It’s not the way school officials should be seeing the student body.
An Alabama high school has been deemed “creepy and sexist” after commanding girls to send “front and back” pics of themselves in prom dresses — or be banned from the dance. Their bizarre measure was subsequently walked back following a fierce backlash from students and parents.
The fashion fiasco originally came to light earlier this month after Oxford High School posted a Facebook message outlining the “prom expectations and dress code.”
These seemingly stringent guidelines required students to wear appropriate “evening gowns and cocktail dresses.” Meanwhile, prospective prom-goers were forbidden from wearing transparent material, dresses shorter than six inches from the middle of the knee all the way around (both front and back from the middle of the knee), and clothing that revealed the back or neck lines, per the dress code.
“Dresses may be sleeveless or strapless provided all from the armpit-line to mid-thigh are covered,” they added.” “No two-piece dresses with midriff showing will be allowed.”
That was only the tip of the iceberg. In order to ensure that the dress code was adhered to, female students were required to submit pics of themselves rocking their prom-wear. “All dresses must be approved by Mrs. [name redacted] prior to March 6 (No exceptions). Email pictures to [email redacted] of YOU wearing your prom attire — Front and Back views,” the advisory read.
“Make sure that pictures reflect the best possible views,” the guidelines specified. “If you do not get pre-approved, then you will not be allowed to attend prom.”
The boys, meanwhile, seemed to get off comparatively easy. The dress code stipulated that they had to wear “tuxedo and suits only” and “no jeans, t-shirts, tennis shoes, caps or oversized clothing.”
Needless to say, the community took umbrage at the perverse prom pic requirement, which they deemed “disgusting” and “absurd.”
“When I first saw the post, I thought ‘it’s got to be satirical’ and it wasn’t,” said Lizzie Buckalew, 29, who’s friends with a former Oxford High School student. “When they said to ’email a photo of you wearing the dress’ and to ‘get the best possible views possible’, I thought ‘what?’”
The Weaver, Alabama, native added, “That was honestly the most concerning part — they’re asking these young girls to send in pictures.”
Buckalew chalked up the heavy-handed dress codes to the small-mindedness of people in the “Bible Belt,” especially in Oxford. “It’s definitely a thing around here, but Oxford’s more intense about it than other places,” lamented the Southern gal, adding that she’s a lot less conservative than her compatriots.
“I wore a long dress to prom, it showed a little bit of cleavage, but good lord I’m a girl and I have breasts and it’s normal,” she said. “I think if your mom thinks it’s okay for you to wear, then you should be okay to wear it.”
Her sentiments were echoed online with one dress code critic writing:
“Requiring teenage girls to send selfies to adult administrators if they want to attend the school dance?” criticized one. “Something just rubs me wrong about that.
He added, “When I first read it, it kind of made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.”
“Sending in pictures is absurd. They know the dress code,” declared another appalled naysayer. “If they show up and see a violation, deal with it then. Keeping a catalog of minors like this is actually really creepy.”
One Facebook wit quipped, “Y’all might as well have them in nuns outfits at this point.”
Others accused Oxford of misogyny for not requiring requiring the male prom attendees to adhere to the same standards. “Why doesn’t the [school] want pictures of the ‘males’?” wondered one critic.
“For boys it was ‘tell the dudes not to wear jeans’. That’s crazy to me,” spluttered Buckalew.
In light of the backlash, Oxford High School has since taken down and revised the post multiple times. “Our intent was to provide an opportunity for students to ask questions and get clarification well before prom,” they clarified in the update. They explained that the prom dress pre-approval process was enacted to combat the “increase in attendees wearing attire [that is] not in compliance with the dress code resulting in long lines to correct violations before prom entry.”
“We apologize for any misunderstandings that may have occurred and will take the opportunity to learn and improve from our feedback,” they added.
Thankfully, this eyebrow-raising requirement has since been scrapped. “Unfortunately, the guidelines that were initially posted were not routed through the appropriate approval channels and had to be rescinded as they were not an accurate reflection of the procedures the school will implement for this year’s prom,” announced Ashley Stilwell, Oxford City Schools’ Public Information Officer. “We regret the confusion the posting of the initial, unapproved guidelines created.”
She added, “The school’s official, approved guidelines regarding the prom dress code have now been published.”
While the new and approved guidelines do not require pre-approval of any attire, “students must be in compliance with the dress code in order to enter the prom,” Stillwell stated.
Earlier this month, a Canadian school board demanded a new “professional” dress code for teachers following months of backlash over a trans teacher with “clownish” giant prosthetic breasts.
This article was originally posted by The New York Post.