What's not OK about this high school's homecoming dress code flyer
The past year has been one big dress code debacle. We’ve seen a girl sent home for wearing a long-sleeved shirt and black leggings, a National Honors Society historian stripped of her title because of a spaghetti strap dress, a student shamed for wearing a dress to a school dance that “showed too much shoulder”, a girl sent home for showing her collarbone, and another student suspended for wearing a floor-length, long-sleeved dress to her dance. And those are only a few examples.
Did you notice that all of these issues have to do with girls? That’s because many dress codes are unfairly sexist and targeting and policing young women’s bodies. . . a fact we were recently reminded of yet again after a school in South Carolina’s school dance poster got some backlash.
A flyer advertising Nation Ford High School’s homecoming dance advised students to “leave something to the imagination,” followed by an incredibly outdated and sexist quote from the 1920s by Edith Head: “Your dresses should be tight enough to show that you’re a woman and loose enough to show you’re a lady.” Kinda sounds like Edith was tying a woman’s self-worth and respect to physical appearance and garments, huh? And it certainly doesn’t sound like something you should put on a school poster.
That’s exactly what many parents felt about the posters, according to WBTV. “They’re too young,” one parent told WBTV. “That’s just too much.”
The posters were designed by volunteers, according to the school principal Jason Johns. After receiving numerous calls and complaints, he apologized for the poster. “There was some perception that it was targeted specifically towards our females and maybe it was seen to hurt folks’ feelings, but that was not the intent at all,” Johns told WBTV.
Johns has since had the flyer changed by whiting out the quote. “You don’t want to offend somebody, if you can avoid it,” he said.
It’s great that the school listened to the complaints of parents surrounding the flyer, but based on the principal’s response, it feels as though the meaning behind those complaints was lost. Rather than apologizing for the actual implications behind the poster, he simply apologized for offending anyone, and it feels as though the quote was removed just to keep people quiet.
However, this is still a step in the right direction, and that’s not going unnoticed. Kudos to the school for changing the poster, and let’s hope that the 2014 – 2015 school year’s dress code debacles will be fewer and farther in-between.
(Image via Twitter)