Monday, December 12, 2011

Mississippi School District Changes Yearbook Photo Policy

[content/trigger warning: gender policing]

A Mississippi school district has changed its policy on requiring gendered clothing in yearbook photos. Via USA Today:

"The issue stemmed from a complaint in 2009 by Ceara Sturgis, a lesbian, whose photo was left out of the yearbook at Wesson Attendance Center because she wore a tux for her portrait. It also was not included in a composite photo displayed in the school library."

First off, regarding the tux thing. Before the district's policy change, boys had to wear tuxes and girls had to wear, and I quote, "a garment resembling an off-the-shoulder dress." It's always interesting when authorities make gender disctinctions unnecessarily. What was the purpose of requiring separate, gender-based clothing for yearbook photos? Marking gender in this way suggests that gender is relevant to academics. But, is it?

Secondly, I'm not sure why it's relevant to note that Sturgis is a lesbian. Lesbianism is a sexual orientation, not a gender identity. I can imagine many heterosexual and bisexual girls who also maybe wouldn't want to wear "a garment resembling an off-the-shoulder dress." I'm not opposed to wearing dresses, but I for damn sure wouldn't wear an off-the-shoulder thingy.

And, thinking back to my high school days, I for sure know some boys who would have been enviously eyeing those "off-the-shoulder garments." Some people are just into the Jennifer-Beals-from-1983 look. Which is fine. I just don't think it should be, like, forced on people.

Anyway, all students will now wear dresses in their yearbook photos.

And by dresses, I mean caps and gowns. Because the power-that-be consider dresses acceptable for men to wear when they're for academic purposes. Apparently.

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