School Bans Strapless Dresses for all the Wrong Reasons

strapless dressA New Jersey middle school made the news recently for banning strapless dresses at its upcoming 8th grade dance, which apparently put some parents into an uproar. I agree that it might be hard to find dresses these days that aren't strapless, but too bad! I had to sew straps on to my own 8th grade dance dress (and walk uphill while doing it!); so can today's girls.

I do, however, take real issue with the outright dangerous explanation of the ban:

A parent says when she complained, the Readington school principal told her strapless dresses are "too distracting" to the boys. Um, what?!

The dress code is completely reasonable. Girls of 12 and 13 don't need to be wearing strapless dresses; that style is too grown-up, and there's plenty of time for that. You might disagree with me, but dress codes have to draw their lines somewhere, and it's up to parents to support those lines. But the reasoning behind ANY dress code should be ONLY about be just that -- what is and isn't age-appropriate for a school setting. Strapless dresses aren't appropriate for young girls, just like wearing a bathing suit to school is inappropriate for boy and girls alike, and it's not appropriate for a boy to show up to a school dance in shorts and a muscle shirt.

It's NOT, however, OK to say girls can't wear strapless dresses because that style is "too distracting" to the boys. There is a direct line from that kind of idiotic thinking to people blaming a rape victim for dressing provocatively. Boys are perfectly capable of controlling themselves when they see a -- gasp! -- bare shoulder. Give them some credit! Banning strapless dresses so boys don't get too sex-crazed is insulting -- and damaging -- to both the girls AND the boys. The emphasis of lessons on social interactions (which after all is what a dance is all about, really) needs to be on the importance of controlling your OWN behavior and having respect for each other, no matter what someone might be wearing.

Do you agree with the school on this one?


Image via dno1967b/Flickr

clothes, school, sex

43 Comments

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mande... manderspanders

I agree with the ban. BUT I think it is a buncha crap that they have formals for 8th graders. Just as there is plenty of time in life to wear strapless dresses, there is ample opportunity to attend formal dances in high school (and beyond).

Vegeta Vegeta

I wonder what's behind that 3mm spaghetti strap... The mystery is so enticing!



But seriously, do most 8th graders have.. uh.. tracts of land large enough to fill and hold up a strapless dress? I feel like it would be tube shaped. Duct tape.

No.2P... No.2Pencil

I never understood that, My schools all banned any form of tank tops in school. Our bare upper arms were apparently too much to handle. I hated our dress codes. 

DSeki... DSekishiro

I was told by my prinicipal in middle school I wasn't allowed to wear flannel pajama bottoms because it made boys think of girls in bed -.-

nonmember avatar shandeigh

If idiot parents actually made their daughters dress right... these rules wouldn't be necessary. I'm so tired of parents letting their daughters dress like little street walkers.

2baby... 2babymomma

If idiot parents made there sons act with respect toward girls these rules wouldn't be necessary

Katy Khan

I totally agree shandeigh! If i ever have a daughter, she will always be dressed appriopriately and respectably. 

Angie Custodio

This ban sound alot like the CA school who banned girls from wearing skinny jeans. My question is why are only girls attacked for what they wear. Schools say that boys need to pull up their pants but as long as the shirt covers their boxers thats the end of that. What about the skinny jeans that the boys wear, you can see everything almost poking out and noone has banned those for boys. What about when the boys bend over and all of a sudden you can see their butt. I mean really boys aren't capable of being taught how to be a man and respect a woman? Girls need to have self respect but these boys need to be taught how to be gentleman too. 

nonmember avatar brittany

DSekishiro, That reasoning may sound ridiculous for not wearing flannel pajama bottoms but it happened to me. I wore flannel pajama bottoms for a school spirit day in high school because they were the same colors as my school colors. As I was walking to one of my classes, a boy shouted at me, "I love seeing girls in pajama pants. It makes me want to do them." We were both freshman and I was completely embarrassed. My school didn't have a dress code against pajama pants but you can bet I never wore them in public again.

Water... Water_geM

vegeta..i was a C in 8th grade so i dont think holding it up is a problem.

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