Teen Roundtable: Schools approving prom dresses
Prom is a big event. You have to plan every angle. There’s the date, the transportation. It’s a whole thing. But, out of all of the things you have to plan and buy when it comes to the big night, maybe the biggest of all (for girls at least) is the outfit. For most, that probably means the fanciest dress you’ve ever worn and shopping for it can be a months-long process. Some schools, like Delone Catholic high school in McSherrystown Pa., require students to get their dresses pre-approved before the dance.
At Delone, female students must submit a picture of their dress by May 1 to have it approved for the dance and ensure that no one shows up for prom wearing anything “inappropriately revealing.” Of course, some of the female students (and their parents) disagree with the policy. We turned to our amazing teen contributors to get their take on the issue. Here’s what they had to say:
I would feel violated.
“I was completely shocked when I read this. Prom is supposed to be fun! And getting your prom dress is so monumental! It’s completely sexist and rude in my opinion. I don’t think that a school should be allowed to dictate your life and your choices this much. If this was my school I’d feel almost violated!” – Savannah Martin, 16.
This policy takes away individuality.
“Fashion is a big part of my individuality and identity — it’s lets me and tons of other girls express and be ourselves. When the faculty at Delone Catholic High School is pre-approving prom dresses, it’s not only taking away part of the students individuality, but it’s reinforcing unfair double standards onto young women. All of the girls attending Delone’s prom should all be able to enjoy their night and wear whatever dress they please, without the approval of the school — or anyone else.” – Julia Abate, 13.
I have mixed feelings.
“I have a few mixed feelings about this. I actually did attend a Catholic school and it isn’t uncommon for them to have dress code restrictions. I’m not to sure why people are surprised by this since if your child is in Catholic school, you should already be used to this. I do think it’s necessary in some situations. I remember when my brother took a girl to prom and I couldn’t believe that she was allowed to wear the dress she did. Nowadays, it seems like everyone just wants to show off there bodies and show all their skin. I know we want to empower women and have everyone be proud of their bodies but that does mean everybody needs to see what you have to offer. I don’t see what the huge problem is with keeping a bit of modesty and tradition to some things. But that’s just my opinion and thoughts parents pretty much know what they are getting into when they decided to go for that for of education.” – Avianne Robinson, 16.
It’s an okay idea, but this is a bad way to do it.
“I think it is okay, it helps prevent something that could create a situation. It sounds like the school could improve the implementation though.” – Ana Mathews, 16.
It’s not fair.
“I can understand why they’re doing it, but I don’t think it’s right or fair. By the time you hit prom, I feel like you’re able to decide what’s fine to wear to a school event and what isn’t! I totally understand that it’s a school event so setting some guidelines would be fine, but to have to send in photos to the school for them to check it over seems unfair to me! When you’re attending prom you’re not a little child anymore, so this seems unnecessary!” – Ella Minker, 18.
“I’m neutral; I think this policy is trying to encourage modesty and class in young women, so I kind of like it. Some girls dress purely to get attention from boys, and I don’t think that’s very intelligent. Therefore, I think this policy might be necessary and I wouldn’t mind if my school did it. On the other hand, I do think one might have their clothing range limited and that can be an imposition on self-expression. Either way, I’d be fine with or without the policy.” – Sarah Meisch, 17.
If you don’t like it, don’t go to a private school.
“Of course, the feminist in me is saying that this is super sexist and unnecessary. But then I think about it, and since this is a private, Catholic school, they can set such policies for religious purposes. It might be unfair and sexist, but it’s their organization, and a private school. If you don’t like it, don’t send your kid there.” – Kim Webb, 18.