Asking high school students to go on a date for an assignment is strange enough, but adding sexist guidelines for said date crosses a line. According to mom Jenn Oxborrow, her daughter, who attends Highland High School in Utah, was tasked with going on a date with a boy — and was given some pretty problematic instructions for how to behave on that date. On Monday, Oxborrow shared a photo of the assignment on Facebook, explaining, "My 11th grade AP honors student's homework: 'go on a date!' With a boy. And follow his suggestions — don't correct his personal habits, don't waste his money, and show him respect." "Thanks for educating our kids, Utah Department of Education," she jokingly added. "We really appreciate your evidence-based misogyny."
As you can see, the assignment includes instructions such as "be feminine and lady-like, don't use vulgar language or swear." It also advises girls to "dress appropriately," but also "don't worry about your appearance the whole date." In case you were wondering, the boys' assignment wasn't any better.
“At a restaurant, say what you’re going to order so she will have a guide in ordering" and "no gross noises," are both on the list. Basically, the entire assignment is a master class in outdated stereotypes and heteronormative gender norms — not to mention, it completely ignores the fact that, hi, not everyone wants to go on a date with someone of the opposite sex. According to the Salt Lake City Tribune, the assignment was part of Highland's Adult Roles and Financial Literacy class, a course that the state requires students to take in order to graduate. Mark Peterson, spokesman for the Utah Board of Education, told the Tribune that the assignment was being removed from the state’s curriculum database in response to the complaint made. Meanwhile, Mark Jenson, principal of Highland High, told the Tribune that the unnamed teacher who administered the assignment never intended for it to be followed as written, and instead meant it to be a casual date or time spent with a friend. But Oxborrow's daughter, Lucy Mulligan, told the Tribune that her teacher "never said that it could be a friend. She really didn’t leave it up to us if we wanted to or not.” Either way, Jenson acknowledged that "there’s no doubt that there is gender bias in the assignment." Regardless of any miscommunication, we're glad the school moved quickly to correct the issue and fight sexist gender norms.