Sexist Homework Telling Girls How To Date Pushes Gender Stereotypes

The assignment's suggestions, which centered on young women going out, included, "Be feminine and lady-like, don't use vulgar language or swear."

Proof that random corners of America have yet to catch up with modern society: At Highland High School in Salt Lake City, the girls in the Adult Roles and Financial Literacy class were given a ridiculously sexist homework assignment on dating, the Salt Lake Tribune reports. The class is a requirement for Utah students to graduate high school.

After seeing the assignment, one parent was outraged. She shared a picture of it on Facebook, which has since gone viral.

The assignment was to go on a date and spend no more than $5. 

The caption by Facebook user Jenn Oxborrow says,

"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. We really appreciate your evidence-based misogyny."

Among the list of suggestions for girls, provided by guys, apparently, include such treasures: 

Eat the food you order. Don't waste his money.

If you think you're too fat, etc., keep it to yourself.

Be feminine and lady-like, don't use vulgar language or swear. 

Show respect for him.

Keep to your standards. 

Don't criticize his driving (unless it's not safe).

Thank heavens for that last caveat, right?  

"What is this heteronormative bullsh*t?" one user commented. Pretty accurate summary.

Even worse is this wasn't just a hypothetical scenario — according to Oxborrow's daughter, Lucy Mulligan, a real date was mandatory to complete the assignment. 

"[The teacher] never said that it could be a friend," Mulligan said. "She really didn't leave it up to us if we wanted to or not."

Here's what the boys' assignment looked like:

The suggestions varied a bit: 

Make plans for the date and let the girl know what they are doing

Don't gripe about the money you're spending or don't have

It's okay to show your feelings

Girls like flowers and little gifts


According to Mark Peterson, a representative for the Utah Board of Education, the "$5 Date" assignment will be withdrawn from the curriculum database due to the negative responses.

"They're inappropriate," he said simply, "and we're taking them down."

One has to wonder: How long has the antiquated homework been circulating in the Utah education system? Even the most hopeful of us can't imagine that the harmful gender roles touted in the assignment didn't lower self-esteem somewhere along the line, or cement egregious stereotypes in young, still-developing minds. 

Sigh. We've got our work cut out for us.

Banner and thumbnail credit: Reuters, Sergio Perez

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