Charles Hill wrote:
I think that the historical reason for this is clearly sexist. It was a topic in the letters section of ATM years back. I am interested in hearing what Anne and/or others feel about it.
Whether the hakama issue becomes an issue of gender depend on how it is handled in the dojo. A dojo can be sexist towards women whether they wear a hakama or not.
I believe sexist against the men because they have to wait till shodan to wear it, but at least where I train I haven't heard the guys complain that they don't get to wear it until blackbelt. The way the hakama is handled where is train is : Sensei, "you past your 5th kyu" you want to order a hakama?" Then, it's left up to the female student whether she wants to get one or not. I don't consider the wearing of hakama as a status symbol. It's just a hakama, a big black or blue piece of cloth. If anything is a "status symbol" it is the black belt and we know how most people feel about that.
As to the "modesty" reason, I really don't know what modesty they are wanting me to protect, but I have found a "convenience" factor for about three days during each month when the flow from my period is so heavy that I risk spotting and subsequent speading of such a spot caused from sweat. Imagine changing at the end of class to notice that your gi pants are very pink, and no one bothered to tell you anything.
Before wearing hakama, I did skip class because of this, now, I feel I can train even on the first day, which is the heaviest day of my menstrual cycle.
Now, that I wear one if I go without it I feel naked without it.
All in all, there are more issues I worry about on the mat than wearing a hakama. The only thing I need to do is show up about 5 minutes earlier to get the darn thing tied on.