High School Graduation Sets World Record For Most Offensive Dress Code Rules
Stories have been circulating for weeks about sexist school dress codes and the awesome, progressive young people who are fighting back. Now it’s the end of the school year and things should die down a bit, except they can’t. Because graduation. This insane letter a Pennsylvania high school sent to its students regarding graduation is pretty much the cherry on top of the sexist dress code sundae.
MSN reports students at Biglerville High School were stunned when they received a letter outlining graduation attire that contained some incredibly offensive and degrading language. The letter, of course, simply asked boy to dress nicely with no sagging pants. The rest of it was spent telling girls all the various things they needed to cover up and ways they could offend.
“…advising female students to “choose modest attire” and keep “the girls” – a euphemism for breasts – covered and supported.
“Please remember as you select an outfit for the awards assembly that we don’t want to be looking at sausage rolls,” the letter said. “As you get dressed, remember that you can’t put 10 pounds of mud in a five-pound sack.”
Brianna Burtop, a senior at Biglerville, posted the letter to her Facebook page and it quickly went viral from there. The district superintendent has declined to comment, but issued a statement yesterday calling the letter’s word choice “unfortunate” and saying he “hopes it does not detract from the dignity of the graduation ceremony and accomplishments of our graduating class.”
You know, kind of like your sausage rolls might.
If you want to teach kids about dressing appropriately for an occasion, fine. But you can do that without objectifying the female body. A dress code should be about keeping with the tone of an event, not shaming girls into hiding their bodies lest someone get “distracted” or offended by their “10 pounds of mud in a five-pound sack.”
Instead of constantly reinforcing in our kids that women must look and dress a certain way in order to be considered classy and/or treated with respect, maybe we should spend a little bit more time reminding them that a person’s value has nothing to do with how their dress fits. It’s hard to argue that school dress codes hold any value at all when they’re used to promote such regressive ideas about women’s bodies. If you had any doubts that these restrictions have gotten out of control, this letter — and the million other stories we’ve seen this spring — should be all the proof you need.