This High School’s Slut-Shaming "How to Dress For Prom" Video Is Going Viral

Source: Flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

This week, Cleveland High School in North Carolina sparked a wave of online backlash for a video telling female students how to dress at prom. 

The cheesy video starts with the question: "So you think you're prom 'propiate?" 

The clip then cuts to a panel of female students serving as "judges," who are shown a series of photos of prom dresses. At first, the judges approve: 

The second round of slightly midriff-baring and back-baring dresses, however, incites disapproval from the judges:

When the judges are shown the third round of dresses, which reveal more skin, a siren blares. The judges are so disgusted that they scream, flip the table and walk away. 

The video then lists the rules for "appropriate" and "inappropriate" prom dresses, including a requirement that dresses not show midriff or be more than three inches above the knee.   

The video, while clearly intended to be at least somewhat comedic, is being called sexist by media outlets like Seventeenon the grounds that it exclusively focuses on the "appropriate" dress code for girls. But Cleveland High School isn't the only school obsessed with its female students' sartorial choices. 

Last year, Delone Catholic High School in Pennsylvania required female students to submit photos of their dresses before buying prom tickets. And back in February, Ceres High School in California drew criticism for forcing students to sign a prom contract, which included a strict dress code demanding that female students not wear low-cut or midriff-baring dresses. (Male prom attire was not mentioned.) 

Teenage girls are given mixed messages about prom: on the one hand, they are fed the idea that prom is a romantic coming-of-age ceremony, and on the other they are penalized for expressing their burgeoning sexuality through fashion. It looks like the tradition of simultaneously sexualizing and policing high school girls' appearance isn't going away any time soon. 

h/t Seventeen

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