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Revealing prom clothing should stay in store

Published 6:00am Saturday, March 31, 2012

Go out to eat with your family or your significant other on a Friday or Saturday night right now and you’ll discover what most everyone else knows — we’re right smack in the middle of prom season.

Everywhere you look you’re bound to see teenage girls and boys dressed to impress at any number of places over in the Shoals: Ricatoni’s, Dale’s, Outback, Ruby Tuesday, Chili’s, and McDonald’s. No eating establishment is immune to being a prom-night dining spot.

These teens will even take a swing through Wal-Mart just to make sure they are seen on their big night.

But if you’re out with your family, you may want to take a blindfold for the kiddos if you run into a group of prom-goers because, chances are, those fancy dresses may not be covering up very much.

It was only seven years ago that I was attending my senior prom, but in those seven years, prom-night fashions have evolved significantly.

In the four proms that I attended during high school, hardly anyone wore a short dress. They were mainly floor length and many were what is considered a “ball gown,” which is similar to the kind of dresses you would see in a Disney movie.

And the people who did wear a shorter dress usually made sure it was long enough that when they sat down, they weren’t prone to a “wardrobe malfunction” or whatever people are calling it these days.

I don’t remember our principal having to go over the top to make sure we girls didn’t come to the high school prom in something that would be more appropriate in the red light district. Of course there are always some exceptions, but for the most part, we understood that we should be decent.

I don’t know where that understanding came from for everyone, but for me, that understanding came directly from my parents who made it clear that you didn’t come out of the house wearing something inappropriate, especially at 16, 17 and 18 years old.

Sadly, all of that has gone out the window it seems.

Run-of-the-mill prom dresses today are super short with plunging necklines, cut outs in odd places, slits cut to the upper thigh and backs that are completely gone.

Now, as with any kind of statement, this doesn’t apply to everyone. There are still teenage girls who wear appropriate clothing to the prom and other public places, but the number of teenage girls who do NOT do this is becoming alarming.

I believe there are several factors that have contributed to the state of teenage girls’ fashion choices these days.

• Television, for one, plays a large role. Shows like “Dancing with the Stars” show women dancing in itsy-bitsy-teenie-weenie dresses and make it look like the norm, so why shouldn’t it be ok for Susie Smith from Smalltown, USA, to do the same, right?

• Hollywood in general has never really been on the conservative side, but it seems like anything goes these days. Many of the actresses and singers are role models for young women and they fail to take that role seriously. When a superstar wears revealing clothing, they send the message to millions of girls that it’s OK to dress that way.

• At the end of the day, however, no matter what shows have been watched or what movie stars have been seen, it is really the parents’ decision whether or not to let their child go out in public in something inappropriate. It’s up to parents and guardians to let their children know the importance of respecting yourself, your body and other people in the way you act and dress.

Until people start reinforcing these ideas again, I guess I’ll just have to tote that blindfold around with me because it doesn’t seem to be getting any better any time soon.

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