Dress Code Shaming Strikes Again: High School Alters Girls’ Yearbook Photos

by Emily Robinson

For the girls of Wasatch High School, dress code shaming doesn’t end with complaints about “too tight” leggings and “distracting” short skirts. Their 2013-2014 yearbook will be a constant reminder that their personal choice of clothes that day were too revealing for their high school administration to handle. 

The girls’ yearbooks photos were edited to cover more skin, without warning or consent from any of the students. Many girls were wearing appropriate clothes that were altered to add a sleeve or a thick, black, fake camisole to cover any cleavage they might have been showing. When you take a look at the original photos, there aren’t any glaring violations that would make you look twice. The edited versions, however, basically make women’s shoulders and chests contraband. Utah, I don’t know if you knew this, but BOTH women and men have shoulders and chests. So why are you punishing girls for showing them?

In a Fox 13 News Report, Kimberley Montoya, a student whose photo was edited, commented that “the color of the coverup was completely white. It looked like whiteout on my skin”. It seems like this high school was quite literally trying to erase these girls’ bodies to make room for conservative, patriarchal standards.  

The school administration (and yearbook committee) defend their actions, stating that there was a sign at picture day informing students that their photos could be subject to editing. Yet no one during the time of the photos commented to let the girls know they were “breaking dress code” or were dressed inappropriately. The only apology that they released was for their lack of consistency; some girls had images photoshopped, while others with the same or similar outfits were left untouched.  

Though the girls whose images were retouched were treated SO unfairly, consistency shouldn’t be the issue. No one should ever have to worry about their yearbook image being dissected under some strict moral standard. The school reasoned that this is how they teach students to dress appropriately for “the real world”. Is photoshopping without much warning really teaching? It seems like unfair punishment to me. 

It’s also interesting to note that either no boys’ photos have been reported as photoshopped. If anything, this is just reaffirming the conversation around #YesAllWomen – even if you don’t always see cultural misogyny, that doesn’t mean it’s not there.  

One of my favorite (and most relevant tweets) from the hashtag is, “A ‘Cool Story Babe, Now Make a Sandwich’ shirt doesn’t break the school dress code. A girl’s bra strap does”. It points out everything that is wrong with our dress codes; we have stopped seeing women’s bodies as their own, but rather as something everyone has a right to objectify. 

Can we all just agree to stop policing girls for having bodies like any other person? Is that too much to ask? Ok, cool. Glad we’re on the same page. 


Images via Fox13now.com

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