Before my younger sister purchased her homecoming dress I asked her to send me pictures of the dresses she was considering wearing because I felt like, as her gay older brother, I was missing out on the gay-rite-of-passage that is getting to participate in what is essentially putting a younger sibling up in drags for the time. Based on our relationship, this was a perfectly normal request that was met with enthusiasm and allowed me to feel closer to my sister although I live across the country from her.
It appears that a principal in Shreveport, Louisiana confused her role as principal for that of gay-older-brother, and was requiring all female students at her school to send her pictures of their prom attire prior to purchase so that she might sign-off on them. However, instead of talking about whether or not the dress was cute she would be assessing its level of appropriateness, which is entirely inappropriate.
Kim Pendleton, principal at Southwood High School, sent a text message to the school’s student body laying out some incredibly invasive protocols for the school’s upcoming prom. “Prior to purchasing an outfit, I will need you to send me a picture of you in the outfit with your name and grade,” she wrote in a text that was sent to the school’s 1,500 plus students, “Once I approve the outfit, you may purchase it. The approved outfit is the only one you will be allowed to wear to prom.” As you might expect, the guidelines included no restrictive measures that singled out the boys.
In addition to being instructed to send a picture to a school official so that she might assess the level of cleavage that is visible and determine whether or not it is appropriate, female students at the school were also instructed not to “purchase any clothes that are sheer or revealing in any manner,” which apparently means that should a boy show up in an entirely sheer tuxedo, regardless of whether or not that was likely to happen, it would be totally chill.
Schools enforcing sexist dress codes that seem to only target their female students isn’t anything new, but this is certainly the creepiest version of policing young women’s bodies I’ve heard of in a while. And it would appear I am not alone in that feeling because a few hours after this story broke it was announced that students would no longer be required to send pictures of themselves to Pendleton for approval. A small win for the students at Southwood High School which is still a huge loss for women everywhere who continue to have their bodies policied by arbitrary rules laid out with no explanation whatsoever.