In recent weeks, both I and my colleague with one less "F" in his similar name have written about the alleged scourge of sagging pants. Both of us think the concern is not only overblown, but pretty stupid. I never liked dress codes, particularly when they are born out of some ridiculous sense of right and wrong. Hell, this past weekend, my shorts were sagging pretty good, a combination of recent weight loss and work around the house.
But, the insanity continues, this time with a pair of young ladies who violated the silly "finger tips" rule for shorts and skirts. In short (no pun intended), if your finger tips with your arms at your side extend beyond the hem of your skirt or shorts, what you are wearing is not covering enough skin. Before I even read any further in both stories, I immediately wondered what happens to girls with really long arms. Anyway, the stories go something like this.
In the first story, a 17-year-old from Richmond, Virginia was sent home from her homeschool prom because her dress was probably maybe going to provoke impure thoughts even though it was (albeit barely) below her fingertips. She was also criticized for dancing provocatively, though she claims she never even hit the dance floor.
In a blog published by her sister, she let loose on the chaperones, most specifically the fathers who she suggested were lecherous.
In her post, Clare asks the Richmond Homeschool Prom to "refund my group as they verbally promised to do, and issue an apology for kicking me out of my senior prom because their husbands felt as though my body was something they had a right to control."
"I'm not responsible for some perverted 45 year old dad lusting after me because I have a sparkly dress on and a big ass for a teenager," she concludes. "And if you think I am, then maybe you're part of the problem."
OK, wait, there are homeschool proms? I know I should be focusing on the bigger issue here, but seriously?
Back on point. Look, there is no question that the hemlines of young women have risen over the last few decades, as some necklines have descended. But, as this woman points out, that is not her problem. The problem is with the men who ogle girls wearing these things.
Admittedly, there are times when I find the delineation somewhat complicated. On one hand, women often dress to look attractive and naturally invite the glances of the opposite gender. On the other hand, there is a difference between looking and leering. As Jerry once advised George on when he stared to long at an NBC executive's daughter's cleavage in a hilarious episode of Seinfeld: "Looking at cleavage is like looking at the sun. You don't stare at it. It's too risky. Ya get a sense of it and then you look away."
But, in this case, it is so gross. I mean, these are fathers of kids at the dance. Control your hormones, dad. Ew.
This story continues on the next page.
In the other tale of the too-short clothing, a teen in Montreal was suspended because she refused to change her shorts, which didn't conform to the dress code because of the finger tip rule. In retaliation, she hung posters that said, "Don't humiliate her because she is wearing shorts. It's hot outside. Instead of shaming girls for their bodies, teach boys that girls are not sexual objects."
Frankly, she has a point. Her shorts are not an issue except for hormonal boys. And even so, are the administrators so afraid of her legs and the damage they might do to young boys, she must be reprimanded?
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It really does speak to a much larger issue and that is the cavernous difference between how men and women view each other's bodies. Is it true that women should be able to wear anything they want without fear? Absolutely. Can they? Probably not.
This is not the fault of women, which is part of what makes the #YesAllWomen hashtag commentary so fascinating, despite what some would like to believe. This is a man problem, a problem with us. When we can't control ourselves, we create the problem, or exacerbate it at the very least. If we can't walk down the street without catcalling someone, that's simply a lack of control, not an indictment of the object of our lurid affection.
This reminds me of when someone is robbed and the first thing they are asked is, "Were your doors locked?" Why should that even be a question. If I want to leave my damn doors wide open and all my most expensive belongings within eyeshot of the street, NO ONE has the right to walk in and take them.
For these two girls, they are the proverbial open door and the leering boys (or fathers - ack!) are the criminals walking by. Instead of fighting with them over the length of their clothing, try telling boys who are staring to mind their own damn business and be more respectful of the women around them.