This Cleveland High School Video Is Telling Girls "How To Dress For Prom"
Too often, prom night ends up becoming an occasion for slut-shaming. Such is the case at Cleveland High School in North Carolina, where a video called "How to Dress for Prom" has been circulating. In the video, posted to Cleveland High School's website with the title "The Prom dress code Video:)", asks students, "So you think you're prom 'propiate?" and demonstrates what girls — but not boys — should and should not be wearing.
In a very, er, creative approach, the video mimics the format of a game show, with a male host introducing judges who appear to be students themselves. Three relatively conservative dresses are shown to applause, and the judges hold up signs with check marks. The second set elicits murmurs from the audience, and the judges hold up signs with Xes. Then comes the third set, which features slightly revealing dresses with black marks blocking out the parts that show a little bit of cleavage or back. Sirens sound in the background, the audience boos, and the judges flip the table and leave. "Now let's hear it from the man himself," the host says, and then the school's official dress code — which, once again, only discusses girls — is shown in writing as a man's voice reads it out loud. Take a look here:
Between dress codes and advisories on sexual behavior, schools often take prom as an opportunity to slut-shame girls. In 2014, a girl was allegedly kicked out of her prom for wearing a short-ish dress because the chaperones were worried she might provoke fathers' attention. In 2013, a girl was allegedly told to leave prom or wear a shawl because she was wearing a strapless dress. And last year, a pregnancy center distributed fliers around a high school calling prom "a night to protect her character" and urging girls to be "shy," "quiet," and "classy."
The problem with all these dress codes and PSAs is that they blame girls for supposedly "provoking" boys (and, apparently, grown men) rather than teaching boys to respect girls no matter what they wear. They also encourage girls to define themselves by their sexual behavior rather than their inner qualities and think about their looks rather than relax and enjoy themselves. Prom should be a night to remember for the good times, after all, not for the stress of others scrutinizing what you wear.
Images: Cleveland High School