Traverse City Record-Eagle

Generation Why

May 7, 2012

School dance is wrong place to flaunt it

Showing too much skin at events crosses the line

Say goodbye to gowns and dance cards and hello to strategically ripped shirts, neon tights and bare skin.

Hems have been getting shorter since those trampy flappers first exposed their knees in the '20s. With the turn of the century, clothing switched from being about what was covered to what is uncovered, leaving little to the imagination.

What is it about revealing flesh to the point where we are nearly nude that appeals to our generation?

Many attendees at Central dances attire themselves in outfits that would have grandma blushing behind her hankie. We've all seen the discarded clothes scattered on the floor from the shirtless boys, the jeans without rips and tears draped over a bathroom door like an afterthought, forsaken for a packed pair that isn't so wholesome.

Sure, dances are a time to let loose, to experiment, but this does not justify baring it all. Dances are school activities monitored by adults you see daily. There is some line crossed when your math teacher who taught you about sine curves must ask you to put yours away. It's uncomfortable to grind away under the glaring eyes of people who have access to your records going back to kindergarten, in a place where just hours before, you ate a turkey sandwich. Our cafeteria is not Streeters. It's a scene, a happening, but not an impersonal night club.

Everywhere you look in the media, girls, who seem to get increasingly younger each year, are dressed provocatively. Magazine racks tout celebrities in various stages of undress with "five easy steps to glitz and glamour." Television shows focus on appearance and apotheosize sex. Adolescents want to become what they see, so they (un)dress accordingly.

On the surface, the lives of Bristolian teens on the popular British show "Skins" seems to be a constant drunken orgy, but beneath the glitter, they're really just trying to figure themselves out. While the attire at dances is no doubt inappropriate, being scantily clad is just another form of experimentation. Like a social chameleon, flipping from one identity to the next is just part of the process of finding one's niche in society.

Girls are consistently trying to reconcile what they are "supposed to be" over what they want to be. What to wear is a daily battle for girls. For special events such as dances, it's generally accepted that less is more.

Humans are hardwired for sex, and this tendency emerges during the adolescent years as one begins to explore.

This is nothing new; Holden Caulfield, the angsty teen from "The Catcher in the Rye," was highly dependent on cigarettes and alcohol while rebelling against society to find himself.

These girls' poor judgement in their tiny tops and barely-there shorts is an in-your-face manifestation of the same rebellion.

Though, these teens have a different idea in mind; they know exactly what they are selling.

Teens love to cross lines, but going to our cafeteria after hours doesn't make you Ke$ha.

There is a time and place to flaunt your assets, but the lunch room doesn't need to see those types of breasts — let's limit it to chicken.

Emma Beauchamp is a senior at Traverse City Central High School and managing editor of the Black and Gold.

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