Pop quiz time! Amanda Dougherty is 17 years old, and she just got dumped by her prom date. But her school has told her she can't go stag, because young ladies need a male escort in order to go to prom.
Now for the quiz part. Is Amanda Dougherty a 17-year-old in 1950? Or 2012? What? You said 2012? Let me tell you what you've won!
Your prize is to live in a world where the "war on women" that Fox is busy pretending doesn't exist is being waged against teenage girls, and their parents' attempts to teach them that there are more important things in this world than teenage boys!
Dougherty is a junior at the Archbishop John Carroll High School in the Philadelphia area, and the school is holding firm on its rules that girls need a male (come on, it's a religious school, that kind of goes without saying) date to prom. Fortunately for her, this 17-year-old girl has what every teenage girl needs: a father who understands that this type of patriarchal thinking puts girls back six decades. Jack Dougherty is fighting tooth and nail to get his little girl access to prom with the rest of her friends and without a guy on her arm. Yay Dad!
But I'm still floored that he has to fight this battle with any school, much less a religious one. And the way the school has referred to the prom as a "special social event" with this type of rules makes it clear that the school defines a students' worth based on their ability to couple up rather than something useful like, oh, I don't know ... their educational prowess, their behavior, their humanity?
Essentially, what a rule like this one does is undo all the work parents put into teaching their kids that there is much more to life than the approval of the opposite sex. Dating is fine in the teen years; I did it. I see nothing wrong with it. But we want to teach our kids -- both girls and boys -- that there is nothing wrong with being unattached, that their worth is in no way tied to whether or not they are home on Friday night or out parking.
I'd rather my daughter never have a boyfriend than date a guy because that's what society -- or backward school administrators -- are telling her she "has" to do. She's a person; her worth should be based on her, not who she dates (or doesn't). And the same goes for Amanda Dougherty.
What does this rule say to you? What would you tell your daughter if her school had this attitude?
Image via siRRonWong/Flickr