Overbearing Prom Dress Codes are Sexist

The Authentic Perspective

March 22nd, 2017

Prom season is among us. For many high school seniors, it will be what they believe to be the best night of their lives. Girls have been waiting for this day since they took the high school entrance exam. They cannot wait to pick out the perfect dress-but thanks to overbearing prom dress codes, they probably will not be allowed to wear their dream dress.

Prom dress codes have been in existence since prom began, and with fair reasoning. Girls and boys, alike, should wear formal wear, as it will be a formal event. But as the years progress, the dress codes have become increasingly overbearing and sexist.

Source: Boylan Catholic High School

Recently, Boylan Catholic High School in Rockford, Illinois released a 21 page dress code manual for their students. Immediately, there was an uproar against the dress code. While it is important to notice that it is, in fact, a Catholic high school, and the school may have higher standards than other schools, but has Boylan set their rules too high?

Of the 21 pages, only 2 pages are dedicated to the boys, simply stating that they must wear a suit, jacket, and tie. The rest of the pages are aimed at the girls, stating some pretty strict, and sometimes ridiculous, rules. Dresses cannot have cutouts. No back can be shown. Navels must not be seen. Nude colored dresses that show the illusion of skin are not allowed, despite the fact that actual skin is not showing. Coverups and shawls are not allowed.

The message that this and other prom dress codes are sending is that a girl has to hide her body-even her back! The showing of her back or navel is unnatural and shameful and must be hidden. Even nude colored dresses are not allowed because the nude color is just like the skin, which must be hidden at all costs.

Source: Boylan Catholic High School

But the guys just have to wear a suit and tie. Where are the rules stating how tight their dress shirts can be, if they have to be tucked in, if they have to wear a belt, how long their tie has to be, what types of jackets are and are not allowed, if they are allowed to take off their jacket, or even wear one since it is technically a cover up, etc.

Such strict prom dress codes are a reminder once again to girls that they have to hide their body or be shamed. While there is such a thing as appropriate and inappropriate wear to such a formal event as prom, overbearing and sexist dress codes ruin such an event in the end.  

To read Boylan’s full policy, visit here.


Senior Viewpoints Editor 
Jill Augustine

Tags: , , , , , ,

Recent News

SVA and Tau Sigma Come Together for Soldiers Overseas

November 29th, 2017

The Student Veterans Alliance is hosting yet another holiday event in which they will be giving back to the soldiers who are overseas. SVA will be collaborating with Zeta Tau, SXU’s chapter of Tau Sigma National Honor Society for transfer students. The two organizations will be hosting the Homemade Christmas…

Destress Events at Saint Xavier

November 29th, 2017

As the semester winds down and finals approach, students can look forward to a few things to help them destress. On Thursday, November 30, students can stop by the Student Lounge to see Lucky and Pals! The popular therapy dogs will in the lounge from 10am to 11:30am. Students can…

Student Media Says Goodbye to Bryan Anderson

November 29th, 2017

Bryan Anderson is a graduating senior of Saint Xavier University with a major in Marketing. Bryan is a transfer student to Saint Xavier. He attended two previous institutions before coming to Saint Xavier. This is his third (and final) semester here. “This school has been my favorite out of the…

More News Articles >>