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Seriously, what the fuck is wrong with Utah?

gabi-finalyson-435So last year, I remember linking to an article about a teen girl who was ejected from her prom for dressing too sexy. She was told that her dress violated the school’s length requirements. There was a spirited discussion about it. I, being me, and, liberal to the point of anarchy, and having the basic belief that people should have a right to their own sexual agency by about age 14, was obviously against such regulations altogether. But even then, I can admit that the girl’s dress was kind of sexy. It was supposed to be sexy. She was going to prom. Prom only exists so that you teenagers can have an excuse to look all pretty and then sneak off, drink some Old Grandad and fuck later. That’s what prom is. People often get into a whole stink about teens (especially girls) dressing inappropriately. I see people complaining about new prom styles (like these) all the time, I don’t have a problem with it.

I get that some people do.

But then I just came across this article about 15-year-old Gabi Finlayson, who was ejected from her school formal in Utah last month for the same reason. Ok, I get that Utah was founded by the Mormon church. I get that social standards there are going to be much more strict and conservative than mine. But even disregarding all issues of teen sexuality or gender discrimination against teen girls…

Will someone please tell me what the fuck is supposed to be wrong with this dress?

Off-white lace over over an opaque lining. Mild scoop neck, well above the bustline, with lace trim covering. Sleeveless with full straps. Mid-shin length.

I mean, she looks nice. Cute even. Not hot. Not sexy. Nice. I’ve seen sexier 15-year-old girls at church services. Hell, I’ve seen sexier 12-year-olds at first communions.

The article claims that the school’s dress code is pretty clear: “Formals, backless dresses and/or tops may not extend beyond the bottom of the shoulder blades. Girls’ dresses and tops must have a 2″ minimum strap on each shoulder. Shawls, boleros and other shrugs are acceptable if worn over the dress at all times. Cleavage covered.” As far as I can tell, she’s not even trying to like push the line. I mean, maybe there’s some guy whose job it is to sit there and measure dress straps to make sure they’re 2 inches and she comes in and 1.9, but the article claims that that’s not even the case.

Like I seriously don’t even get this one well enough to make fun of it.

29 comments for “Seriously, what the fuck is wrong with Utah?

  1. avatar
    February 5, 2015 at 6:30 pm

    Just last century they arrested people for inappropriate beach atire. Soo.. yeah we’ve come a long way but it still happens.

  2. avatar
    February 5, 2015 at 11:30 pm

    Just last century they arrested people for inappropriate beach atire. Soo.. yeah we’ve come a long way but it still happens.

  3. avatar
    February 5, 2015 at 6:35 pm

    It says right in the article she got her dress in Paris. French people have sex. Question answered.

  4. avatar
    February 5, 2015 at 6:38 pm

    They’re just picking on her because she’s 15 and hasn’t gotten married yet?

  5. avatar
    February 5, 2015 at 6:43 pm

    Aha, I see what’s wrong: she’s obviously not wearing her magic underwear. If she was, she’d have to wear a dress with sleeves to ensure no one else sees the God mandated garments.

  6. avatar
    February 5, 2015 at 6:59 pm

    A male teacher got a hardon?

  7. avatar
    February 5, 2015 at 7:01 pm

    Ann: I get that that’s the purpose of the rule. But I feel like her particular dress isn’t really conducive to that. I mean, I wasn’t at the dance, but she claims there were sexier outfits there. And I have a hard time believing there weren’t because really, there are plenty of sexier outfits in church any given sunday. Even a Mormon one, I imagine.

  8. avatar
    February 5, 2015 at 7:02 pm

    that dress is so downright innocent that i’m still having a hard time believing it

  9. avatar
    February 5, 2015 at 7:03 pm

    Yeah, what Philip said…

  10. avatar
    February 5, 2015 at 7:04 pm

    Actually, Mormon churches are uber conservative. Sexy outfits would be rather frowned upon. In Mormon and Fundie circles, you always cover your shoulders and a portion of your arms.

  11. avatar
    February 5, 2015 at 7:05 pm

    I’ll admit they’re not showing the back of it…maybe it’s got a keyhole that goes too low or something. It doesn’t look like a style that would be backless. Or else they’re just jealous that she went to Paris.

  12. avatar
    February 5, 2015 at 7:06 pm

    Oh, I get the purpose of the rule, but it looked like the dress met that rule as written. So yeah, I don’t see why she was singled out, unless it was that the more than two inch straps were lace.

  13. avatar
    February 5, 2015 at 7:07 pm

    Kash Mira: Oh, I know… when I was writing this I did a little research. Here’s a site that specifically sells modest dresses for LDS services: http://www.jenclothing.com/church-dresses.html and as you guessed, the shoulders are always covered… but even then, they’re certainly cut far more feminine and sensually than the one Gabi has in that picture. Most of them show way more leg, and several of them show far more cleavage.

  14. avatar
    February 5, 2015 at 7:11 pm

    Mormons can show their collarbones, Fundies typically can’t. The dresses on that site are pretty cute, even if knee length.

  15. avatar
    February 5, 2015 at 7:15 pm

    It probably was the lace, but the rule (as far as we can see) doesn’t say anything about lace. Heck, it doesn’t even say that your entire dress (or any of it) has to be opaque.

  16. avatar
    February 5, 2015 at 7:31 pm

    yeah, my guess is that Katherine is right. But she’s also right that the dress code doesn’t say that’s prohibited. I don’t have a better closeup of the dress (the only other one I’ve seen shows the front even less well) but it doesn’t look all that translucent. Certainly not in a sexy way.

    But officially, according to this story from the Today Show, that has more info (and the other dress pic) the problem was that the straps weren’t wide enough.

    http://www.today.com/parents/utah-girl-asked-cover-over-dress-code-violation-felt-embarrassed-2D80453387

  17. avatar
    February 5, 2015 at 7:53 pm

    Men of faith (whatever faith that happens to be), your wandering eyes are your own damn problem. Stop blaming it on women, their clothing, or anything else that they have on.

  18. avatar
    February 5, 2015 at 8:19 pm

    not all faiths. some faiths are all right with that

  19. avatar
    February 5, 2015 at 8:26 pm

    Maybe you should do a photo shoot of sexy poses in lds attire

  20. avatar
    February 5, 2015 at 9:04 pm

    Isn’t ’embarrassed and ashamed’ the point of such rules on women’s bodies?

  21. avatar
    February 5, 2015 at 9:21 pm

    So far, every case I’ve heard its because a male teacher looked at the teen, apparently felt like having sex with them, because they singled out ONLY the slim, fit, pretty girls. None of these “isn’t dress code” has ever been an ugly girl. In fact, at least once, another unattractive girl had a more “slutty” dress but because the teacher wasn’t sexually moved by her, her dress passed.

  22. avatar
    February 5, 2015 at 9:28 pm

    Wendy: yeah. That is frequently but not always the case. The one I link to at the top of the (blog version of this) post was actually a complaint by a female chaperone who felt the young girl was too attractive for the male chaperones around her.

    There was also another case I wrote about a while back where the school photoshopped more conservative outfits into yearbook photos.

    And there was a school that several of my kids in the English class I teach wrote about where they banned tanktops for all girls even though the airconditioning was broken and a heatwave was occurring.

  23. avatar
    February 5, 2015 at 9:30 pm

    Exactly, it is exactly a male teacher deciding the girl looks sexy, feeling ashamed of his reaction, and then blames the girl for ‘making him feel that way’. Because we all know teenage girls are specifically at fault in such a situation, even when they follow the rules. In fact, they must be breaking the rules, because the rules (which control how they look and express themselves as young women) are designed to hinder them and protect (vulnerable men?) from their young confidence and self-expression. If the young women at prom are ‘making’ men feel they are desirable, then CLEARLY the young woman has failed to follow the dress code, even if by all visual reports they have, because the fault is NEVER the man’s, always hers.

  24. avatar
    February 6, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    Because Shoulders give Boners.

  25. avatar
    February 6, 2015 at 6:24 pm

    Moose: To be fair, I think in this case we do need to go there, because the entire point (at least, I think the point Wendy is trying to make if I interpret her right) is that the incidence of “dress code violations” is heavily skewed towards girls that are slim, fit and pretty… which implies that the violations aren’t in fact due to the outfits.

  26. avatar
    February 6, 2015 at 6:29 pm

    ok, I’ll certainly agree to that. They certainly are heavily skewed as far as the ones that get public press. There certainly could be tons of plain girls, fat girls, out of shape girls, ugly girls, or boys that this is happening to as well and the media doesn’t pick up on it. Just like I suppose there could be a whole epidemic of deadly police brutality against korean americans and just no one reports. By definition, I can only write rants on stuff I know about.

    But as far as we know, it appears to be heavily skewed (though not 100%… there are a few incidences as I mentioned in my other response) towards traditionally pretty girls. Usually: thin, pretty, buxom, white, and often blonde.

  27. avatar
    February 6, 2015 at 11:29 pm

    ok, I’ll certainly agree to that. They certainly are heavily skewed as far as the ones that get public press. There certainly could be tons of plain girls, fat girls, out of shape girls, ugly girls, or boys that this is happening to as well and the media doesn’t pick up on it. Just like I suppose there could be a whole epidemic of deadly police brutality against korean americans and just no one reports. By definition, I can only write rants on stuff I know about.

    But as far as we know, it appears to be heavily skewed (though not 100%… there are a few incidents as I mentioned in my other response) towards traditionally pretty girls. Usually: thin, pretty, buxom, white, and often blonde.

  28. avatar
    February 6, 2015 at 6:31 pm

    (that said, assuming there are a rash of fat, black, ugly, brunette boys that are also getting nailed by unfair dress code violations and the media never picks up on it, that would actually underscore the real point just as much)

  29. avatar
    February 6, 2015 at 6:33 pm

    “There were a lot of dresses that were very short, very tight, a lot more exposing or revealing than mine,” she told the station. If she’s telling the truth, then the adults singled her and three other girls for a reason other than skimpy dress. If you look at her, she’s beautiful. This goes along with other stories I heard like this — pretty girl gets told she’s too slutty, other girls who dress less “respectable” aren’t for some reason. If you go with the idea that the STATED reason for dress code that “must not excite young men” then what is really happening is adults are using their own excitement when viewing girls to decide who is proper and who is improper.

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