The Globe’s Sept. 23 editorial “An exemption is warranted for father-daughter dances,” supporting an amendment to Rhode Island’s antidiscrimination law in order to allow schools to promote gender-exclusive events, is as confusing as it is misguided.
This controversy arose when a single mother contacted the Rhode Island American Civil Liberties Union after the school PTO announced it was hosting a “me and my guy” dance for girls and a mother-son baseball outing for the boys. The effect of these gender-exclusive (and gender-stereotyped) events was that the mother could not go with her daughter to either one.
The editorial calls such gender-exclusive events “wholesome vehicles for parental involvement in school.” But it then paradoxically adds that “if parents or students of the other gender care to join in, they should be welcomed without a fuss.” We agree, which leads to the obvious question: Why support an amendment whose only purpose is to bar them from joining in?
Holding school events for families can indeed be a wonderful time for all, but when the events are instead advertised for one gender only and, even worse, when they promote blatant gender stereotypes — in this case, that girls belong at dances and boys at baseball games — there is nothing wholesome about them.