This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
It's called "slut shaming." It is an appropriately nasty term for a particularly disgraceful behavior that is all too common in our society. It's the act of going out of one's way to demean or insult a person usually a young woman for the sin of doing no more than showing off their natural beauty.
Public school administrators who cannot abstain from the practice should find another line of work.
The most recent example took place over the weekend at Bingham High School's annual homecoming dance. The skin police aka Principal Chris Richards-Khong turned away maybe two dozen students. Some were boys who had dared to wear jeans instead of slacks, but most were young women whose party dresses were judged to be showing too much.
The students had been warned that their dresses should not dip below the top of the armpit. But at least a few of the frocks had been worn the year before and passed muster.
Photos provided by some of the students show dresses that revealed very little, at least in front, though they may have dipped a bit in the back. In other words, normal American party dresses.
Some of the young women turned away donned sweaters or borrowed their date's vest. Others were rightly offended and chose to depart rather than subject themselves to such abuse of authority.
The students' righteous indignation coupled, no doubt, with a bit of normal teenage rebelliousness led to a demonstration at school Monday where some 80 students walked out.
The honored tradition of American civil disobedience requires that the students who walked out accept what should be the normal consequences for a single unexcused absence. But that doesn't mean that the students were wrong to register their objection to seeing a handful of their classmates treated as pieces of overexposed meat, which is what the principal was doing by ruling that the normal appearance of healthy young women engaging in normal preening behavior was in any way out of bounds.
The message sent by the principal's action is that the young women in question were wrong to appear as they did. That they were taunting or teasing or "asking for it."
These are the kinds of thoughts that push young women to feel totally unjustified shame over their very selves, even as they push young and not so young men to see displays of female beauty as lascivious invitations to misbehavior.
The principal in this case was wrong. She should publicly apologize for her serious error of judgment. If she doesn't, the district superintendent or school board should do it for her.