Culture

Bring the Modesty Ponchos Back!

How Can Kids Ever Feel Safe in School if Someone Busts into Prom Wearing a Strapless Dress?

By Bailey Edwards ·
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Earlier this week, a Catholic school in Michigan made headlines for advertising a “modesty poncho” in the hall of their school to remind female students what they would be forced to wear if they didn’t abide by the school dress code at prom. In other words, if too much of their God-given body is in sight, the young girls would be relegated to wearing an ugly, draped cloth over the new dresses they excitedly purchased for what may well have been their very first dance. But today, the very same school made headlines for reversing this policy and I, for one, am shook with anger that they would remove such an obviously reasonable and necessary policy.

These girls, who are probably 18 at most, should be taught right away that their bodies are tiny weapons and should be hidden away lest they accidentally cause irreversible damage. Like guns, which are likely not regulated at this high school, teen girl bodies without the safety on (aka the modesty poncho), can cause bodily harm in unsuspecting male students. It is our duty, as oppressive adults hell-bent on convincing our youth that the way they were born is problematic, to remind young girls at the very onset of their womanhood that who they are and what they look like is metagrobolizing and inappropriate.

Never mind the male students in attendance, and what we ought to be teaching them. Why should we prepare them early on that the mere sight of a woman’s body, at best, doesn’t invite unwanted staring, and at worst, invites sexual assault? After all, they’re just boys being boys—they were born like that. But unlike girls, who were also born without a choice in the matter as it pertains to their bodies, boys get a pass. Boys should never have to apologize for male urges, because they are boys. So, no, let me stop you right there—taping boys’ eyes shut with “modesty tape" is not necessary, and in fact, very insane! How else will we teach them that this is a man’s world? That as boys, who will someday be men, they are entitled to everything that this vast country has to offer? Including, but not limited to, the ability to objectify women’s bodies and never be forced to see women as humans first. Boys should never have to be taught self-control or restraint when girls can just cover themselves up. 

This is an applicable lesson for all women to learn early on! Why, just this morning, I was riding the subway on one of the first hot days of summer in New York City. At 88 degrees, I had the audacity to bare my thighs and shoulders in a breezy sundress. Before reaching the 1st ave L stop, myself and another weather-appropriately dressed woman were inundated by a homeless man who took his penis out and masturbated in our direction while yelling, “Me!!!!!”. As a woman who was properly taught that I had asked for it by having a visible clavicle, I calmly stood up and walked to the other end of the car. Frankly, I still have deep remorse for allowing my knees to be in his eye line and forcing that poor man to be alone with his own dirty thoughts about my body. He had no choice! We can’t change universal truths; men are just men, the Earth is flat, and God is a Winklevoss twin who aged well.

It is my professional and moral opinion that the only way to ensure order in this chaotic world is to advocate for bringing back the modesty ponchos. They're the only intelligent solution. If we permit prom dresses and girl skin, we might end up with American Presidents who don’t grab women by their pussies. And I for, one, don’t want to stick around to find out how bad that could feel for all of us.

Bailey (@bedwerds) is a comedian and writer in NYC. She smells of autumn.

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