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St Dominic’s Catholic College, an all-girls’ school in New Zealand, has some weird rules about what the ladies can and cannot wear to the upcoming seniors ball:

None of you are going to prom.
None of you are going to prom.

1. A split on the dress can only be up to the knee
2. The back of the dress cannot go below the armpit
3. There must be no cleavage AT ALL
4. You cannot take off your shoes no matter how sore your feet get
5. You must be in a serious relationship in order to bring a ball date

That’s an odd list, to say the least.

Since when is a split that goes slightly above the knee a problem? Who cares how much a girl’s back is showing?

And what should a woman with a bigger bust do? The most comfortable dress may very well be the one that shows some cleavage, and it has nothing to do with anyone trying to be inappropriate. It’s a matter of what fits best.

When I went to school dances, the girls I knew *always* took off their shoes. They didn’t want to injure themselves by dancing in heels. What’s the point of a school dance if the girls are hurting the entire time?

And if you have to be in a “serious relationship” to attend a school dance, I promise you most students wouldn’t be attending at all. A lot of kids go with their friends or in groups, and the night is just as fun. (Hell, it’s the kids in “serious relationships” who tend to be the ones awkwardly making out in the middle of the dance floor.)

Some students at the school apparently felt the same way and began an online petition urging school officials to change the rules before the dance:

The rules stated above are extreme. Since when has a girls’ back caused such outrage for being ‘too exposed’. This is sexualising a girls’ body and sending the message that they must be covered up and feel ashamed of showing skin. Girls at this age (16 – 18) do have breasts and the fact that they must be completely covered is outdated and shameful on the College’s behalf. Girls have backs, legs and breasts. All of which can be shown to an extent that is classy and elegant.

Looks like the petition worked. After the media began writing stories, school officials quickly changed course. They maintained that the rules were in place for a reason, but they allowed for leeway:

It’s nice to hear that the principal has said that some slits are allowed, some cleavage is allowed, some back is allowed, shoes can actually be taken off now if they hurt and dates do not have to be serious — although this was not the case prior to media attention and the rules were 100% accurate.

I think the efforts of this petition have been achieved.

Damn right it has. It’s the best kind of public shaming there is.

(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to David for the link)

Hemant Mehta is the founder of, a YouTube creator, podcast co-host, and author of multiple books about atheism. He can be reached at @HemantMehta.

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