The Lesson From The Meade County Cat-astrophe: Dress Codes Are Silly, Kids

Controversy doesn’t always make sense and sometimes, it’s a fucking riot. This is definitely one of those moments. 

Last week, I wrote a blog: “Meade County Students Are Dressing Like Cats And We Support it.”

Look it up. But here’s the gist. The blog centers on the uproar seemingly started by a lone grandmother who has her knickers in a twist because there are cat furries at her grandchildren’s school. If you don’t know what a furry is, the Oxford dictionary calls it: “an enthusiast for animal characters with human characteristics, in particular a person who dresses up in costume as such a character or uses one as an avatar online.” 

So yes, Meade County apparently is having a bit of trouble getting its head around these cat furries in the high school. They are upset because the cat-passing kids are hissing and making scratching gestures at others. It’s just too goddamn weird for the land of John Deere and trucker hats. Truth be told, Meade County isn’t that removed from Louisville. It’s just up the road near Fort Knox, but clearly it doesn’t take long for our big city ways to just completely shock the piss out of old Granny and Grandpa Tobaccy.  And, because adults over 30 seem to be really good at maintaining the bullshit of generations passed, this very 1990s-style controversy has spilled over into the internets and my LEO inbox. 

So, my intention today isn’t to complain about that or to really poke fun at Meade County (population about 28,600), that’s just low-hanging fruit and really not that fun. Sure, the behaviors and emails are funny, but they have truly pounced on this cat story and aren’t letting up, so I want to acknowledge that. My intention, however, is to talk to the kids, especially the kids who can’t understand why the furries can wear tails, but they can’t wear trucker hats. Kids, the reason is because overall dress codes are horseshit. 

The idea of a dress code is that what someone is wearing somehow impacts the ability of that student and all other surrounding students (and workers) in such a way as to be distracting. The distraction itself is actually being created by the people who support dress codes, because like most things, like a crazy hair color, it’s only shocking once. Then it’s barely noticeable. But the people who tell you that trucker hats are bad or that dressing like a kitty and even hissing is bad, are people who can’t understand life outside of the little boxes they were gifted at birth. Nothing can function outside of those lines, even though, and this may come as a shock, so much of life happens outside of those boxes, and the blurring of the lines is how life becomes interesting. Dress codes mean nothing. The ability to work and learn is not hindered by a hat, nor a cat tail. 

Are there issues with allowing kids to wear any and everything? Maybe if those hats or cat tails cross into the territory of racism or sexism or one of the other -isms that are simply best avoided, because we aren’t truly trying to be a society of assholes. On the other hand, the hedonist in me feels that expression should always be free from restriction but never free from consequences. 

And, kids, there’s the rub. 

Consequences of expressing yourself do not constitute the argument that your freedom is being curtailed. 

If Meade County and all other school districts allow students to dress and express themselves through their clothing in ways that are non-harmful, the only distraction I can see is that a lot more kids might find themselves connecting to each other in new ways. Maybe teachers would have to calm a couple of chatty cats who discover that Jethro in the Garfield trucker hat also likes kitties. Now Cat and Hat meet. New friendships are formed. 

Instead of creating enemies, find common ground. Your argument about these dress codes is the same. If Meade County doesn’t allow hats then why do they allow cats? 

I think they should allow both. Just keep it clean, kiddos and make new friends. You probably have more in common than you think.