Really? Retrograde Schools Still Don't Know How This Will End?

Illustration for article titled Really? Retrograde Schools Still Don't Know How This Will End?

"She's the image of a model graduate, this year's recipient of the Heart of Chapin Spirit Award, proud of her school from tassel to class ring, but Chelsea Sarvis' school won't allow her to participate at graduation without the dress."


South Carolina's Chapin high school has a strict dress code for graduation: dress slacks for boys, dresses or skirts for girls. And Chelsea Sarvis can't graduate, they say, without a skirt - and under a cap and gown, no less. Sarvis, who wore a tux to her school's prom, says, she's "not trying to be direspectful", according to the Wis10 article, and adds "If girls are uncomfortable with their bodies like I am, I just don't like wearing them...Why is it a stereotype that a girl has to wear a dress?"

While it makes us sad that discomfort with her body is a factor in the decision - she shouldn't need a justification for wearing whatever she likes (as she says, "If it looks nice, why can't they wear it?") - we're also just baffled by such retrograde rigidity. Says Feministing's Jessica Valenti, "What really gets me is that the principal of this school is actually enforcing the dress code, and in turn enforcing traditional gender roles." The principal comes off as far more clueless than malevolent, not that that's ever better.
"It's certainly appropriate to ask young ladies to wear a dress or a nice shirt and a nice outfit and young men to wear slacks, a shirt and a tie...If a young man showed up in flip-flops and shorts, and said I wanted to walk, we'd say no you can't."

And in addition to the familiar, trying anility of the knee-jerk position is the utter incomprehensibility of this level of obliviousness. Have they not heard of the ACLU? Of similar rulings in Delaware and Nebraska? That they haven't, as school administrators, is almost as worrisome as an educational philosophy that privileges outmoded views and Inherit-the-Wind rigidity over students' well-being.

Chapin High Student Fights To Wear Pants, Not Dress For Graduation [Wis10]

Enforcing Femininity: SC School Will Ban Pants-Wearing Female Students From Graduation [Feministing]



Listen, I understand that this should piss me off as a woman and what not but here's the deal. I went to private Catholic school, for the education, not because I was Catholic, or liked nuns, or uniforms, or whatever. One of the things we all knew going in to that place was that we would be forced to wear matching white gowns to our graduation. Hear that, MATCHING, as in we all wore the EXACT sane dress. We all hated that dress, it was ugly, uncomfortable, whatever but the thing is WE KNEW about this. She KNEW that this would be an issue. I know it's a bad argument that some things are just tradition or whatever but for fucks sake, it's not like there are NO other girls who don't want to wear it but are wearing it JUST CAUSE. To make their parents happy, to make their school happy, to show they are grateful for their education, etc. etc. Just fucking wear the skirt, it's one day. I just feel like this stuff is bridging on the 'my special little snowflake' crap we all bemoan.