An Illinois Catholic high school has been accused of body shaming after publishing a 20-slide presentation outlining their dress code for prom. Boylan Catholic High School’s guide contained instructions for how girls should dress for the dance, with 11 slides of pictures containing examples of “acceptable” versus non-acceptable dresses. Meanwhile, only two slide are dedicated to boys’ attire — a total of one sentence and four pictures, none of which show examples of non-acceptable attire.
In addition to the lengthy guidelines for female students — which address different styles in necklines, dress length, cutouts and tightness of fabric — critics have also taken issue with a sentence in the dress code that suggests girls with different body types will be held to different standards.
“Some girls may wear the same dress, but due to body types, one dress may be acceptable while the other is not,” it reads.
According to a student interviewed by CNN, the school separated female and male students to give them the presentation.
“All the girls immediately booed the teacher, which was really awful,” Boylan senior Alex Symonds said, adding that the teacher “did say some offensive stuff.”
Allegedly, the teacher told the girls, “One girl wearing one dress is not the same as another girl wearing the same dress,” to which another student replied, “That’s body shaming.”
“There’s just so much about the girls,” Symonds said. “It’s hard to pick out a dress.”
The school, however, insists that the dress code isn’t new and that parents have found it helpful for shopping.
“It was developed two years ago by a committee made up of teachers and students who consulted dress codes that existed at other Catholic schools across the country,” said Amy Ott, the school’s president. “As a private Catholic high school, we adhere to teaching our students moral values which include modesty. We want all students to feel beautiful in what they wear while also adhering to our values as a Catholic school.”