Sometimes it's easy to tell ourselves that sexism is a thing of the past. The patriarchy is on its way out, toxic masculinity will soon become a cautionary tale to tell our daughters some day. About the world we grew up in, a world we changed for them. Nope. It looks like the patriarchy is still alive and thriving in some parts of the country, as one mom has demonstrated with an image of "first dance kit" from a church that will make your blood boil if you're into things like women's rights and stuff.
Ashlee Allen Fegan took to Facebook recently to share the most ridiculous set of first dance rules you will hopefully ever read. And bad news everyone, it seems they are actually from this century and not just a prop from The Handmaid's Tale or something.
Fegan wrote on Facebook that one of her friends has a daughter who brought home the guidelines for how girls should behave at a church dance (please note the church was not named so we can't even ask them what they were thinking or anything). "Nope NOPE NOOOOO! not happening with my daughter!!" she captioned the post.
Let me share the first step the church thought to share with young women who are planning on attending the dance, according to the image of the paper Fegan shared on Facebook. "Get ready for the dance. Paint your nails, wear a little lip gloss and don't forget to brush your teeth!!" it read. Don't worry, it gets worse.
The horrified mom went on to helpfully circle two passages she considered particularly problematic, which is saying something considering the concept of offering girls guidelines for behavior in the first place is pretty archaic. The first passage she circled offered tips on how to avoid getting kicked out of the dance and embarrassing their potential suitors by choosing clothes outside the dress code.
"Don't forget what the approved dress code standards are when choosing your outfit," the paper said. "You don't want the embarrassment of being asked to go home and change. And you don't want the guy dancing with you to feel uncomfortable because of the questionable outfit that you somehow justified."
The next element of concern for the church dance organizers was to ensure that girls went with a friend but not to be "joined at the hip." Always remember your female friends are just camouflage until a man wants you, ladies. And finally, the piece de resistance where the girls are reminded never to say no to a boy: "Never say 'NO' to a guy who had the courage to walk over and ask you to dance in the first place. (a song lasts approximately 3 minutes it's not THAT bad)."
As infuriating as this is, I'm happy to tell you that the post has gone viral because pretty much everyone who reads it seems to be of the same opinion as this social media user who wrote, "SO MUCH WRONG WITH THIS."
Unfortunately, the young girls who were sent home with this pamphlet might not be getting the same message. They could well be going through their closets to find clothing that will be both appropriate and pleasing to a boy without any consideration about what they want for themselves. They might go to a dance with a friend and walk away from her the moment they get attention from a guy. They might dance with someone who makes them uncomfortable. Who makes them nervous. Because it's only three minutes and it's not THAT bad, right?