Prom: Hey skeezy principals, quit policing whore dresses!

I've gotten several emails wanting to know my thoughts on all the prom attire in the media right now. You know, the God Bless Texana Dress and the girl who made hers out of hubcaps or some such.  Since soliciting my opinion flatters me, I'll just go right ahead and spill my brain on a topic I generally have no interest in. When I went to prom it was in a $60 dress and a rebuilt Mustang. My friend Tammy's dress was a Victoria's Secret undergarment and they had dinner at the drive through. There's a chance we might not have been Kardashians. But at least we were allowed into the dance despite our short skirts.

Apparently a principal in Georgia plans to stand outside the prom with a 3-inch ruler and if a girl's dress is too short, she's turned away. The cleavage is harder to regulate, “The biggest issue is cleavage and you can’t have rules for cup sizes,” said Ginger Lawrence, assistant principal at Lee County High School in Leesburg, Ga.

Here's my problem. They're her damn legs. If she wants to show her décolletage, it's hers to show. Or at the very least, it's up to her parents to decide what's okay to wear and what's "inappropriate". When a school administration focuses on a female student's body, at best they are and exacerbating the very problem they were trying to solve. Attention seeking girl + scrutiny = more attention seeking. It's simple math. At worst, this creepy, puritanical, controlling maneuver serves to objectify the young girl. I mean, how humiliating to be judged on your perceived sexuality by people much more powerful than yourself in front of your peers. It's pretty sick, actually.

If it were my daughter wearing a vajay-displaying frock? Well, no, that's not going to fly. But it's up to me as the parent to say, "no one is going to think you're sexy, they're going to think you're trashy and pump you full of beer and maybe ask you for gas money." I don't need a school administrator overriding my decision on what's slutty and what's not for prom. I'm the slut judge around here!

How does this differ from my feelings on school lunch? Well, for starters, measuring hemlines singles out one gender. Dudes with facial hair are hot too, but I doubt the administrators are going to stand outside prom with trimmer. Also, the school lunch conundrum addressed a community who couldn't afford fresh food. Everyone can afford to cover their gams, they just might choose not to. Lastly, school hours are meant for accomplishing academic tasks which can't occur if everyone is on a sugar high. Prom will function the very same with midriffs or not. Trust me, they are wearing worse on normal Saturday nights.

Prom officials need to focus on keeping prom safe from substances and fire hazards and leave the morality policing to the parents. People in positions of community power have no business controlling female sexuality. What next, a skeezy old principal checking up on what the after prommers are up to in their hotel? Mind your own, blowhards! (Heh.)

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Me going to prom. Notice the whore paint and creeping hemline!

Filed under: Memory Lane, Preach

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    One of my co-workers said the principle at her daughters' school is making them send pictures of them in their dresses BEFORE hand to be approved to avoid turning them away at the door...Seriously??? I am with you-if the parents approve then move on! Most proms nowadays are not even held at the school, so dress code should not be an issue!

  • In reply to Lori:

    So girls must send pictures of their sexy dresses, but the boys don't have to send pics of their tuxes? What are they doing with those pics, I wonder? Makes you go HMMMMM.

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    I'm sure the boys are going to send a picture of themselves wearing a sexy slut outfit.

  • In reply to Mike Conforti:

    Like these pants?!

    http://www.undergear.com/N2N®-Sheer-Pant/PE51ug,default,pd.html?dwvar_PE51ug_color=BLACK&start=16&cgid=clothing-sleep-and-lounge

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    i disagree i think the principal has every right to regulate sexual content under a designated standard. it's a public school. i think the teens can show up in whatever creative style of clothing they want (preppy, goth, punk, wild) but not half naked. that means men or women equally should not show up in tiny shorts or shirtless. It is the schools duty to provide a comfortable and safe environment for all students. What about the other students that might feel uncomfortable with racy, sexualized attire? these are still teenagers not adults in their early twenties and this is a school dance not a nightclub.

  • In reply to Ana Septix:

    Sexual conduct, yes. Is there inappropriate sexual BEHAVIOR happening at the dance? Then by all means, control it. A dress does not cause behavior.

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    In reply to Ana Septix:

    I want to add my two cents to this point, since the original post seems to miss one point.
    Schools, and the locations they hold the Prom at, must considers more than just "is it okay with their parents". They face the fact that "no shoes, no service" point on many businesses is still in effect. What I mean to say is that there are a number of businesses and location that have "dress codes". For instance, many beaches in the world still have issues with nudity or extreme swim suit. They do this to regulate the possible issues that might occur.
    This is not to target your rights, but to keep things at a balance. You have to right to dress any way you want at your home, but when you include other people, there are increased tensions and people that will react differently than you think they should.
    Though I am a person that can appreciate daring and free spirited women, most that I know understand that there is a "place and time" consideration that must be made.
    Though my niece and wife may like Wicked Weasel swimsuits, they know that wearing one to a formal event, wedding or funeral, might be beyond taste unless the event is listed as "what what you dare".
    To the idea of requiring the photos of girls in their dresses before an event...I agree with those that have an issue with this. This is bordering on inappropriate, unless ALL students are included.

    We have to realize that Proms have a tendency to be emotional and eventful times. Fights, drinking and misunderstandings are more than likely because of tensions. Keeping a neutral approach is the schools responsibility because if something goes wrong, they are held responsible for "monitoring and chaperoning" by law. If they see fit to try to keep things relegated to a neutral point, then they are doing their job.

    Also, we are talking teens that are about to enter adult life. If they can't figure out how to work within clothing policies, then they will have issues in the long run.

    We know that everyone is affected by stimuli differently. Males are affected more by visual and physical stimuli. Saying "A dress does not cause behavior" is like stating that guns don't kill people. Guns don't, but the behavior of those with the guns increases the possibility that someone will get shot.

    I went through HS in the 80s. It was common for females to wear one dress out of the house, and then change into something their parents would not approve of before they got to the Prom. Many of those girls were checked at the doors and sent back to change or fix their make-up. Guys were sent back to put on an actual shirt with sleeves and a collar or long pants. This happened for everyone, and though we complained, we often understood and appreciated after the fact. Although, most of us did not really appreciate until we got older.

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    This is because alot of girls nowadays aspire to look like sluts working fro an escort service. Unfortunately that's the level they have sunk too. Who can look the sluttiest?

  • In reply to Lenny Wilson:

    And if they want to be sluts, that's their business. And by the way, as I myself am a perfect prime example of, someone may LOOK like a "slut" and be the furthest thing from. What a woman wears has no baring on what she does behind closed doors or in back seats - and what she does is none of your business anyway.

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    Actually, since a Prom is by rights a school function, it is as much "school business" as a sports game or any other school function. It is not what the girl is going to do or not do, but how others might see it and act on it.
    She may just want to be "slutty" for her boyfriend, but we have ALL seen how that can lead to increased "male aggression" between would be and actual "suitors". Yes, she has the right, but she has that when she is out with her friends at non-organizational functions. If she really feels the need to be that way, she and her friends can work with parents to have a "teen ball" without having to involve the school and thereby legal aspect that go beyond a simple hemline.

  • I love the term "slut judge."

    So here's my question: What's the standard? Actual nudity? What if a student showed up in see-through clothing? There must be some standard.

  • In reply to Jimmy Greenfield:

    Whatever the law is for indecent exposure. Why does the principal of a school get special authority between the parents and the police?

  • Really? Schools shouldn't be allowed to impose their own rules for detentions, suspensions?

  • In reply to Jimmy Greenfield:

    But that has to do with conduct. And I can even see regulating what kids can wear to school, but that applies to both genders. By nature, formal wear is more revealing on for girls (so having a ruler out on hemlines is sexist) and the goal of the dance is not providing a learning environment like it is in class.

  • I'd argue what someone wears is a form of conduct. Not in the same way as bullying or more overt conduct but it's a choice a student makes that the school may need to respond to.

    For example, you can't wear a t-shirt that says "Fuck You" in school. In the same way there must be a line for when clothes are too sexual, whether it's for boys or girls. What's that line? No idea in this day and age.

  • In reply to Jimmy Greenfield:

    I once got reprimanded in school for wearing the legs of my tights in two different colors. Ha! How innocent compared to now!

  • In reply to Jimmy Greenfield:

    At Stevenson the girls had to wear skirts and shorts that their fingertips reached the bottom of. They also could not wear halter type tops and no thongs hanging out of the back of pants. We were very hard on our girls about dressing appropriately. Appropriate for our comfort. There are a lot of differing opinions on this subject - I'm no prude but I did not want my girls dressing "slutty" - it's a sad state that people label others but I did not want anyone to even entertain the idea that my girls were "easy". Maybe I'm old fashioned.

  • In reply to Teppi Jacobsen:

    And that's exactly how it should be. YOU determined the boundaries for the children in your home, not some administrator. There's nothing wrong with wanting your kids to wear skirts to their ankles, if that'a your prerogative!

    Thanks for commenting, Teppi!

  • But wait, Teppi said Stevenson's administrators had laid out specific rules:

    "At Stevenson the girls had to wear skirts and shorts that their fingertips reached the bottom of. They also could not wear halter type tops and no thongs hanging out of the back of pants."

    Those seem perfectly reasonable, no?

  • In reply to Jimmy Greenfield:

    Those are probably the rules for class, right? I can see having rules so students aren't distracted when they learn. But an event that is purely social is different - especially when it comes to judging who is too sexy for the party.

  • I would say that if the dress/skirt was too short for a regular school day, then it's too short for prom. Even if the prom isn't held on school property, it's a school sponsored event so they can pretty much put school rules in place.
    I do think it's very sexist however, to make a big thing (ie. public announcement) about the way the girls are dressing and not about the guys. True, there's not much likelihood of seeing too much male skin in a tux, but the announcement should have been that students should follow the regular school rules when it comes to suitability of clothing.
    I also think that some school staff members get a bit wigged out when they see high school students dressed up like adults. As their parents, we are more used to seeing them outside of the school environment (obviously) and I often wonder if the school can't quite handle the more mature look that's presented at prom.

  • In reply to Expat in Chicago:

    I think you really hit upon something that it makes the administration uncomfortable, which is *their* problem, not the dress wearers. It's like with breastfeeding. I can't help how you feel looking at me doing something innocent. For all we know, those are all wholesome virgins with their dresses slit high. Look at that pic of me - I was a 16-year-old virgin in that picture and I would have been tossed from prom and thus labeled a skank - all for doing nothing but wearing a dress my parents approved of.

    Thanks for the discussion :)

  • Decollate? Now a beheading I'm definitely against.

  • In reply to Aquinas wired:

    Haha! Damn you, autocorrect. I tried to say "whoring" earlier and it changed to "wherein". Thanks for the catch!

  • "If it were my daughter wearing a vajay-displaying frock? Well, no, that's not going to fly."

    With some Parents that would fly. The Principal is not asking for anything extraordinary. He is enforcing a code of dress that doesn't take away from any of the fun of Prom.

    Basically it comes down to this, they are Teenagers at a School function and if they don't want to abide by the dress code they can remain at home.

  • In reply to chicagocode:

    Well, the world would certainly be boring if we all had the same opinion! Thanks for reading.

  • Walking out of Easter Brunch at a nearby restaurant, my daughter pointed out a girl, probably about 16-17, (with her family), who had on a "butt hugger" dress. You literally could see the bottoms of her ass cheeks. She accompanied that look with 4 inch heels. I didn't know whether to feel sorry for her or laugh at her trying to walk. Her parents must be brain dead.

  • In reply to Jennifer:

    Oh lord, that sounds like a sight. Just because you can do something, doesn't mean you should!

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    Having worked at a high school, I have encountered the prom issue. Being that it is a school event, school rules are in place regardless of where the event is taking place. Just like athletes at an away game are expected to follow school rules wherever the game is being held. At our proms, students were not allowed to smoke, just like at school. They weren't allowed to dress inappropriately (although no one was measuring for 3"), and of course some of the dresses were far more revealing than what would be worn to school or tolerated in school. But technically the school had every right to enforce the dress code. If students want to attend the prom, a school sponsored event, then they must follow whatever rules the school puts forth. Perhaps some schools are taking it too far, I definitely can see that happening, but it is their right and if students don't want to follow those rules, then they can choose not to go.
    The school I worked at didn't even let students drive themselves to prom. They either had to be dropped off by an adult or take a coach bus (provided by the school) from the school to the prom and back. The students understood the rule and followed it if they wanted to go to prom.

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    They are right about one thing. he principles should not be the ones setting the rules for the way these girls dress. It is the parents telling these girls what is appropriate and what is not. If the parents let them dress like street trash then they are the real problem. It is a shame that would rather look like a street walker than a young lady. If that is the way that they want their classmates to remember them then they have themselves to blame for the way people think about them.

  • I was raised up in a very conservative church that had a number of private high schools. Many had dormitories and there were very strict dress codes. In the '70s some girls decide to be daring and would go to church without panties. The girls dean started inspecting every girl as they left the dorm and would send them back to dress appropriately. She did this in the lobby of the dorm. I guess she thought this would embarrass the girls so they would stop. All that this accomplished was more girls doing this, lots of boys showing up to escort the girls to church, and only embarrassing the shy girls who still had to provide a peep show.

  • In reply to Theodrake:

    Thank you for this perspective. Peer sneers are enough of a consequence to keep most kids in line, but when an administrator steps in it just becomes a challenge.

    The issue of academics came up. I think observing dress code in a class environment is appropriate. Distractions when learning are one thing and those dress codes are for both genders. A ruler outside the prom just focuses on the girls. As I said in my above comment, if something is that extreme you can spot it and call in authorities if need be. Taking a ruler to every girls' skirt is sexist territory.

    There might be a happy medium here. Less extreme policing? Sorry, but three inches above the knee is nothing. Fashion is a healthy rebellion for kids. You control their hemlines with a ruler and they'll be smoking as soon as they're out of your sight. I had a friend in school whose big rebellion was going to the tanning bed. Her mother PLEADED she not do it and she did it anyway. The mother found out and instead of punishing her, she let it slide. Guess what? That girl never touched a drug or a cigarette. Teens are going to rebel, it may as well be with a dress.

    My other issue is this country is going backwards. There is a war on women. Birth control is for whores! Cover every inch of yourself or you're a slut and we're going to shame you from prom! It makes me sick. I am more than what I wear. Rawr!

  • Is the principal going overboard? I think so. 3" is not that short. I think that the dress you wore for your prom did a great job of walking the line between sexy and age/venue appropriate. But I find your contention that they should be able to dress as they wish without being judged naive on your part and destructive for these young women.

    We get judged by how we dress. Woman more than men, but it happens to both. Rage all you want, but you know that it's true and young woman would be better served by being told the truth of it than hearing they should dress however they want and if others are offended that's their problem. Because depending on who it is that's offended, it might be very much the offender's problem.

  • In reply to Bankerdanny:

    Thank you!

  • The public part of public school is that the school is owned by the taxpayers, not the students. That gives taxpayers every right to have a say in what goes on at that school. If the majority of taxpayers do not want girls looking like they're headed for the corner or hotel lobby, the slut look is out.

  • In reply to jkatze:

    Of all the arguments against, this one makes the least amount of sense. Tax payers pay for things they don't agree with all the time. We all pay tax and none of have any business in each others fashion because of it. What next? I get to ban Crocs?

  • I keep thinking about the English Mod fashions of the mid-sixties -- the style was a short skirt 6 or 7 inches above the knee. I'm sure people were outraged at the overt sexuality and slutiness of those dresses too, and yet how sweet they look by today's standards.

    I'm with Jenna on this one. Clothing does not a slut make.

  • In reply to Christine Whitley:

    Exactly. Thank you for articulating that point about fashion and history. Fashion and culture is another aspect; In certain hispanic cultures hemline equals not character (as it should be!)

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    For the moment, let's put to one side the relatively straightforward matter of dress codes, as in no-tie-no-entry, that the organisers of any function held on private property have the legal right to enforce. Because, at heart, that's not what this is about is it?

    Clothing does not a slut make, cry the sisterhood. Sure – of course it doesn't. But what does? My concern about this discussion is the underlying assumption here of some posters that some females ARE indeed sluts, that skanky clothing may not qualify but as sure as hell, some forms of conduct do.

    I would argue that the fundamental issue here is that there is no such thing as a slut except in your own mind. Short dresses, no dresses; transparent dresses, torn dresses. Yawn, yawn, yawn. One boyfriend, going steady; engaged; married; divorced; in transition; Bacchanalian revels; paid for sex. More yawns. Cruel conduct; malicious conduct; greed and selfishness; lying and betraying? Yep, now you're talking.

    Most comments thus miss the core issue. What my daughter did or did not do when she was a child, does or does not do now she is an adult, is none of your or anyone else's business unless she hurt someone by her conduct, then or now. Not merely offends them because they are offended, say, by public nudity, group sex, or other ungodly vices, but hurts them as in sticks in a knife in them while trying to steal their money.

    John Stuart Mill, in his essay "On Liberty", set out the groundwork here. It's as relevant today as when first published in 1859. In essence, it's the only set of principles that can possibly have a snowball's chance in allowing millions to live together in a modern urban society unless we want to allow the rule of the mob, or the rule of the mullahs.

    Where "On Liberty" can't give such a clear set of guidelines is on non-human animal rights; on the rights of the insane or the temporarily incapacitated (through alcohol or other drugs, say); on the rights of minors. Those are the tricky three. (Plus, arguably, the rights of convicts that then make an equally tricky forth).

    As parents, "On Liberty" notwithstanding, I suspect most of us never give up on telling our kids what to do, even should they get to be in their eighties when we're centenarians. Nevertheless, that's another issue yet again isn't it?

  • In reply to Richard Mahony:

    Bravo! You should have written this post. You're right, the crux here is that anyone is calling someone else's daughter a slut, especially based on what she wears. So what if she did follow through with the conduct, she's still my daughter and it's not right to label her. I'll guide her till the day I die and hopefully that's enough. Love it!

    Also, thank you for articulating that point from On Liberty. My Philosophy minor degree is well behind me now, but now that you mention it, those ideas did get stuck to me somehow. Thank you for commenting.

  • The entitlement of some people today is growing to ridiculous levels. Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.

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