Schools can't bear the bare at dances

Last updated 05:00 28/10/2012
Sock hop
TROUBLE: Young girls going to school dances are dressing more provocatively than ever.

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"Scantily clad" girls as young as 13 are being rejected from high school dances for wearing "basically nothing" and some schools fear parents are unaware of the rebellious behaviour.

Year 9 and 10 "sock-hops" in Christchurch are attracting "explicit" female outfits, such as mini dresses made of "Danger Keep Out" tape, spandex hot pants, crop tops and even boys' underwear.

Supervisors have reported seeing girls climb out of taxis and shed layers upon arrival, and one dance-goer said "bundles of clothes" were shoved into the corners of the girls' toilets after being discarded inside.

Some schools scrapped the 13- to 15-year-old social events a few years ago blaming a spate of "unruly behaviour", while others have tried to muzzle the disorder with breathalysers at the door and supervisors scrutinising each outfit.

One year 9 girl who was denied entry to this month's Christchurch Boys' High School (CBHS) dance said it was "really embarrassing" when a parent supervisor told her and a friend to: "Go put more clothes on."

The pair had decided to dress as superheroes and were wearing black spandex shorts with rolled up singlets, showing off their painted stomachs. They were both able to enter the dance when they rolled their singlets back down, she said.

Another year 9 pupil said she knew of five girls who had been rejected from the CBHS dance, including two who had wrapped themselves in "Danger Keep Out" tape.

Christchurch Girls' High School decided to cut its junior dances about seven years ago due to "unacceptable behaviour", principal Prue Taylor said.

She had been "appalled" when she heard pupils had been turning up intoxicated and said the revealing outfits and "rowdiness in the streets" that followed the dance had cemented the school's decision.

CBHS principal Trevor McIntyre believed the girls were "much more covered up" now than they used to be and said the dances had evolved into fancy dress, with many girls arriving as cats, lions and fairies.


A Canterbury University academic says the young girls donning explicit outfits for junior dances are under the influence of pop stars such as Lady Gaga.

Adolescent psychologist Kim Dolgin said the "Danger Keep Out" tape dresses, spandex mini shorts and cropped singlets emulated what pop stars were wearing in music videos.

Dolgin said there was a lot of research showing teenagers learned about what was attractive and what was appropriate sexual behaviour from music videos.

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"It is really, really normative for teens to want to copy the people they idolise," she said.

Although the inappropriate dress sense raised concerns, Dolgin questioned whether things were any worse now than 20 years ago.

She also said the music video trend held far more sinister consequences than just the short skirts.

"These music videos display women in very undesirable ways. They present themselves as very sexually aggressive and sexually out there."

Pop icons often portray sex as casual and "I'm about getting what I want as opposed to this is about love", she said.

- Sunday Star Times

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