School dress codes have been coming under fire in the court of public opinion, thanks to social media raising awareness. And the latest report inducing outrage is that a school is allegedly requiring girls to send photos of their Homecoming dresses before they can buy tickets to the school dance.
Through the USA Today Network, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that Pewaukee High School in Wisconsin has had the rule that all “dress-wearing” students and their dates must submit photos of their Homecoming outfits before they can buy tickets to the event since January 2015. Yet, it’s getting national coverage now with Pewaukee Superintendent Mike Cady saying the rule is to keep students from being kicked out of Homecoming for showing too much skin, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Although the rule includes the dates of the dress-wearers and covers low-hanging pants on boys, Cady’s statement is proof that the dress code rule is targeted at females, since traditionally, males wouldn’t be wearing an outfit that shows skin to Homecoming. And a recent reminder email from the school about the Homecoming rules has led some parents of girls at Pewaukee High School to speak up.
Besides the dress code promoting unhealthy, sexist stereotypes, also consider how students must first purchase their outfits before they’re even guaranteed to be able to go to the dance.
Another element that is uncomfortable rather than inconvenient is the fact that the students have to send photos of themselves in their dress to the adult administrators, as one former student talked about on Facebook. As Jackie Kate Henderson wrote, “Sending a front AND BACK (we didn’t have to send a photo of the back last year) photo is invading privacy and actually kind of embarrassing.”
So while the school says the Homecoming rule is for the students, that’s not how many people who are tired of girls being targeted by dress codes will see it. And though the rule is over two years old, maybe the national attention will lead to a change. Until then, Pewaukee High School students buying dresses for the Homecoming dance better keep their receipts.