We’re creeping toward the end of the school year, which means caps and gowns, finals, and, oh yeah — prom. If you plan on attending your school’s or have already experience the magic and the glory that is prom, then you know just how much prep work goes into this famed event. Besides finding a date, you need to book limos, schedule hair appointments, buy tickets, and find the perfect prom dress. It’s a LOT of effort! So when the students at Shelton High School in Connecticut were told — merely eight days before prom — that school administrators were imposing a brand new dress code, they were not happy. Understandably.
The new rule, which according to Cosmopolitan was announced by the principal over the PA system, established a ban on “backless dresses, cutouts, and two-piece outfits that expose the midriff.” If a student is caught with an “inappropriate” dress, she will be sent home from prom. While school officials claim that they did, in fact, notify the students well in advance, the high-schoolers claim otherwise. In order to vocalize their concerns, Shelton High School’s student body created a petition. In it, they clarify why implementing a new dress code a little over a week before prom would be an issue:
So, the inherent problem isn’t that the school decided to prohibit certain styles of dress (many schools have dress codes, and this is fairly normal) — the problem is that it was done a little over a week before prom, completely disregarding the time and money students have already spent on their attire. The other problem (and arguably the most damaging one) is that the new guideline is (for the most part) only affecting female students — no new rules concerning male prom attire were added. The double-standard didn’t go unnoticed. In fact, the innate sexism was eloquently addressed in the students’ petition:
We’ve seen academic establishments impose unfair rules that disproportionally affect female students again and again, and it’s not surprising to see high-schoolers stand up for themselves and challenging this innate sexism so deeply rooted in our society. And we couldn’t be more proud.