NJ High School Tells Girls No Strapless Dresses *Edited*

8 May

No no

I read the article about the New Jersey high school dress code not allowing strapless dresses to be worn at prom because it is too “distracting.” Some parents agreed with the rule and others claimed this was slut shaming.

For me, this is particularly interesting issue. I agree with skirts not being allowed to be shorter than 6 inches or have to be longer than where your finger tips reach on your thighs when you put your hands down at your sides. And this rule that the high school has passed into dress code is interesting. Why am I not upset about the idea of a teen girl wearing a strapless dress but I am upset when teen girls wear things that are too tight or too short.

Why is one thing okay and another is not?

The most notable piece of information here is the environment. In one scenario, the teen girl is at school, in class (presumably). The other scenario is her at a high school dance. In class, a dress code makes sense because class is about learning and it isn’t about fashion (well, I don’t feel it should be in high school). But a prom is about having fun, dancing and having the time of your life.

Personally, I don’t understand why girls wear short dresses when they go to dance. I have tried it and while I looked fabulous (yes!) I couldn’t dance the way I wanted to. A girl needs to get down!

I do think we need dress codes for minors but where do you draw the line? A strap seems to be a ridiculous line to me. If they were discuss dress lengths, on the other hand, I would be inclined to agree.. But why?

What makes this slut shaming? It’s that their reason is it will be too distracting for the boys. But isn’t that the reason for a lot of girls’ dress codes in school? It’s wrong. That can’t be the reason anymore. It should not be allowed. We can’t talk about it like this anymore because that is distracting from the real issue here: that girls are responsible for not distracting boys’ attention, that we are responsible for their successes or failures at school. And vica versa! We are responsible for our own behavior. It is about personal responsibility and not blaming others. But I am not against the idea of dress codes or dressing guidelines simply because it keeps everyone on a “equal” level (and no, I did not attend a school with a uniform. I also thought this was as a high schooler and my opinion hasn’t changed because I’m older).

Strange. I had never thought about it before. What are your thoughts?

Also, recently I noticed how uncomfortable I am when little girls wear make up. I’ve always been uncomfortable with it but now I am really uncomfortable with it. The first thing I think of is pedophiles and how inappropriate it is for a little girl to look like a grown woman.

I do understand where people are coming from when they say “But if she hadn’t dressed like that she wouldn’t have been attacked.” Maybe this line of thinking starts when girls are little. It doesn’t mean it’s correct. It’s just something we’ve carried on.

That is something to ponder. What do you think?

P.S. It is very important for me to note here there is a difference between telling children/young adults what is appropriate to wear and telling a grown ass woman what is appropriate for her to wear. But right now, I don’t know the lines sometimes.


4 Responses to “NJ High School Tells Girls No Strapless Dresses *Edited*”

  1. Ta May 8, 2013 at 8:42 pm #

    Ugh! I want to put more thought into this, but for now I must say that I appreciate how honest you are about how you “don’t know the lines sometimes” because we all are or have been there. Often, we don’t acknowledge that we are and you do. Refreshing!

    • April Lee May 8, 2013 at 9:39 pm #

      I’m feeling really lost on this. Why do I feel that obvious conflict of interests?

      I really do wish more people would be honest when this happens. I see a lot of feminists who put down other women, deciding for them what is degrading, and yet claim to want to liberate women. It’s just a recent example I thought of.

      But yes, I realize this doesn’t make sense. Where I stand with victim blaming, slut shamming and yet I feel this hesitation about skirts being short in school? Could be a throw back to “this is what I’m used to.” Most likely.

      And thanks! Please do tell me your thoughts. I really do want a discussion so I can figure this out.

  2. Amanda Papenfus May 9, 2013 at 3:18 am #

    I think a strap is kind of a stupid line because if one is allowed to wear spaghetti straps, that’s basically the same thing as strapless, and if a girl isn’t at least allowed to wear spaghetti straps at prom, well, that severely limits her choice of dresses.

  3. danrapson May 9, 2013 at 4:23 pm #

    Hi April. The kids have to go to school. But the parent/s have the responsibility to direct them in appropriate dress and behaviors. With the ability to Skype the administration can discuss the situation with images of what they consider well and good.

    The parent might send the kid off to school with all good intentions and that may get tossed aside by the kid before school. A parent needs to know what is going on during the day and the evening with the behaviors of their youngsters.

    Things change quickly and then sometimes change back. The rightness or wrongness of actions, dress, words and such, is a puzzle to be solved. Either alone or with good guidance.

    I just don’t like the schools to be able to direct individuals in what kind of dress they are to wear unless funding comes with it. Many families can’t keep up with the costs associated with enforcement of regulations. I could favor uniforms for school hours and let the evening/outside of class attire be at the individuals choosing. Kids will monitor themselves at a certain age.

    bee well;peace…dan

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: