This probably looks like an unusual topic for Hot Air, but the rather frivolous nature of the subject speaks to some deeper societal questions which cross all sorts of boundaries. In Connecticut, one high school issued guidelines for proper attire at the prom this year and it has some of the teenagers up in arms. (And a lot more than just arms are visible in some cases.) Shelton High School sent out a memo letting families know that their daughters should not show up looking like Lady Gaga on the red carpet when prom night comes. This is apparently now referred to as “slut shaming.”

Female students at a Connecticut High School are furious that dresses bought for this weekend’s prom are being banned because they have exposed shoulders, backs, sides and legs. One mother—whose daughter had two dresses rejected—said, “They’ve suggested the girls wear T-shirts under their dresses. My daughter won’t wear a T-shirt. She would be mortified.”

The students and their parents claim that the school dropped the dress code bomb with only a week before prom…

Superintendent Burr said, “We want all students attending the prom on Saturday evening to have a memorable night. We know that all of our students want a great prom. We want all of our young female students to be dressed beautifully. Obviously, we want them to enjoy themselves. However, we also want them to be dressed appropriately – appropriately with class and dignity, and also dressed in a tasteful way.”

Some of the students are circulating petitions and enlisting the local press to protest the dress code requirements. They complain about the amount of money that their parents have spent on the gear and how it’s not worth going if they “can’t feel beautiful.”

Let’s take a look at a few examples of this definition of “beauty” for underage teen girls.

Prom2

Here’s another.

Prom1

And perhaps the most telling example of the group provided to the media:

Prom3

The fact that this is even a controversial ruling by the school indicates that things have gotten a bit out of hand to say the least. We’re talking about a high school prom, not the reception line at the MTV Movie Awards. And these are still children. Both their parents and their teachers have a responsibility to at least try to instill some values in them before they leave the nest. I’m not saying that everyone needs to show up in poodle skirts or Victorian floor length gowns, but surely there are limits. Some of these outfits are far too adult for kids that age… particularly the last one. I’m not saying every dress in the collection shown at the link is over the line, and really it’s only the parents who can draw that line in the end. But is the idea of class, dignity and taste as described by the school memo really all that outrageous of an idea?

Children still need time to be children, no matter how much of a hurry they are in to grow up. And it seems like parents would not be in such a rush to push them into those roles. (At the risk of veering back off into “Get Off My Lawn” territory, I can’t imagine the fathers of some of these girls wanting them going out the door with their dates when they appear to already be halfway undressed. Prom night is stressful enough for the fathers as it is.) Is it really so controversial for the school to want young ladies and gentlemen to dress as such?

Or have I crossed over the line into “the generation of the past” where I should just lock myself in the den with my rocking chair and a bottle of Geritol? Personally, if this was happening at a high school near me I’d send them a letter of congratulations.