At a time when high school students are screaming sexism over outdated dress codes, a school in Pennsylvania has taken wardrobe critiquing to the unacceptable level of fat shaming. Biglerville High School distributed a distasteful memo to high school seniors Wednesday, describing how the district expects students to dress for commencement exercises. One teen fought back, immediately posting a photo of the document on her Facebook, which prompted a quick response from officials.
Some dress codes, such as ones that prohibit “pants on the ground” are a welcome rule from the majority of society. However, there are those like Lauren Wiggens, who was recently disciplined for wearing a halter style maxi dress that showed her bra straps, show there are blurred lines that need further detail. Bras are undergarments, and if a male that reveals his is frowned upon, then the rule should apply for bra straps as well. The entire issue could have simply been avoided had the teen wore a strapless bra. Then, school officials most likely would have left her alone.
Biglerville High School, however, stepped over the line. In an attempt to apparently be witty, the author of the district’s “Proper Attire & Etiquette” referendum for the school’s “AWARDS PROGRAM and GRADUATION” used fat shaming to suggest female seniors not wear inappropriate clothing to the right of passage.
Noting the apparent lack of respect for its female alumni, Brianna Burtop of Gardners, Penn., a member of the class of 2015, posted a picture of the memo followed by its most offensive snippets, “Keeping it classy Biglerville High School. We don’t want to see your sausage rolls. You can’t put 10 pounds of mud in a 5 pound sack.” The student then commented, “I didn’t know it was okay to insult your female students. Weight shouldn’t be used for comedic relief,” reported Yahoo!
Burtop’s post was shared over 170 times and received more than 200 comments, some of which blamed the teen for attention seeking. As she stated in her replies, the high school senior isn’t battling the dress code, nor suggesting girls shouldn’t dress with a certain degree of humility, especially to a formal ceremony such as graduation. Brianna simply felt the adjectives used were offensive.
Ultimately I just want to state, I don’t disagree with the message. Modesty is important and you should know how to dress ‘professionally.’ However, you should never tell a student to put their ‘sausage rolls’ away and refer to their body as a ’10 pound sack of mud, being shoved into a five-pound bag.’
The Upper Adams School District responded Wednesday with a press release, apologizing for the inappropriate language in the original document, sort of. Officials stated it was “drafted years ago,” which doesn’t make it right, and the “author has since retired.” The school district never owned responsibility for the choice of verbiage, but rather said, “The Administration acknowledges that some individuals have found certain language in the document to be inappropriate or in poor taste,” calling the vocabulary “unfortunate word choices.” Characterizing a young woman’s body as a piece of meat is offensive. There are one hundred ways that are effective in driving home the message of appropriate dress without degrading a teenager’s physique.