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Why this school has now revoked its ‘modesty poncho’ for prom

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Susan Devaney
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A school in Michigan has changed its stance on asking students to wear a ‘modesty poncho’ to prom after the move was heavily criticised. 

From companies being able to force women to wear heels to work to trainee barristers being warned about the consequences of not adhering to a clothing handbook, dress codes are (unfortunately) still a thing for women in 2018.

Which is why we weren’t shocked to learn that a high school in America has set a dress code for its impending prom.

However, taking things one step further, Divine Child High School in Michigan then asked its students to sign an agreement stating that they would adhere to the dress code. And if they break the code they’ll be forced to wear a ‘modesty poncho’. Yes, it does now exist.

According to Fox 2, the ponchos are on display in the school as a reminder to students before picking their outfit for prom, with a note, saying: “If your dress does not meet our formal dance dress requirements - no problem! We’ve got you covered - literally. This is our Modesty Poncho, which you’ll be given at the door. :)”

The teacher behind the idea, Mary Pat O’Malley, told Fox 2: “We are trying to focus on the inner beauty and not draw attention to something that doesn’t need attention drawn to it.

“It was really intended as a deterrent and a light-hearted one at that.”

But the dress code has since gone viral, and people are having none of it. 

“I got as far as reading the words #ModestyPonchos for girls and I nearly vomited. Not enough time in my life to point out all the problems I have with this situation,” one user wrote. 

“#ModestyPonchos looks like a costume straight out of #HandmaidsTale,” another user posted. 

And another user also referenced The Handmaid’s Tale: “Why not just make them all wear this?”

Proving that social media can be both a useful and powerful tool, the school has since retracted its ‘modesty poncho’ in a letter sent out to parents.

Because you should never tell women what to wear. Ever.

Images: Unsplash / Twitter 

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Susan Devaney

Susan Devaney is a digital journalist for Stylist.co.uk, writing about fashion, beauty, travel, feminism, and everything else in-between.

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