The Corner

Culture

Cranky Copy Editor: Get Off My Lawn

The New York Post’s op-ed page prints summaries of opinion pieces from other publications, including NR and NRO, and recently they have begun stating in the headlines what the writer’s political viewpoint is. For example: “Centrist: Pelosi’s Disgraceful Kellyanne Conway Dodge,” “Iconoclast: Time to Abolish the Ivy League,” “Health-care Wonk: GOP Plan Worse Than Obamacare” (though describing Megan McArdle as a “health-care wonk” is like describing Leonard Bernstein as a “pianist”; she’s an everything wonk). Using this helpful system, which I wish more publications would adopt, I have come up with a headline (vide supra) that should work with just about everything I post.

Anyway, today must be a slow outrage day, because the best thing the Left can find to complain about is a manual issued by a Catholic high school in Illinois, detailing what types of outfits are acceptable and unacceptable for wearing to the prom. The manual seems straightforward and not particularly strict by the standards of religious schools, but feminists are taking exception to a line that reads:

Claims that a dress was worn at last year’s Prom or at Homecoming will not be discussed. Some girls may wear the same dress but due to body types, one dress may be acceptable while the other is not.

Since the guidelines go into considerable detail about length, tightness, the location of slits, and the distance separating top and skirt in a two-piece dress, this warning about differing body types might seem obvious. But as Professor Robyn Goodman of the University of Florida (and of Fox Sports University), a “body image and media expert,” explained to the Rockford Register-Star, it is actually a case of “body shaming”:

Telling one girl she has to restrict her body by only wearing certain fashions and telling another her body is fine for any fashion is sending a message about what is the “right” body to have and what is the “wrong” body. These messages are often damaging to girls. We are not allowed to discriminate in the U.S. based on race, disability, gender, age, etc. . . . So why are schools discriminating against girls based on their bodies?

That’s what you get for trying to explain modesty to kids in an era when it is all but unknown.

Fred Schwarz — Fred Schwarz is a deputy managing editor of National Review.

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