Pennsylvania Prom Dress Gender Bias Rules Spark Controversy

One high school’s gender-biased dress code for prom has sparked controversy in Pennsylvania, leading to an online petition for change.

Delone Catholic High School outlined their dress code for the 2015 prom earlier this month, only six short weeks before the much anticipated event.

“All young women and men in attendance, whether a member of the Delone Catholic student body or a guest of a Delone Catholic student, need to be dressed in gender-specific formal wear,” an announcement released by school officials on their website read.

Not only are the girls not permitted to wear pants or pant suits, their gowns must be approved by the schools Prom Committee and Administration, according to Yahoo.

“Women’s gowns may not be extremely short, have an extremely low cut front or back, have any excessively high cut slits, have overly revealing midriffs, or be inappropriately revealing — giving the illusion of nudity,” the school announcement continued. ” Gentlemen must be in formal attire: tuxedo or complete suit coat, dress pants (no shorts), dress shirt, and tie.”

The administration is scrutinizing the girl’s dresses so much so that they asked for each girl to submit a photo of their prom gown for pre-approval. If the photo is not submitted, or the dress is not approved, the student will not be allowed to purchase their prom tickets.

Parents of the students at Delone Catholic High School are upset about the guidelines, and have started a petition on Change.org in protest. One of the main complaints is the fact that the administration waited until March 13 to post the dress code, after many of the parents had already purchased their daughter’s dresses.

“We as the paying customers of Delone Catholic have been notified about antiquated and unreasonable restrictions imposed on the formal wear for the May 2015 prom. Restrictions have been posted six weeks before the prom. Many parents have purchased non-refundable prom gowns,” the petition reads.

“We have not been given a set of guidelines in a reasonable amount of time. Guidelines have not been posted for parents or students to see until the date of Friday, March 13, 2015. Prom is to be held May 1st, 2015. Guidelines imposed are subjective, non-specific, and are up for interpretation.

The parents of Delone Catholic High School will not tolerate these guidelines imposed for this year. By supporting this petition our students do not have to submit photos to a prom committee. Our children will not undergo scrutiny of prom gowns based on outdated, unrealistic expectations and rules implemented at such short notice.”

The petition, which has since been closed, gathered 255 signatures. Supporters argued that it wasn’t fair for the students to have to submit photos of their dresses, and the gender-specific rules could negatively impact those students who are already suffering with gender roles and their identity.

Do you think the gender-biased guidelines for prom imposed by the administration at the Pennsylvania high school are too harsh? Leave your comments below.