Monday, March 28, 2011

It's prom season! Bring on the gender conformity

Prom season causes a certain amount of consternation for administrators worried about, largely, the alcohol consumption and sexual behaviors of prom goers. In recent years we have seen some school officials, though, battle another alleged social ill: girls who want to wear tuxes (and some boys who want to wear gowns). A little over a year ago Erin wrote a post with a very similar title as my own here. And this year is no exception. In Houma, Louisiana senior Monique Verdin is planning on wearing a tux to her prom. Last year she wore a men's suit to a dance--without incident. But school officials have caught wind of her plan--which isn't really a plan; she just wants to wear what she's comfortable in--and said she will not be allowed in if she wears a tuxedo. According to school policy, prom attire must be formal wear which specifically notes gowns for girls and tuxedos for boys (we should also note how this policy is not just gendered but has class implications as well). But other similar cases (and note Verdin has not filed a lawsuit; she seems to be just hoping for the best) have privileged legally protected civil rights over "tradition" (the response from a parish official). The prom is this weekend. And right now it seems school officials are adamant.* In good news, Verdin's family and friends are sticking by her. Her father has contacted a lawyer. And her friends have said they will not go into the prom until they are assured that Verdin can get in too. * Interestingly this story was published this morning and despite my repeated refreshings it seems not to have been updated. But the title of the story that appears on my internet banner in is conflict with the article title and reads: High school relents on prom tux for girl. Not sure if this is wishful thinking or if there is some internet glitch. I certainly hope it's true and that the school does not have something sneaky planned like an alternate prom.