A Florida high school is receiving serious backlash after photos surfaced online of posters depicting what female students should and should not wear to prom. Guess what — they're all Puritanical body-shaming nonsense!
Administrators at Stanton College Preparatory school in Jacksonville, FL — an advanced, accredited institution that's ranked fourth in the region and eighth in the nation amongst America's most challenging high schools — sparked outrage across the student body (and now far beyond, also) when they displayed patronizing images in the school's hallway mandating a dress code for the dance.
A photo was tweeted on Monday by a student, and features four prom gowns. Three of the gowns show some skin — one has a low back, and another features a slit in the leg — and have the words "Going to Stanton prom? No you're not," written underneath. One gown has coverage on the back and shoulders reading, "Going to Stanton prom? Yes you are. Good girl."
Let's be clear, labeling girls as "good" for following said rules, and therefore "bad," by inference, for not amounts to slut-shaming. Prom is a once-a-year occasion where students can dress up, and many girls enjoy selecting a gown that makes them feel beautiful (though, sure, it's also a stressful process that I can personally attest to). It's not about making teenaged girls feel ostracized, or judged, for their fashion choices.
Students were indignant over the condescending messaging, as well as the fact that their prom is this Saturday, and took to Twitter, coining the hashtag #SCPGoodGirl. It quickly started trending, with one student's message being retweeted now over 25 thousand times.
Parents and alumni have also banded together in solidarity for the females at Stanton College Prep. Students have been wearing purple and white — the colors of feminism, dating back to the suffragette movement — to show their support for all those who felt victimized and belittled by the posters.
Senior Lily Tehrani, the editor-in-chief of the school newspaper, says she was very put-off by the posters. "I was kind of shocked at what I had just read," she said. "I understand that there's a dress code at Stanton, but the addition of "good girl" was unnecessary and condescending. It's insulting to all the intelligent girls at our school who really look forward to this one night to really feel beautiful." Tehrani purchased her gown, which features an open back, over three weeks ago for $500. She still plans to wear the dress.
Senior Allie Robertson, who picked out her $200 dress two weeks ago, said, "The school expects us to cover our bodies and comply to their rules of modesty to keep other people from being uncomfortable. For some girls a leg slit is their way of flaunting the parts of them that make them feel confident, and the posters made it seem like that didn't fit the good girl standard." As an institution held at such a high regard nationally, Stanton prides itself in molding disciplined students, which could lend explanation to the conservative guidelines and "good girl" labels. "They have a very outdated view of women that makes it seem like the only way you can be 'good' is to not embrace your own individuality," Robertson added.
"We all know that school dress codes are laced with misogyny, but to assign morality to the way a girl decides to dress herself by the use of the phrase "good girl" is to disregard her intelligence, her character and her humanity," said junior Chisom Ukoha. "I'm disappointed in the message our administration chose to convey."
And it wasn't only female students that were affected by the posters—male students also took notice to the sexist images, and recognized their gender discrepancies. The images, which the school board notes weren't "appropriate" nor an "approved policy" were removed from the halls on Tuesday. The school administration also issued a formal apology to the students, saying the display was an unacceptable form of guidance for prom attire. You don't say.
This scandal at Stanton College Prep is just one in a slew of recent slut-shaming dress codes at high schools, and emblematic of a much larger problem in America — one where the government believes it is their right to decide what women do with their bodies. Stanton's prom is still set for this Saturday, and I'll be hoping that all the girls with low backs and leg slits storm the doors looking fabulous as ever.