In Readington, New Jersey, there's been a kerfuffle over the 8th grade dinner dance. Not a fun "Oh my God, Brian asked you?! But he's a total stoner, Marissa!" kind of kerfuffle, but the kind that requires girls to have at least one strap on their formal dresses so as "not to distract the boys." (That was the initial reason, anyway; the Readington administration soon realized that wouldn't garner them any fans.)
Over the two weeks since it was initally proposed, the strapless rule morphed from this initial purpose into a concern about potential wardrobe malfunctions — one second you're dancing to that Grease remix, the next second, BOOM, nipple — was approved by the school board on Wednesday night. Because many girls had already purchased their dresses, parents were suggested to make "the addition of clear or spaghetti straps to reduce the risk [of Janet Jacksonisms]."
One board member spoke out on behalf of the new restriction with the sort of cautionary tale that, while true and sad, is disseminated as a tool of terror to keep girls on the straight and narrow. He said that the previous year, he'd witnessed “an incident with [a female student's] clothing" that another student took a photo of and posted on social media, and continued: “I sat there with her through the counseling, I sat there with her through the depression and the suicidal thoughts... Quite frankly, a strapless dress wasn’t worth it.”
Meanwhile, a parent with three sons at the school disagreed and pointed out some logistical problems:
Regarding the dress code, she said it does not mention dress length, cut, fit, sheerness or whether it has a back. “All are more important that whether or not it has straps.”
Also, “young women must embrace their femininity, not be embarrassed by it,” she said.
Remember the yoga pants/leggings ban in Petaluma a few months ago? Prediction: By 2015, middle schoolers will be wearing pink Juicy Couture velour burqas.