The year is 2017, correct? Just checking, because truly cringeworthy ’50s-esque “date etiquette” homework was assigned by a high school teacher in Salt Lake City, and we’re totally disgusted. When Lucy Mulligan, an AP and honors student at Highland High School, showed her mom the assignment, Jen Oxborrow posted a photo to Facebook and called out called out the blatant misogyny.
“My 11th grade AP honors student’s homework: “go on a date!” With a boy. And follow his suggestions — don’t correct his personal habits, don’t waste his money, and show him respect,” Mulligan wrote in her caption. “Thanks for educating our kids, Utah Department of Education. We really appreciate your evidence-based misogyny.”
How bad could it be, you ask? Well, for starters the assignment requires students to go on dates with a classmate of the opposite sex — regardless of whether or not they are LGBTQ or simply uninterested in dating.
But wait, there’s more! Girls are instructed to “dress appropriately,” “be feminine and lady-like,” and “if you think you’re too fat, keep it to yourself.”
Nope, this isn’t an Onion story. Boys received the same assignment, but their instructions were just a little different than their female peers.
For example, one bullet reads: “At a restaurant, say what you’re going to order so she will have a guide in ordering.” (Yes, really.) And, although it tells boys not to feel “entitled to a kiss,” the girls’ assignment made no mention of consent or the right to say “no” to any unwanted physical advances.
The Utah Board of Education has responded to the complaints and acknowledged the assignment was both inappropriate and sexist.
“They’re inappropriate… and we’re taking them down,” a spokesperson for the board told The Salt Lake Tribune.
Thankfully, Highland High’s principal stands behind the board’s decision and stated there’s undeniable gender bias in the assignment.
“Teachers should be a reliable source of information,” 16-year-old Mulligan told The Tribune. “This doesn’t seem like an educated assignment, or an assignment that would teach you anything at all.”
Wise words from a 16-year-old. Let’s leave ’50s-style gender stereotypes in the past where they belong, shall we?