To the Editor:
As students we scarcely thought we would be the type to write to the high school paper, but as alumni we really must express how much we admire the new guidelines for appropriate dancing and dress for social events, truly reminding the student body that yes, the Academy was in fact founded in 1778. For this dedication to the traditions of the Academy we commend you.
In fact, the only part of this new rule that the authors have no choice but to strongly object to is that the “not adequately clothed” criteria is hardly specific enough. We would also like to make some recommendations about appropriate attire in order to better embrace these new requirements. Girls, the next time you choose to leave your dormitory to fraternize with young Phillips men, remember to wear your floor length skirt lest a man be corrupted by the sight of your ankle, with you in turn being corrupted by his attention. Furthermore, upon arriving at a dance, should you choose to roll your sleeves up past your wrists, remember to be aware of those who will affix a literal scarlet letter to you, to be worn for a length of time befitting the square inches of arm revealed.
We must furthermore offer our admiration that the new code does not limit “sexually suggestive dancing” to simply “grinding.” A variety of other “dances” can tarnish your purity, ladies. (Gentlemen, breathe a sigh of relief, you’ll be fine no matter how you dress or dance.) Remember, the tango is inappropriate in high society and the Charleston is the devil’s dance.
For those whose bodies have historically been coded as sexual, perhaps you may consider not leaving your dorm completely, as it likely does not matter how you dance anyway: it will be labeled as “too sexual” regardless. It’s not that we are telling women of color that we don’t want them at the dance, mind you. We are just letting you know that you could save a lot of time and energy by staying home.
On a more serious note: This is a real learning opportunity for the community. We may have complained about the lack of objective guidelines earlier, but the broad ideas of these new regulations are sound. It’s good to teach women at a young age that appropriate behaviour regarding their body and clothing is not a fully formed decision they can make for themselves, but is decided for them by a subjective standard set by others. This is a lesson young women can take with them off into college, job interviews, business ventures and beyond: no matter what, you will be judged more for your appearance in any particular context than by your intelligence, hard-work and charm.
Tiana Baheri ’12
Abigail Burman ’12
Kate Chaviano ’12