to beat Asterix (who wore trousers), but the rest of their empire was surely built on the high hemline as well as the legendary tortoise tactic.

With this alpha male history in mind, it seems odd that campaigners have condemned a stunt by French schoolboys to wear jupes (skirts) to school to raise awareness about sexism.

Angry protesters from the La Manif Pour Tous group said the non-uniform day with a difference - which was sanctioned by the school authorities - was "denying feminine and masculine identity". The event, which took place in 27 schools in the western Nantes area, was part of a covert government plot to introduce gender theory into French education, they said. There was even an angry stand-off outside one school, with some 150 protesters showing up to voice their opposition to the day.

So, being more liberally minded about these things, we are banishing all this gender fury to the naughty step. It is surely a good thing to raise awareness of social norms and the limitations that prescribed gender roles can impose on young people.

And skirts are quite obviously as masculine as it comes. Just check out Mel Gibson's kilt in Braveheart.

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