A number of female students attending a Utah High School in Heber City, Utah are angered and dismayed this week at their school’s decision to digitally edit their yearbook photos. The yearbook photo editing of the girls, who are attendees of Wasatch High School, has caused somewhat of an uproar and controversy among the feminist community after the school decided to add more clothing, such as added sleeves or higher necklines to the pictures of the girls, covering their bodies up in the pictures after they violated an apparent, non-stated dress code by the school.
The issue has only been intensified by the Rape Recovery Center leader in Salt Lake City, Utah, who immediately called for a district investigation into the policy, stating that it is part of a culture that body shames female students and their bodies. This photo editing decision, made without consultation with the students or parents, is an excellent example of a culture that makes young women think that they must act and dress in one acceptable way, and corners them into a narrow way of thinking.
Seeing that their yearbook photo editing of the girls was causing a substantial amount of controversy, leaders of the Utah high school have stood adamant by the dress code, saying that they warned students last fall in no uncertain terms about wearing low necklines, low-cut tops, and inappropriate slogans on t-shirts in the school’s yearbook. The school insists on its Facebook page that it said early on that violations of the dress code would result in editing of students’ yearbook photos, and that it posted this on a four by five sign last year.
The main issue, however, is that several girls are complaining that their yearbook pictures were altered to show less skin without their knowledge, and that the school did not let them know ahead of time so that they even had the option to correct the situation before their photos had to be edited. Many complained that they looked funny in their yearbook pictures because of the editing, with extra chunks of shirts being added on to their tank tops to make them look more modest, which made their pictures look unnatural.
Although the school stood by the dress code on Thursday, they admitted that there had been some inconsistencies in the digital editing of the photos, and the superintendent issued an apology for this. Girls who had their pictures edited complained that not even one boy who had been featured in the yearbook had had his picture digitally edited. One girl even stated that she felt like they were being picked on by the school, stating that she felt like the school just put names into a hat and drew out which girls’ pictures would be edited. Many of the girls have stated that they feel that there was nothing inappropriate about their wearing tank tops or v-neck shirts. One girl even had her photo edited to cut off her tattoo near her collarbone. One girl also stated that she was upset with the photo edit because she had worn a cream colored shirt, but the photo edit which added extra material on to her shirt was white, making it look like part of her was whited out, according to her.
News sites and commentary websites such as Jezebel, have spoken out against the yearbook photo editing of the girls at the Utah high school, sarcastically saying that everyone knows that the slight baring of skin by wearing a tank top is the “path to sin and the destruction of humanity”. The yearbook photo editing issue has also caused controversy in the online community, with social media users lashing out at the school and some calling the decision to edit the girls’ yearbook photos “ridiculous” and “sexist”.
By Laura Clark