Millennials get a bad rap. And with prom season in full effect, administrators are on high alert to make sure students are dressing appropriately.
But as Cosmopolitan notes, the standards for “appropriate dress” are quite ridiculous in some schools. The publication rounded up nine girls who were kicked out of their proms for dresses that didn’t meet the standards of their school, but looked totally appropriate to the naked eye.
In a couple cases the teens were plus size and wore classy dresses that flattered their curves. In another case, a teen wanted to wear red pants, which wasn’t against dress code but offended one of the teachers. A reoccurring theme is “modesty” and covering up to not attract unwarranted attention from males.
All the while, prom was ruined for these nine girls who looked beautiful. And in the larger context, a horrible message is being instilled about dress and its influence on men. “When I got into the ballroom I laughed, because I was surrounded by girls in much shorter dresses than me,” said 17-year-old Clare. She was sent home because her arm length dress would create “impure thoughts”.
The argument for young girls and inappropriate dress has been raised a lot recently. Erykah Badu notably got a lot of flack about statements regarding knee-length skirts in school. “There was an article ruling that high school girls lower their skirts so male teachers are not distracted,” she began by saying on Twitter.
Since Biblical times, women have been asked to be modest in order to appease the potentially immodest thoughts of men. For many, it’s a easy solution to the bigger issue of unwanted attention and sexual assault.
The problem is, we’re living in a self-actualized society were women and men are held accountable for their actions. Men have desires, but they also have self-control. And while being modest and appropriately dressed for certain occasions —like a classroom or formal— is totally understandable, in these nine cases the standards were overboard.
There’s a balance. And as a society, we’re going to have to figure out where self-respect and self-control, meet.