An update on Clare


Please do not harass the coordinator for the prom. Her info can be found online, but I am deleting comments containing that because she does not deserve the ire of internet trolls in her inbox. The coordinator herself was not involved in the decision made. Please leave her alone.

Thank you.

::end update::

Dear everyone:

Clare is studying for finals, so I’m taking the mic here. She is really encouraged by the outpouring of support from all sides, and I think this whole experience as felt really empowering for her.

I would like to ask that everyone commenting on the race issue would lay that aside, on the request of Clare’s boyfriend. He asked me pass this message on to you:

I don’t feel race played a part in all that happened Saturday night. I strongly believe they did not know we were together until the situation had already escalated.

Thank you for understanding. Attempts to revive that discussion in the comments will be moderated.

The Richmond Prom Facebook moderators (we’re not sure who they were) deleted all the comments that Clare and others left on their page. Homeschoolers Anonymous screencapped some of the comments before they got deleted. Late last night they deleted the Facebook page altogether. No statement has been made by the administration, no one has contacted Clare or me, and the rest of the group has yet to receive refunds. Her boyfriend did eventually get one, but that was after he negotiated privately with someone involved. No further comments were made by Mrs. D or the woman organizing the event.

Clare’s graduation is coming up very soon, and we’re hoping these same people won’t cause any trouble for her there.

Any discussion of using Matthew 18 in this situation is out of line and will not be entertained. This event was not explicitly a “Christian” event and this was not sponsored by a church. Clare did attempt to appeal to the leadership privately and was denied that opportunity, so even if Matthew 18 was appropriate, she still followed that course of action as much as the adults involved would have allowed.

For those who find Bible verses inspiring, you may enjoy the one that has come to mind frequently about this whole situation:

Meanwhile, when a crowd of many thousands had gathered, so that they were trampling on one another, Jesus began to speak first to his disciples, saying: “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy. There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight, and what you have whispered in the ear in the inner rooms will be proclaimed from the roofs.  — Luke 12: 1-3

And I’ll end with this little treasure from Anne Lamott:

“You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”

Thanks again, everyone. We’ll keep you updated if anything more transpires.

p.s. If you want to support Clare’s college aspirations, any donations via PayPal on the side designated for her will go into a fund for her textbooks for this coming fall.

116 thoughts on “An update on Clare

  1. As I read Matthew 18, it does not say “if your brother wrongs you at a church sponsored event”. It says “if your brother sins against you”. Besides, having personally handled insurance and legal matters for churches, I guarantee you that the dance had explicit permission and guidelines from the trustees/pastors of the church where the event took place. In other words, yes, the dance was under the authority of the church because it was under the roof of the church, specifically Shady Grove UMC of Mechanicsville.
    In other words, Matthew 18 applies there as it does everywhere. And for that matter, a look at the brouhaha about the matter suggests that those involved may have done well to get the other side’s perspective. As we’d infer from Proverbs 18:17, and from the text of Matthew 18. The first person to speak sounds pretty compelling until his opponent states his case.
    Right or wrong, this isn’t empowerment. It’s a lesson in how not to handle a situation.

  2. When you attend a Christian homeschool, you understand that the mindset of the community behind that school is bigoted. Clare and her parents were FINE with that until — oops! — it was applied to her.
    By attending the school, Clare openly supported its standards. Sad to say, current standards of Christianity include the bigotry of misogyny — demonstrated in this case by a woman being punished for presenting herself in public without some symbol of shame — a head covering, a shawl, an effort to dress down.
    Pretending this is a surprise is hypocritical on the part of *everyone* objecting. The young men and women at the prom understood their education came from an organization that included active anti-feminist actions. The parents chose to dismiss the basics of equality by sending their children to this school. So when a leggy blonde didn’t get to dance, that was just the culmination of her education..
    Thank the nice men for keeping you in your place, Clare, because this is the lifestyle and world view you’ve been immersed in and agreeing with for years.

    1. Accidentally upvoted this because I straight up don’t know what I’m doing on the Internet (I swear I’m under thirty).

      The point, oregonbird, is not at all that this is a surprise, although I try to expect better behaviour of Christians. The point is that it’s WRONG.

      Additionally, this isn’t a “school,” from what I understand. It was a prom open to Christian homeschoolers. Christian homeschoolers who likely did not all undergo the same kind of education. Additionally, being a homeschooled Christian does not mean you agree with an anti-feminist POV.

      1. Except for the fact that homeschooling in this country is so heavily dominated by ultra-conservative Christian zealots that finding a homeschooling text that acknowledges the fact of evolution is nearly impossible.

        Conservative Christianity, in all of its forms, is intrinsically misogynist.

        It’s unfortunate that Clare was subjected to the dehumanization of home-schooling, of Christianity, and of such a sadistic and vicious culture as the one present in the Christian homeschooling world.

        1. I was home schooled in a secular manner and am doing a PhD in physics. Lay off the home schoolers. We come in every shape and size from Buddhist to atheist to Catholic to Wiccan to humanist. The common denominator is usually that we don’t want to take part in limited learning or peer pressure oriented nonsense–example, proms.

          1. Read what I said carefully.

            Dominated by. Not “exclusive to”.


            “Christian-based materials dominate a growing home-school education market that encompasses more than 1.5 million students in the U.S. And for most home-school parents, a Bible-based version of the Earth’s creation is exactly what they want. Federal statistics from 2007 show 83% of home-schooling parents want to give their children “religious or moral instruction.””

            The existence of exceptions does not change anything.

        2. That’s gonna be hard since evolution is far from fact. No educator should be teaching it as such.

          1. In science, the word “fact” has two meanings:

            1.) Something that is observed
            2.) A scientific theory that is so well supported by evidence that it can be assumed as true and almost impossible to be completely overturned

            Evolution by natural selection fits both

          2. Not really, but your ignorance of the science that supports the Bible is amusing.

          3. The *phenomena* of evolution is an observed fact. We’ve seen dozens of speciation events in the wild, including ring species, and so forth. We’ve seen “irreducibly complex” features evolve in a lab setting.

            The “theory of evolution” is our explanation for it, and as with all theories is a model — an approximation.

            To date it is the only model that fits all the available data, and has provided testable predictions.

          4. evolution is a fact. Your inability to understand what evidence is does not change the truth. Of course you could just be a liar and be making money from religion.
            So which is it PMB01 are you a lair or just not very smart?

          5. Neither. Apparently I’m way more intelligent than you since you have no clue what facts or evidence mean.

        3. This is simply about a teen who wanted to attend her prom and was denied that experience due to small-minded pervs whose willies stood at attention and a woman who took issue with a bright, pretty girl with long legs.

          You’re making a lot of assumptions, using absolutes and not applying the scientific method to your arguments.

          You have drawn a conclusion without benefit of any real hard data — merely conjecture and anecdotal “evidence”.

          When you begin with flawed data, your results can never be accurate.

          So here’s the refresher on the scientific method:
          1. Ask a question
          2. Do research
          3. Construct a hypothesis
          4. Test the hypothesis by doing an experiment
          5. ANALYZE the DATA and draw a conclusion
          6. Communicate your results

          Your bigotry and small-mindedness is as out of place as is the bigotry exhibited by religious fanatics in ANY religion.

          1. No, I’m merely providing summarized viewpoints here, not writing research papers. You have no data about how much or how little research has gone into my views.

            I can say with some certainty that the context of the misbehavior was religious in nature by simply having read what Clare wrote:

            “… and that I was going to cause the young men at the prom to think impure thoughts.”

            Impure thoughts. That term is fairly distinctive to religion in general and Christianity in particular. It’s certainly not a concept that would arise in a secular context as the notion of sexual “purity” is not a secular concept.

            As for “real data”, well, primary sources are properly cited here, and they provide a nice summary of things:


            “From 2003 to 2007, the percentage
            of students whose parents reported homeschooling to
            provide religious or moral instruction increased from
            72 percent to 83 percent.”

            Eyeballing it, looks to be about 83% +/- 3%.

    2. I’m not sure you are familiar with the fundie world, friend, if you think that Clare had a choice in “attending the school” (do you know what homeschooling is?) or agrees with the bigoted mindset behind patriarchy and its offspring organizations. She’s just a high schooler who wanted to go to prom, and this was the only prom she got. Read her post; it’ll answer some of your questions.

    3. Oh, so you can’t challenge a problematic culture that you’re immersed in? When better to challenge that culture! Who better to say ‘this is wrong’ than someone actively being wronged? By your logic, the civil rights movement should have been only promulgated in the North, no German could have subverted the Nazis while living in Germany, and Russians should have left the USSR before attempting to fight communism.

      Of course what happened to her is to be expected in her cultural milieu, but that doesn’t mean she shouldn’t raise awareness- if means she should raise all the awareness she can, because for everyone who does speak up, there are thousands more too afraid or too complacent to do the same.

    4. For someone who implicitly self-styles as a feminist or feminist ally, your victim-blaming is quite incongruous. And your sanctimony is equal and opposite to the people who ruined Clare’s prom night.

    5. I am a female christian and I do not feel that misogyny has been practiced in many of the churches I have attended in my life. I have never worn a head covering or a shawl and I certainly made no effort to dress down when I was young. Perhaps you are thinking about churches you attended when you were young, but Christian churches have changed a lot since then. I just think everyone should be careful of making sweeping generalizations about any religious group or belief.

  3. I support your sister, 100%. I am a Christian and I don’t think that matters in the slightest in this case. There is nothing to be interpreted here. There were rules, she complied with them, and despite that was unfairly treated. Then out of pride, or what have you, the powers that be were unable to admit she was in the right. End of story. I sure hope they see the light. I wish her all the best and am happy she has a good head on her shoulders.

  4. Claire and family,

    Allow me to join the thousands of others who support you. Clearly, you have good friends who support you too. That fact says as much about you as it does them– good people attract other good people. If ever you wonder if you’re in the right, notice that the people you respect are right there next to you, standing on your side.

    It is the nature of people to judge each other whether we should or not– and you have now been through it once and know what it feels like. You now have this advantage over all the other high school seniors leaving the safety of homeschooling and heading out into the world, and you survived nicely….You’re going to be just fine.

    The whole internet is behind you, and I hope that gives you satisfaction. It should. Bullying can take many forms, and what those dads did was bullying. You are an example to girls everywhere. Never let anyone tell you the thoughts of others are your responsibility–if they couldn’t handle your dress, it’s their problem, not yours. They should have removed themselves if they couldn’t get over it.

    I’ll bet you looked lovely at prom and I hope you wear the dress again sometime, and proudly. Best of luck with college!

  5. Clare, I feel so bad for what happened to you. I am from Virginia and I am ashamed that a Virginian would act this way. Mrs. D was wrong and ruined what is supposed to be the best night of your young life. As far as what I can tell from your story you handled the situation as you should have. Most adults that I know would not have done so well, or held their composure as you did. It goes to show that just because someone is an adult it doesn’t mean they are mature. As far as this having to do with Christianity??? I don’t think it does. Many Christians may be stuck up snobs, but there are many that are not. I think that Mrs D and the “perverted” men let the devil take hold of them. Good luck with finals. I hope that your graduation is much better.

  6. You are a disgrace to woman all over the world.. Then turning this into a college money grab !! I’m a woman and I’m furious with you.seems like you like attention .well you’ve got it clare!

    1. Your comment is utterly inappropriate. It is never right for adult men to ogle a seventeen-year-old girl who is adhering to the dress code and then to blame that girl (yes, GIRL, she is a CHILD) for their own inability to control their ADULT lustful minds.
      The only shame in this comment thread is yours, madam.

      1. Let’s see if she can properly articulate her logic behind feeling so “furious.” I doubt she’ll be capable of doing so — in a reasonable manner that requires linear thought, anyway.

    2. Considering the terrible language skills evident in your misogynist, self-loathing rant, I’ll forgive your Neanderthal mindset and chalk it up to a learning disability, or brain damage, or childhood trauma.

    3. You have absolutely no right to speak for other women of the world. Your sick. Please get professional mental health attention. You obviously need it.

  7. “Clare’s graduation is coming up very soon, and we’re hoping these same people won’t cause any trouble for her there.”

    If they do, I’m sure the internet will hear. Thanks to the information age, even petty officials in local schools are under scrutiny when they practice abuses that used to go unnoticed. And yes, this is a point that any aforementioned event organizer might want to contemplate — everyone has a camera and a microphone in their pocket now.

    1. And if they do I suggest you get a lawyer and sue for harassment and violating your civil rights…

  8. Just a heads up, but whoever made the “redacted” PDF file of the facebook conversations was an idiot.

    All the “redacted” information (people’s names etc…) is easily available by copying and pasting. You should probably inform whoever made it so they can make a truly redacted version, and not just set the background and foreground to the same colour in Adobe.

  9. Thank you both for sharing this story. The chaperones at this event behaved in a truly abhorrent and disrespectful manner. I admire the tenacity with which you defend your perspective against bigots.

  10. First of all, Clare, I think what happened to you is wrong, and you were clearly treated unfairly.

    However, I don’t think you are being completely honest with yourself. First, I read this:

    “Fast forward to prom night. I’m all dolled up, channeling my inner Marilyn Monroe with my blonde hair and bright red lipstick. I’m a tall and fairly curvy girl and you know something? I looked hot. Not trashy, but you definitely would look twice when I walked through a doorway.”

    So, the purpose of your dress and “dolling up” was to look sexy — to make males lust after you and desire you. Comparing yourself to Marilyn Monroe, the greatest sex symbol of all time, just makes that crystal clear.

    Then, you complain that it isn’t your “responsibility to control other people’s thoughts and drives.” If someone lusts after you, that isn’t your fault.

    So, which is it? If you’ve decided that this is no contradiction, because of “patriarchy,” then that’s very sad.

    1. I know this will come as a shock. But when I dress up, and put on my red lipstick, it’s primarily because I like how I look. Not because I crave the attention of every heterosexual man around.

      Additionally: men are responsible for their own thoughts and actions. If they choose to behave in an inappropriate manner, they only have themselves to blame. Especially if the object of that behavior is a minor child.

    2. She can dress up for herself! I like to wear make-up, jewelry, and pretty things for ME, not for what MEN think about me. Why is this different?

    3. Are you aware that it’s possible to see a girl and think she’s attractive without drooling over her? Because it is. You can look at someone and think ‘wow, they’re hot’ without staring lasciviously. She’s not saying she’s mad that the men noticed that she looked nice, she’s mad that they were staring in an obvious and gross way- obvious enough to notice when they were a floor above her. There’s a huge gap between those two extremes, and if you can’t see that, then *that* is deeply sad.

      1. Any man who ogled her was wrong, very wrong. That, however, has nothing to do with the question I asked.

      2. That’s the problem with fundamentalist Christians. They only know extremes. Looking at a woman or having a sexual thought is already “lust” for them. Or watching a porn movie every now and then is an addiction. It’s so absurd. There is a whole spectrum to these things. Even looking at someone isn’t necessarily “lust”, depending on how it’s done exactly and what the person feels. To me that means a strong sexual desire for someone.

    4. Ryan’s List of Logical Fallacies

      1. Ad hominem

      You attempt to counter Clare’s conclusions by attacking a) her sincerity and b) her intentions.

      a) “However, I don’t think you are being completely honest with yourself.”
      b) “So, the purpose of your dress and ‘dolling up’ was to look sexy”

      2. Non-Sequitur

      There is no logical connection between a) Clare self-assessing her hotness and b) the behavior or thoughts of other individuals.

      “So, the purpose of your dress and ‘dolling up’ was to look sexy — to make males lust after you and desire you. ”

      3. Straw Man

      Your argument is ostensible, at best. You clearly misrepresented Clare’s perspective. You imply that a) because Clare compared herself to Marilyn Monroe that b) she must perceive herself as a sex symbol, thus c) she intended to make males lust and desire after her.

      a) “the purpose of your dress and ‘dolling up’ was to look sexy — to make males lust after you and desire you. Comparing yourself to Marilyn Monroe, the greatest sex symbol of all time, just makes that crystal clear.”

      Clearly, you’re a pro at speculating. You should work for Fox News.

      1. You must think that using Latin words makes you sound more intelligent. Nothing in anything that I have said is an any way an attack on her. I support her fully against the event organizers. I think they owe her a public apology and a refund for her dress, not just the cost of admission.

        Your other comments are just silly. Channeling the woman who is the world’s greatest sex symbol doesn’t mean that Clare wanted to look sexy? And the dictionary definition of “hot” (when applied to a person) is “sexually attractive.”

        I’m not condemning her in any way. Asking her to be honest with herself is not “attacking her sincerity” — quite the opposite. It’s because her post struck me as sincere that believe her capable of honest self-evaluation.

        1. He’s pointing out the logical fallacies of your post, not just iterating latin words.

          The one that stands out most prominently is that even if Clare wanted to look sexy and hot, that does not immediately imply that she wants people to lust after her. Your basically one step away from saying “rape victims shouldn’t dress so sexy.”

          Get outta here man.

      1. No. I said nothing of the kind, and you know it. You just don’t want to honestly examine the question.

        1. You absolutely did say something of the kind:

          “So, the purpose of your dress and ‘dolling up’ was to look sexy — to make males lust after you and desire you.”

          NO. Males lusting after her and/or desiring her is incidental. She wants to look nice and feel good about how she looks, just the same as you or I do. She is a person, not a boner-producing mechanism for the edification of men. Seeing her in her prom outfit has whatever effect on you that it has, and it is ON YOU to process the fact of how she looks and also treat her with respect as a full individual person. It’s not too much to ask.

          1. Clare didn’t say that she wanted to look “nice.” She said that she looked “hot.” The dictionary definition of “hot” when applied to a person is “sexually attractive.” She says that she was channeling the greatest movie sex symbol of all time.

            Pretending that Clare’s words have no meaning doesn’t make it so.

        2. As if you’re a paragon of intellectual honesty, with your litany of ridiculous BS first principles. You are full of it, good sir.

    5. There is absolutely nothing wrong with Clair feeling like she looks hot. With all the expense and trouble girls go through to get ready for prom it would be pretty sad if she only felt like she looked so so. The whole point of getting dressed up, hair, and make up done is to look good, and have other people notice. Guess what? Every other guy and girl in the room felt the same way about themselves, unless they have serious self esteem issues. You need to grow up.

    6. All these responses to this are great. You all want to pretend that Clare’s accentuating her curves to look hot, and channeling her inner Marilyn, are not attempts to appear sexy. That’s just dumb.

      It’s a contradiction present in a lot of feminism. A lot of feminist dogma says that sexuality is power, and women should use it to get what they want out of life. A lot of other feminist dogma is that sexuality is not power at all, because all men have the power to control their own thoughts.

      But the truth has to be either one or the other. Either Clare has the power to make men want her, or she doesn’t.

      1. “The truth has to be either one or the other. Either Clare has the power to make men want her, or she doesn’t.”

        That’s quite a polarized perspective you have, which is why I’d like a bit of clarification.

        Do you believe that individuals are autonomous?

        1. Why don’t you ask Clare? On the one hand, she is sure that she has the power to make a man look twice at her, and on the other, that men are not only responsible for their own actions, but also their own thoughts.

          1. Why are you spending so much time freaking out over what a minor girl does with her body? It’s not your business. Control yourself.

          2. “Freaking out”? I think you lack basic reading comprehension skills.

      2. There’s a difference between trying to look “sexy”, and being looked at as a piece of meat.

      3. Using that kind of binary logic, then: either men have the power to behave appropriately around women, or we don’t. And you seem to be suggesting the latter. Which is utterly absurd.

        1. Not at all, Derek. We all have power over our behavior, but only someone with a total ignorance of psychology would claim that we have complete power over our thoughts.

          1. So we don’t have complete power over our thoughts, but Clare has the power to determine the thoughts of men. Got it.

            It’s a moot point, anyway. The problem here is that your argument regards Clare only in terms of what effect her appearance has on men—i.e., it objectifies her. She is not an object. She is a person.

          2. The argument that how we choose to present ourselves should have no impact on how others view us is absurd. If I were to go into a job interview wearing shorts and sandals, the interviewer would have every right to conclude that I was unprofessional.

          3. You don’t seem to have any power over learning anything, which is making this painful to watch. Did you time travel to this post from the 50s or something? Or teleport from Afghanistan?

      4. There is no contradiction. She’s 17, heterosexual (I am assuming) and beautiful. She has a boyfriend; they are going to the prom and she wants to look hot and sexy. Of course she wants to feel good about herself and she wants to attract male attention – preferably 17 year old male attention, 45 year old male attention not so much I am thinking.

        What she didn’t want was to have her night ruined by puritanical old people (at 17 everyone over 25 is old).

        And I would add …
        1. No feminist EVER said that women should use their sexuality to get what they want from life. ( or If they did I want the reference.) Women (or anyone) are only forced to barter with sex in a society where sex is the only currency they have. In a truly free society, a woman can do whatever the hell she wants with her sexuality, including sex work or never having sex at all. Not that this has ANY relevance to the story at hand, though for some reason you think it does.

        2. And yes Clare can have the “power to make men want her” and believe it or not those same men also have power over their own thoughts and behaviour. There is no contradiction – wanting something is NOT the same thing as throwing a kid out of her prom because you (as an adult) have never made peace with your own brain.

        I am glad that Clare is standing up for herself and that at 17 she can so clearly see what took some of us a lot longer. Her body and how she presents herself are hers to control and when someone else tries to project their sexual or life problems onto her she will push back.

      5. That’s not what any feminism I’ve looked into says. You’re full of it dude – guessing, grasping for straws. It’s obvious. You have less than no idea what you’re talking about, so stuff it. You need a life that is less involved in the sexuality of people you don’t know. End of story.

    7. Dude… you are part of the problem. If that’s your daughter in the picture with you, I shudder to think what you’re teaching her.

    8. Wow – I’m sorry, Ryan, but you sound like a tool. Congratulations on perpetuating the rape culture in this country.

      You *are* the problem. You are wrong. She has every right to dress up to look attractive for her date and for the event. Anyone who can’t control their own impulses is fully in the wrong. Your attitude disgusts me.

    9. You’re an idiot, Ryan. Seriously, get a clue. Someone can dress “hot” for their own wishes. You projecting your ridiculous crap about making “males lust after you”, I mean, you should be embarrassed to a) be so thick-headed and b) be discussing this topic with a child who’s life is frankly none of your business. Like, for real: get a clue and stop being such a useless fossil.

    10. Ryan, you may not have much contact with young women, so are unaware that most of them dress NOT for male attention, but for the approval and admiration of OTHER GIRLS & WOMEN. That puts your entire hypothesis into the dumpster. Just because a girl considers her appearance “hot” doesn’t automatically assume that she is seeking lustful reactions from boys, or anticipating such reactions from men twice her age.

      Saying that someone would “look twice” is NOT the equivalent of desiring a reaction of animal lust from the males in a room. LUST is YOUR word, NOT Clare’s.

      1. Gael, “lust” isn’t my word or Clare’s; it was Mrs. D’s word, the supposed justification for throwing her out of the prom. That’s why I was discussing it. Since “hot” means “sexually attractive,” I don’t understand your argument that she wasn’t trying to be sexually attractive.

  11. Wow. So much class from the teenagers, and so little from the adult prom police. It’s sad, but it gives me hope for the future these teens will run.

  12. Happy to see that Clare’s date took the high road and didn’t play the race card. He must be a really decent young man. (And he looked very stylish in the hat & glasses.) Sounds to me like it was the prudish Mrs D that instigated the whole thing. If some of the chaperone dads were getting aroused by the sight of a striking young, tall woman dancing, I’d think they’d keep it to themselves and enjoy the view. After all, there were other girls to ogle on the floor, why pick on the one who stands out?
    Clare’s got a good head on her shoulders and I hope she attains her academic goals in college. I’d be proud to call her my daughter.

  13. Dear Clare: I am sorry that some middle aged men chose not to exert self-control and not ogle you and then blamed you for their lack of self control. That was disgusting of them. Not all middle aged men are like that. I do hope that you have a good grad and are successful with your career aspirations. I’ve put you on my prayer list.

  14. Seems to me the only perversion here is with the chaperone fathers who seem to be admitting by their unfounded accusations they thought Claire was sexy. Honestly Id get a lawyer and sue for the groups refund. Second Id sue for a violation of civil rights. You obeyed the rules and was humiliated, defamed and ridiculed for it. If you dont stand up for yourself legally these people will victimized someone else next year.

  15. I am very sorry this happened. I am glad the young lady has such wonderful support. And I certainly hope she will be attending a secular College.

    1. Yes – stay away especially from places in VA like Liberty University, founded by Jerry Falwell, the founder of the “Moral Majority” and promoter of establishing a Christian theocracy in America.

    2. Gotta speak up here! I attended RC hs and my first two years of college, staffed by Dominican nuns, for the most part, along with a great variety of professors with varying viewpoints. The atmosphere was quite liberal and we were encouraged to question and think about any idea or viewpoint presented to us and draw our own conclusions. So, you CAN get a great education from a religiously-based institution, but, yeah, you have to choose VERY carefully.

  16. Good for you Claire! You’re an inspiration for girls (and women) everywhere. I think you should wear your dress under your cap & gown and after you accept your diploma, flash that sparkly dress and smile! 😀 hehe

  17. That the coordinator was “not involved in the decision”, does that mean that she was uninformed, or that she chose not to get involved? If the latter, that makes her no better than those who actually made the decisions and behaved badly. “Mrs. D” should be soundly clapped about the head and shoulders for her behaviour, and she, the “monitor daddies”, and the people who decided that they were even necessary should all be run thru a tree shredder. There is no excuse for this kind of hypocrisy at the expense of someone else. I hope Clare decides that she is beyond this event, but I bet there will be some emotional scar tissue left there.

    And I’m with Clare: FUCK the patriarchy. It’s been nothing but grief for everyone for the last 3,000+ years. Time for it to go.

    1. Let it be known, the foundation for the American/Western patriarchy is the Judeo-Christian culture, based on a book of male-dominated, misogynist folklore from the Bronze Age. It has little relevance to modern 21st century society. We have science, reasoning, democracy (sort of) to guide civilization. Superstitious fables from 2000-3500 years ago no longer apply. This belief system is being used as a club and a prison of fear to stifle and stunt intellectual, social and spiritual growth. Unshackle yourselves from this emotional slavery, join the rational world and a live life free from oppression and bondage.

        1. And yet the bible is routinely used to reinforce it. The more strongly a social group adheres to the bible, the greater the degree of sexism.

          Such groups easily find passages in the bible to support their misogyny. Two easy examples, just off the top of my head: 1 Corinthians 14:34, and 1 Timothy 2:12.

          1. Galatians 3:28 is on the top of mine.

            The problem isn’t the Bible, necessarily. The problem is people who use whatever they can get their hands on to “legitimize” the structures that give them power. The problem is people who twist the Bible (by taking it “literally”) into proving their point when the New Testament, especially, takes a rather progressive view on women, all together, and even I Corinthians 14 and I timothy 2 don’t have to be read and enforced the way sexist pundits want them to be.

            I’m a Christian feminist– you’ll get no argument from me that the Church has a long and flagrant history of horrible misogyny and abuse toward women that continues into today.

            However, there are feminist readings of the Bible, feminist systematic theologies, etc.

          2. The bible cannot be made internally consistent. It is intensely self-contradictory (especially the new testament), and as such any attempt to adhere to it necessarily involves cherry-picking (or “twisting”).

            Because there is no way of falsifying an interpretation of the bible, there is no legitimacy to the idea that any particular interpretation is incorrect. Any interpretation is necessarily a subjective matter, which is why there are something like 32,000 branches of Christianity.

            The only intellectually honest thing one can do is look at the net effect of the bible and how its utilized. Here are the cold, hard facts: Christians are on average, less charitable, less honest, less educated, more likely to divorce, more likely to have abortions, and more likely to commit crimes than atheists. (Not sure where other religious groups stand statistically speaking.)

            None of which is particularly relevant to the fact that Clare’s treatment was — while entirely unsurprising when viewed in context of it being a Christian environment — entirely unacceptable, and morally wrong.

            She and her group are owed apologies, refunds, and meaningful changes to ensure this behavior does not reoccur in the future.

            I suspect none of this will happen though.

          3. one of the best comments I’ve run across lately (and I paraphrase here) was that the stories in the Old Testament were “told literally and understood as symbolic by the original listeners, but today some hear the “symbolic” stories and interpret them as literal.” The underlying message of all the stories, other than the history texts, is that “this happened and we believe God’s hand was involved in it and it happened as part of God’s plan.” One of the things I love about being an Episcopalian is that you don’t have to “check your brain at the door.” (Many other sects are around that don’t have that requirement, either, I just know my own church better) but, too many DO require that you give using God’s gift of REASONING in order to “measure up.” Too bad, since it gives the religion-haters PLENTY of legitimate ammunition!

          4. If we’re speaking intellectually, I’d ask you to point out the source of the statistics that say Christians are less charitable, honest, educated, likely to divorce, have abortions and/or commit crimes. That’s quite a statement.

            Or… are you just saying that relative to your own subjective experiences?

            Borrowing from the saying, “being in a garage doesn’t make you a car”, I’d argue that true Christians (i.e, those who have given their entire lives to follow Jesus; “cars in the garage”, as it were) are in fact much more charitable, honest, educated, serious about their marriages, against abortion, and against crime in general.

            The Christians I spend my time with give their hard-earned free time to volunteer, give their money without expecting it back, are more intellectual and thought out than those outside of the church, and are generally the kindest, most supportive and well-meant people I’ve met to date.

            It’s unfortunate that you’ve experienced otherwise…

            The Bible can actually be made internally consistent, because it’s the Holy Word of the Living God – Truth itself. By it all other truth stands.

            The logic in your arguments displays that you have not spent any time researching the Bible; its origins, its original Hebrew / Greek texts, what it has been through to even exist in this day and age, among all other things. (Or if you have, it’s been from biased sources who themselves have not done any substantial research)

            I suggest you try to find an Alpha group in your local area. It’s an evening session where a bunch of people (50/50 Christians to non-Christians) can meet up with other random people, hear about the bible, and then express their own beliefs to their group. There’s no condemnation or judgement from the group or the group leaders – you just speak your mind and they’ll listen.

            I don’t know about you, but I’d spend some time looking into this stuff. What’s worse? To die a Christian and find out I was wrong, or to die an Atheist and find out that Jesus is real?

            I’m praying for ya – hope the Lord speaks to you and shows you the peace and joy that truly seeking him first can bring.

      1. Hi. I’m an atheist, and I think you should stop trying to capitalize on other people’s stories to advance your own agenda. You’re factually inaccurate and unethical, and you’re giving the rest of us a bad name.

    2. Uninformed or uninvolved is not relevant. What’s relevant is that ultimately she is responsible for this mess. She’s had ample time to issue refunds, issue an apology, and begin planning corrective measures to prevent abuses like this in the future. That refunds have not been issues, apologies have not been provided, and no statement to such effect has been made says volumes about the character of the coordinator.

  18. I think Mrs. D is uncomfortable with her own sexuality, so she focused on Clare and made her pay for her beauty, confidence and tallness by singling her out and making her leave. Clare said Mrs. D is short and my guess is probably middle aged. I doubt the dads really had much to do with this, and if any of them did, they have serious problems. I have to question why they were on the balcony overlooking the dance floor. I know that is a good vantage point to observe behavior, but it that just feels creepy to me. Dads and Moms on the balcony, OK, but dads only is creepy, almost voyeuristic.

  19. Still fully believe that her choice of date (boyfriend) was the real problem here and the dress was merely the scapegoat. It’s such a shame you were the target of minds that would lose in a debate with a small soap dish.

  20. I think Mrs. D is uncomfortable with her own sexuality, so she focused on Clare and made her pay for her beauty, confidence and tallness by singling her out and making her leave. Clare said Mrs. D is short and my guess is probably middle aged. I doubt the dads really had much to do with this, and if any of them did, they have serious problems. I have to question why they were on the balcony overlooking the dance floor. I know that is a good vantage point to observe behavior, but it that just feels creepy to me. Dads and Moms on the balcony, OK, but dads only is creepy, almost voyeuristic.

    1. Yes, John Frisby, it IS voyeuristic. Men on a balcony observing teenagers dancing and hanging out.

  21. Hannah, I used the same Anne Lamott quote in the introduction to my book, “Don’t Look Now…” — and it is SO true! Brava to Clare for standing up for herself and fighting for her rights, and kudos to you for giving a wider platform for her to relate her experience. I’m sorry that she, her date and her friends had to go through this, but happy that they’ve brought the issues to light.

  22. Good to hear that she’s doing fine,and it was a good thing she told her story.But something about it irks me. Maybe it’s my own prejudice, but this feels like ..Not a dad letting someone know she’s giving impure thoughts- but that of a jealous woman, looking at a dad ogling. Now, perhaps that’s just me, but no matter the reason, it was not ok behaviour and she and her friends ought to get an apology.

  23. Just want to wish Clare, and her friends, good luck with finals and a happy graduation!

    (And thanks for the update – love the Luke and Lamott quotes.)

  24. Hmm sounds just like the Taliban:. Sick minded freaks who can’t control themselves or their sexual deviance when they get a glimpse of flesh. And even worse the stupid, subservient, perverted women who enable these potential rapists.

  25. I am trying to figure out who the man that reported impure thoughts was. I cannot find his name anywhere. Seems to me this lady who kicked the young girl out had it out for her the moment the young girl walked in. It appears the elder lady is just using men as an excuse for her own jealous behaviour.

    If a man did come forward and said “that girl right there is making me have impure thoughts” he should have been removed immediately. Why wasn’t he? The only reason I can see is he doesn’t exist.

    When I was a teen boy in church the teen girls were often told how “teen boys cannot control themselves” yada yada yada. But it’s bullshit. Teen boys do too have control, and so do men. I suspect if the young girl had been ready to ask “which man, and why isn’t he being kicked out?” like she was ready to show it met the fingertip dress code she would have been able to stay.

    Hope her graduation goes well!

  26. Clare I’m sorry you had to be a victim of men unable to control themselves around a beautiful girl. What is sad as since they are dads their kids have to be subject to their own fathers. Those men should be unable to be around kids they are disgusting and perverted. I’m ashamed that men act like this but not all men do some can actually control their penis. But I think Mrs. D had her husband their and he was getting arroused by you and she got jealous. So she kicked you out because her husband is a scumbag. Sorry Clare.

  27. I felt bad for all of three minutes, and then I read the post script of this update post. Do not use your personal experiences to ask for donations for college textbooks, work for it like everyone else.

  28. While i sympathize with what happened to the girl and agree it was wrong, there are two huge glaring problems with this story.
    1. The sexist attack on the fathers attending the event and accusation that they were “ogling” the young ladies. So if I as a stay at home dad watch my daughter at the play ground with other little girls am I ogling them as well?
    2. There is no proof that any of the problems were actually created by the dads, only Mrs. D’s claim. Despite these unknown dads being made the bogeymen of the story it seems all the slut shaming and attacks were actually carried out by Mrs. D.
    Maybe in the future we try not to castigate a bunch of dads who seem to have been doing nothing more wrong than watching their sons and daughters dance? And apply blame where it lies, with a woman, Mrs. D.

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