A 17-year-old senior from Chesterville, Virginia named Clare Ettinger is fighting back after being asked to leave a prom organized for homeschooled students. The offense: Male adult chaperones were afraid her "dancing was too provocative" and she was "going to cause the young men at the prom to think impure thoughts." Even though the young woman protested that she was wearing a dress that adhered to the "fingertip length" dress code, she and five friends she'd carpooled with were forced to leave the dance.
In the wake of the incident, Clare blogged about her experience, writing, "The whole situation made me feel violated, walked over and ostracized." So wrong -- and such a heinous example of how parents are often reinforcing twisted values and standards that put the onus of preventing harassment and rape on young women instead of where it truly belongs.
This sort of behavior on the part of adults is horrifyingly cowardly. And it's sad proof that there are still too many parents having the wrong conversations -- with one another and their children. We need to be telling our daughters that it's not at all THEIR fault if someone else has no self-control or is objectifying them. Our sons need to hear that it's their responsibility to control themselves and a young woman's dress is NEVER an invitation for negativity, harassment, or abuse.
It's not a long-shot to think that this sort of treatment of a young woman for Clare sets a dangerous, severely antiquated precedent that says it's a woman's responsibility to "cover up" and prevent men from acting on their desires. A precedent for saying it's a woman's fault if she gets raped. As disturbing as it is, that's what Clare's appalling experience boils down to. At least we can take heart that she's speaking out -- and hopefully, it will inspire others to, as well.
How have you discussed harassment with your children?
The whole story has a funky smell to it. Plus, I'm sorry. Mob mentality rules, even in something as dull as this. Her 'many' witnesses are probably a bunch of friends or parents that are looking for a score in some feud. Humans lie and exaggerate all the time. Everyone wants their side of the story to be the only truth, the righteous truth, but as my mama always used to say, "There's his side, her side, and then the truth." I'm more interested in what is between the lines, than what either party 'CLAIMS' as the truth.
I'm not taking either side. I'm sure each party did their own parts to create this clusterF***.
Quoting mem82: I am interested in reading more about it. I don't believe that anyone, the girl included, is telling the whole truth.
What do you believe that the girl and her many witnesses are lying about?
I live in the area this happened. I am a member of the co op that sponsored prom. My children are not prom age, so I don't know exactly what happened. However, there is another blog with someone elses point of view. According to that blog, the girl had her skirt hiked up and was dancing inappropriately, I don't know who decides what is appropriate or not. She was also cussing and not following the rules that she signed when she purchased her ticket. She used this as a way to get attention. As soon as it happened she called the local news stations. The family also has done stuff like this in the past to raise money for different reasons. I'll try to find the blog.
Why do girls feel it necessary, and parents feel comfortable with their daughters wearing dresses that barely fit over their rumps? Why do they feel that they need to reveal that much of their bodies? IMO I think schools SHOULD put a better dress code for dances and proms. Call me old fashioned or conservative, but I think girls shouldn't wear outfits that cut off above their knees. And it's not a double standard. You don't see boys wearing excessively revealing outfits, generally. For me, it's not about what the guys will think. It's about having respect for yourself and not thinking that you have to show that much skin. Nobody needs to see that much of a girl's body. Not boys, not other girls, not little young children passing by.