This Utah High School’s Sexist ‘Date’ Assignment Will Make You Flip A Table
(If we hold hands for three more minutes, we’ll get an A. ViewApart/iStockPhoto)
If you’re looking to whip up a good froth of righteous rage this morning, a Utah high school has got you covered with its wildly sexist homework assignment telling kids to go on “dates” with a member of the opposite sex.
Salt Lake City mother Jenn Oxborrow was so astounded by the “$5 date” homework assignment her daughter brought home on Monday that she posted it to her Facebook page.
As part of a class in “Financial Literacy and Adult Roles,” which is a required class at Highland High School, Oxborrow’s daughter was given a pink piece of paper explaining her duties on a homework assignment that required her to “go out” on a date with a member of the opposite sex.
- “Eat the food you order. Don’t waste his money.”
- “Be feminine and lady-like, don’t use vulgar language or swear.”
- “Don’t expect love and commitment when the date is meant to be casual” (Just to reiterate, this was handed out in a Financial Literacy class.)
- “Don’t correct or comment on his personal habits.”
- “If you think you’re too fat, etc., keep it to yourself.”
- “Don’t stay in the bathroom forever (try not to go in groups)”
- “Don’t criticize his driving (unless it is unsafe.”
Fox 13 Salt Lake City shared a copy of the assignment the boys in the class got, and it was just as heteronormative and reliant o midcentury ideas of gender roles. The boys’ assignment included advice like “Don’t gripe about the money you’re spending or don’t have.” Boys are also told to announce what they’re ordering at a restaurant so their date (who is apparently always female in this assignment) will have a guide in ordering.”
This is such a weird, inappropriate assignment. Why is the financial literacy teacher talking about whether or not kids are kissing on first dates? What if you’re in the class and you’re not straight?
The guys are also told to gas up their cars before their dates, which makes me wonder if I would fail this assignment because in high school I was the only one of my friends or romantic interests that had a car. Were we breaking some kind of rule if the girl drives?
The grade-grubbing overachieving high school student in me is keenly interested in how this assignment will be graded. Do I get extra credit if I do the thing where you reach for the check like you’re going to pay, but then let the guy pay after he insists? Do I lose points for screaming, “SMASH THE PATRIARCHY!” and then moon-walking out of the restaurant? What is the academic value of wearing a push-up bra to this assignment? Does it gain points for appealing to conventional norms of femininity, or does it lose points for being “slutty”? (Let me guess, small-busted girls gain points, large-busted girls get demerits.)
The assignment was not created by the teacher, but it was taken from a Utah Board of Education database that lets teacher pull classroom materials and assignments on various topics for use in their own classrooms. Still, it’s bewildering that a teacher could look at these assignments and think they were a good idea to hand out to her class.
This assignment is so weird, even the Utah State Board of Education was shocked by it. After Oxborrow’s post started gaining momentum, Board of Education spokesperson Mark Peterson told Fox 13 that the assignment was being removed from the state’s curriculum database, and that, “We really don’t have any business whether or not boys and girls should be kissing on a date in a financial literacy class.”
Oxborrow says she’s pleased with how the school is handling the situation. The principal said the teacher was “mortified” and intended it to be a “light-hearted lesson in social norms,” but some social norms belong in the dumpster, not in the classroom.