Guest opinion: It's time to ax the M-A Senior Fashion Show | April 19, 2017 | Almanac | Almanac Online |


https://almanacnews.com/print/story/print/2017/04/19/guest-opinion-its-time-to-ax-the-m-a-senior-fashion-show


Almanac

Viewpoint - April 19, 2017

Guest opinion: It's time to ax the M-A Senior Fashion Show

by Jessica Taylor

I'm excited to send my daughter to Menlo-Atherton High School next year. At the Open House a few weeks ago, I was moved to see the way our community comes together to educate its children. The highlight of my evening was when a baseball player flew into the ceramics classroom still in his uniform, described his recent game to his teacher, and sat down at the pottery wheel. At the end of the evening, I joked with my daughter, "Your high school has a swimming pool! My high school had a smoking section."

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Comments

11 people like this
Posted by MA Parent
a resident of Menlo-Atherton High School
on Apr 18, 2017 at 8:05 pm

First of all welcome to M-A! I hope your daughter has a great experience. As a parent of a graduating senior and an M-A alum, I hope that once you join the M-A community you re-evaluate your position. What you don't realize until you experience the show from the student side (I was not a parent on stage nor did I volunteer for the show), that it is the beginning of the senior activities that culminate in the graduation night party. Once my oldest boy participated the younger one who wasn't even in high school yet had made up his mind he would do it his senior year.

While it is a fundraiser, my kids found it to be more about the senior class bonding and having fun producing something with their classmates. The students have hours of practice for both the modeling and the dances leading up to the show. The day before the show they have a 6 hour rehearsal and spend the whole day of the show together. Yes, they're awkward, particularly in the early shows, but when is it bad to get out of your comfort zone in a safe non-judgmental environment? By not being a talent show, academic contest, or sport the kids come in as equals and they help and encourage each other. As for the diversity represented, that varies by year and who has volunteered to recruit kids to join. I encourage you to get involved! Both my kids have said it brought them closer to classmates they didn't normally mix with and it was one of the best social experiences they had at M-A. Thus it is one of their fondest memories. Before you try to end it I strongly suggest you attend when you know one or more of the participants, I think you might see things a little differently.


12 people like this
Posted by Sophie
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Apr 18, 2017 at 8:25 pm

I'm sorry but this article is ridiculous, you should really consider not giving very aggressive opinions on something you clearly know nothing about.


18 people like this
Posted by MA Student
a resident of Menlo-Atherton High School
on Apr 18, 2017 at 8:31 pm

I feel like I speak for most MA students when I say that the M-A Fashion Show was one of my favorite parts of senior year. it's the first event that really brings all of the class together and it kicks off the graduation activities. It's sad that you feel you can judge this event so harshly as an outsider, when the truth is this is one of the most beloved MA traditions.


16 people like this
Posted by Susan Patrick
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Apr 18, 2017 at 8:36 pm

While I understand your shock initially about the fashion show, I could not disagree more with your conclusions. I say this as a parent of a participant in the show and as a parent who volunteered backstage.

Are the kids awkward and out of the comfort zone at first? Lord yes. And good for them. Many of the kids would only look down when they first started modeling. It was a huge, huge confidence boost to them to practice standing up straight, loud and proud, looking straight ahead and smiling. They owned their poses. They had a lot of choice in what they wore, and which segment they wanted to participate in, and how they chose to move. The choreographer who worked with them tirelessly for weeks gave them so many tools to experiment with their moves and expression -- I'm not sure how that cannot be seen as burgeoning creativity. He also went out of his way to point out to the kids the diversity amongst the models on stage in terms of size, shape, race, and comfort levels and talked to them about supporting each other. In rehearsals the kids would improvise, edit, and come up with new routines on the fly.

The fashion show is also one of the *most* diverse activities students engage in. Finally, something one doesn't have to show tremendous athletic prowess in, or commit to for a long period of time, require a musical or acting talent, or have extra funds to be a part of. My daughter met fellow students she had never met before (it's a huge school!) and for those rehearsals, for that night, they all shared a common goal.

I am grateful for all the hard work the organizers and other helpers put into this event. Most of the seniors will be off to college next year, in new and awkward situations. I can only hope that, when that happens, they are able to channel the lessons they learned onstage at the fashion show -- to take a deep breath, try something new with someone you might not know, and to smile. They will remember that long after they forget the outfits they modeled.


14 people like this
Posted by Menlo-Atherton Student
a resident of Portola Valley: Ladera
on Apr 18, 2017 at 8:41 pm

As a Menlo-Atherton student that spent countless hours rehearsing for this show I am taken aback to have been exposed to such a pessimistic viewpoint. The M-A fashion show is a longstanding Menlo-Atherton tradition that students look forward to participating in each year. The show is completely optional but allows students to step out of their comfort zone and learn valuable skills in presentation and self confidence. I personally was excited to join the fashion show, but was also nervous because it was not something that I was not particularly used to.

Yes, many of the students were slightly awkward on stage. However, everyone participated out of choice. Yes, maybe the diversity of Menlo-Atherton was not portrayed within the show. However, if the message you got was that "a life of beauty and leisure is what we value" and that alarmed you, then I'm surprised that you're keen on the values of a private school like Sacred Heart. As a student that has attended private and public school, I am proud to be an M-A student because of the down to earth and genuine nature each student exhibits. Despite the large scale, it is one of the most welcoming communities I have ever been a part of. Maybe the show wasn't politically correct enough or didn't demonstrate the creativity and ambition of the student body, however, the purpose of the show is to have fun, raise money, and allow the seniors to become closer in their final moments together.

I sincerely hope that your daughter enjoys M-A and learns to love the outstanding community we have here. Hopefully she is supported if she chooses to participate in the fashion show her senior year.


13 people like this
Posted by Bear Mom
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Apr 18, 2017 at 9:09 pm

Yes, welcome to M-A! Really, we can't wait to have you join our vibrant, inclusive, tight-knit, diverse, and supportive community. As the mom of an M-A senior, I have to take serious exception to your misguided and mean-spirited characterization of fashion show. I wish you could see all the thoughtful comments by students on a Facebook post currently going viral in response to your nasty opinion; I think even you would be impressed by their thoughtful perspectives and decided lack of sexiness. Lucky for your daughter she has the privilege of going through high school in such a special place. With a pool! How sad that you won't be in the audience when she awkwardly dances and laughs her way through her own senior Fashion Show with her classmates, on her way to whatever future she can imagine.


15 people like this
Posted by Former M-A student
a resident of Menlo-Atherton High School
on Apr 18, 2017 at 9:10 pm

As someone who attended M-A and was in the fashion show, it is clear that you know very little about the school and the fashion show. The models had the freedom to pick their outfits and their poses. For many of them, that meant choosing clothing that they would not normally wear, regardless of their desired career. The clothing itself, while is may seem to promote a certain lifestyle, is featured because those stores generously decided to loan it. So maybe the fact that those luxury brands are the only ones available says more about the surrounding community than it does about the fashion show (though, in my opinion, the show featured a diverse selection of clothing).

The models met more students and were exposed to much more diversity than would be found at a private school like Sacred Heart. I hope that you can learn more about the fashion show from former participants as well as from other members of the community, because it is a truly amazing tradition in which students can step outside their comfort zones and bond with their class.


11 people like this
Posted by MA Student
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 18, 2017 at 9:38 pm

This article is laughable. You are so out of touch with reality and I can't imagine where you could have possibly came up with these ideas that were not portrayed at all in the show. And FYI, the Sacred Heart fashion show was terminated for completely different reasons. The MA fashion shows is a huge fundraiser for our school and one of the most memorable nights of high school. It is sad that you would try to stop an event you clearly misinterpreted and know absolutely nothing about.


16 people like this
Posted by Natasha
a resident of Menlo-Atherton High School
on Apr 18, 2017 at 9:59 pm

Just wanted to quickly chime in on some of your thoughts and hopefully alter your perspective of the fashion show for a little bit. I would first like to comment on your opinion about what the girls wore and how that somehow made us believe that "a life of beauty and leisure is what we value". To begin, we chose what to wear and I think there is absolutely no shame in that. We are high-school students who frankly do not yet feel confident in business or business-casual clothing; we chose the cute, flirty, and sexy outfits because this fashion show was our time to shine and our time to show how confident we felt in our own skin. So you bashing us girls and bringing us down for the fashion choices we made is really hurtful and disappointing to me; so what if we show some skin, so what if they are cuter than plain business clothes, we have years to wear that stuff. Second, I can tell you that we do not first and foremost value a life of beauty and leisure. The girls in those dresses are going to places like Stanford and Vanderbilt and USC; while they were backstage, they were discussing the pros and cons of UCLA, Berkeley, Michigan, and Brown. And before you say that they paid their way in or had connections, those people are my friends and I have watched them grow and get to where they are without their parents help.
Next, I seriously do not understand what you have against the parents. If their kids work hard, you can sure bet that their parents work just as hard, so this is one of those fun moments where they get to spend quality time with their kids; I was in the Nouvelle Bridal section and I was sure as hell happy that my father came to all the practices, invested his time into this, and cheered me on as I posed by myself on stage. The dads were not in their element at all, but they tried their best and really made the attempt to make a special memory with their daughter before their little girls go off to college. And really? bashing the moms too? So what if they wore sexy and flirty dresses? That does not take away their credibility as working businesswomen or dedicated mothers; there is nothing wrong with wanting to feel young and cute again and to be honest they all looked incredible. So in summary, the parents are not there to add to the 'spectacle', they are there to spend time with their soon-to-be high school graduates and have fun with their sons and daughters on stage.
Next, you really do not need to ridicule us for looking uncomfortable. If you wanted to see a fashion show with extremely confident young adults who feel absolutely gorgeous every day, you should have gone to New York Fashion Week. I do not doubt we looked uncomfortable, we are teenagers who have mostly never participated in a fashion show other than the ones we put on as kids. We were not uncomfortable because we felt too exposed or because we were trying to accurately support a certain lifestyle, we were awkward because we haven't yet learned how to walk in heels and because we want to get the routine down right. For you to ridicule that is truly disheartening to me.
Next, we are not trying to depict some lavish lifestyle, WE ARE LITERALLY TRYING TO HAVE FUN. It is hard enough getting companies and boutiques to support a fashion show so we are not picky. We are not trying to flaunt a lifestyle that a lot of the M-A student body does not have, we are creating memories that we hope to look back on fondly in the coming years.
Next, do not try to make this political, please. In this "confusing time", we aren't upholding a lavish lifestyle, if anything we are being more politically active. The students in the show were part of the huge student protest last November and Women's marches across America boasted M-A students, graduates, and parents. And the realtor? really? you chose the one realtor ad that depicted a woman in a sexy to make a generalization about our community? that is funny because the two realtor ads depict two women, standing proudly in front of the house they are selling in Atherton in those business clothes you so desperately wanted us to wear.
Next, I admit that we do lack diversity in the fashion show. But you have to understand that this show asks for hours of commitment, something that a lot of M-A seniors cannot afford to give. We are trying to curb this issue, but change takes time and eventually we will produce a fashion show in the coming years that conveys the strength in diversity our school embodies.
As for your daughter, I really hope that she has an amazing four years at M-A and grows into a cultured and personable individual.
As for you, I wish you hadn't taken the fashion show out of proportion and I wish you distorted its message to fit the political climate because that ruins it for a lot of people. Maybe if you'd interviewed the participants rather than a teacher that does not represent our school or maybe if you had read the posters in the lobby that demonstrated how we want to make our mark in the world you might not have jumped to conclusions based on personal bias; you could've seen that this was just a fundraiser and a good time for seniors to celebrate what they have accomplished academically and personally in their time spent at M-A. I am truly disappointed and upset that you would make such cursory judgments about a high-spirited production.


12 people like this
Posted by Natasha
a resident of Menlo-Atherton High School
on Apr 18, 2017 at 10:21 pm

Natasha is a registered user.

EDITED VERSION!:
Just wanted to quickly chime in on some of your thoughts and hopefully alter your perspective of the fashion show for a little bit.
I would first like to comment on your opinion about what the girls wore and how that somehow made us believe that "a life of beauty and leisure is what we value". To begin, we chose what to wear and I think there is absolutely no shame in that. We are high-school students who frankly do not yet want to wear business or business-casual clothing; we chose the cute, flirty, and sexy outfits because this fashion show was our time to shine and our time to show how confident we felt in our own skin. So you bashing us girls and bringing us down for the fashion choices we made is really hurtful and disappointing to me; so what if we show some skin, so what if our clothes are cuter than plain business clothes, we have years to wear that boring stuff. Second, I can tell you that we do not first and foremost value a life of beauty and leisure. The girls in those dresses are going to places like Stanford and Vanderbilt and USC; while they were backstage, they were discussing the pros and cons of UCLA, Berkeley, Michigan, and Brown. And before you say that they paid their way in or had connections, those people are my friends and I have watched them grow and get to where they are without their parents help.
Next, I seriously do not understand what you have against the parents. If their kids work hard, you can sure bet that their parents work just as hard, so this is one of those fun moments where they get to spend quality time with their kids; I was in the Nouvelle Bridal section and I was sure as hell happy that my father came to all the practices, invested his time into this, and cheered me on as I posed by myself on stage ( which is scarier than you think). The dads were not in their element at all, but they tried their best and really made the attempt to make a special memory with their daughter before their little girls go off to college. And really? bashing the moms too? So what if they wore sexy and flirty dresses? That does not take away their credibility as working businesswomen or dedicated mothers; there is nothing wrong with wanting to feel young and cute again and to be honest they all looked incredible. So in summary, the parents are not there to add to the 'spectacle', they are there to spend time with their soon-to-be high school graduates and have fun with their sons and daughters on stage.
Next, you really do not need to ridicule us for looking uncomfortable. If you wanted to see a fashion show with extremely confident young adults who feel absolutely gorgeous every day, you should have gone to New York Fashion Week. I do not doubt we looked uncomfortable, we are teenagers who have probably never participated in a fashion show other than the ones we put on as kids. We were not uncomfortable because we felt too exposed or because we were trying to accurately support a certain lifestyle, we were awkward because we haven't yet learned how to walk in heels and because we want to get the routine down right. For you to ridicule that is truly disheartening to me.
Next, we are not trying to depict some lavish lifestyle, WE ARE LITERALLY TRYING TO HAVE FUN. It is hard enough getting companies and boutiques to support a public school fundraiser so we cannot be picky. We are not trying to flaunt a lifestyle that a lot of the M-A student body does not have, we are creating memories that we hope to look back on fondly in the coming years.
Next, do not try to make this political, please. In this "confusing time", we aren't upholding a lavish lifestyle, if anything we are being more politically active. The students in the show were part of the huge student protest last November and women's marches across America boasted M-A students, graduates, and parents. And the realtor? really? you chose the one realtor ad that depicted a woman in a sexy position to make a generalization about our community? that is funny because while I was writing this response, the two realtor ads on this web page depict two women, standing proudly in front of the house they are selling in Atherton in those business clothes you so desperately wanted us to wear.
Next, I admit that we do lack diversity in the fashion show. But you have to understand that this show asks for hours of commitment, something that a lot of M-A seniors cannot afford to give. We are trying to curb this issue, but change takes time and eventually we will produce a fashion show in the coming years that conveys the strength in diversity our school embodies.
As for your daughter, I really hope that she has an amazing four years at M-A and grows into a cultured and personable individual.
As for you, I wish you hadn't taken the fashion show out of proportion and I wish you distorted its message to fit the political climate because that ruins it for a lot of people. Maybe if you'd interviewed the participants rather than a teacher that does not represent our school or maybe if you had read the posters in the lobby that demonstrated how we want to make our mark in the world you might not have jumped to conclusions based on personal bias; you could've seen that this was just a fundraiser and a good time for seniors to celebrate what they have accomplished academically and personally in their time spent at M-A. I am truly disappointed and upset that you would make such cursory judgments about a high-spirited production.


-Sincerely the child bride and her geriatric father


10 people like this
Posted by MA Student
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Apr 18, 2017 at 10:27 pm

MA Student is a registered user.

You need to stop. This article is ignorant and incorrect. You are over-reacting about something that all of the MA students love.


12 people like this
Posted by M-A and SHP Parent
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 18, 2017 at 10:38 pm

M-A and SHP Parent is a registered user.

Ms. Taylor, although you may have strong feelings about the M-A Fashion Show and you have the freedom to express your opinion in the Almanac, perhaps you should carefully consider the validity of both your opinions and statements before advertising them to the world around you. It is wise to choose your words carefully when making statements about an entire organization or group – something you clearly did not consider before spewing out your opinion and feelings about the M-A Fashion Show, the M-A Seniors and those parents who actively took part in it.

You may want to consider those seniors who participated in this event are scholarly and ambitious students who embrace equality, and value both family and careers. They are from all socio-economic backgrounds and many have faced more challenges than you will ever face. Some have the financial stability to go on ski vacations or attend spinning classes while others do not. Most importantly these seniors accept one another regardless of similarities or differences – they are collectively non-judgmental, accepting and respectful individuals regardless of advantages or disadvantages, regardless of academic pursuits or clothing attire, and regardless of gender, race or religion.

I actively participated in the SHP fashion show and the M-A Fashion Show. Until you have participated in both and are fully informed about each from first-hand experience, please exercise sensible and prudent judgment by refraining from airing your grievances, complaints, and making erroneous accusations.


11 people like this
Posted by Disappointed M-A Student
a resident of Portola Valley: Ladera
on Apr 18, 2017 at 11:04 pm

Disappointed M-A Student is a registered user.

As an eager Menlo-Atherton senior, I was initially extremely excited to participate in the beloved Fashion Show Tradition. But after the show I realized the horrific toll that such an event can take on a person.

Just days before the show, I was a highly motivated, college-bound student. But after a traumatizing performance, My life changed. Literally the only thing I have done since April first is post pictures of my ski and golf vacations and Instagram and Snapchat and I have no idea how to stop. I am now constantly consumed with the compulsive craving to spin. Spinning is my life. Soulcycle my only love.

You are correct about the appalling nature of the fashion show for I have since dropped out of high school and given up on my engineering dreams. However, I think I might have found some even more lucrative career options: "Looking good in yoga pants" and "marrying rich."


14 people like this
Posted by Menlo Atherton Student
a resident of Menlo Park: Downtown
on Apr 18, 2017 at 11:04 pm

Menlo Atherton Student is a registered user.

Hi Mrs. Taylor, thank you for sharing your opinion on our Senior Fashion Show.

I understand how, from an outside point of view, it may be difficult to see the Senior Fashion show as the communal experience that it truly is to the senior class. My issue with your article, however, is the gross extremes you have projected onto the fashion show. I know that the opinions you expressed above result directly from an ignorance to the character of our school as well as the time we all put into making the Senior Fashion Show a success (yes, a success!).

You can read the other comments on this post to get an understanding of the hours and hours we all poured into the show. I would like to add that our two model coaches spent an incredible amount of time after their day jobs working with each of us to boost our confidence not just on stage, but throughout the rest of our life. Charleston, our model coach, told us each practice that our homework was to look in the mirror and say "I love myself". He pushed us to go out of our comfort zone and get creative with our poses (though it seems like our creativity was lacking for your standards).

I would also like to note the AMAZING community I've found at M-A. All the teachers, from the campus aides to our incredible principle Mrs. Kennel, work so, so hard to provide all of us with not just a strong education, but also a support system, safe campus, and strong state of mental health. M-A is without a doubt a diverse school, and the entire staff works tirelessly to help every single student succeed, no matter their background. Attending Menlo-Atherton High School is one of the best decisions I have ever made. Not only has it vastly expanded my world view, but it has also given me an inner strength and confidence that I would never have received at any other school in the area.

I'm sorry that you were not able to appreciate the commitment we all made, and were so offended by our well-loved tradition. I hope when your daughter is a senior, she will take advantage of the fun, confident-boosting opportunity the fashion show presents. Maybe her father can also join, and create awkward, hilarious memories with her at rehearsals before she leaves for college. Better yet, you can join ,too! The Mother-Daughter segment (the largest one of the show) is business casual, work appropriate clothing, so you can conveniently wear your suit.

I hope your daughter loves M-A just as much as I have, and explores all the amazing experiences and opportunities the school offers. Go bears!


14 people like this
Posted by Ladera resident
a resident of Portola Valley: Ladera
on Apr 18, 2017 at 11:34 pm

Ladera resident is a registered user.

I share many of Ms. Taylor's values, but none of her opinions regarding the M-A fashion show. I also question the editorial judgment of the Almanac to give such prominent play to an opinion from someone who walked in off the street into an event they clearly did not understand, and then has the gall to publicly call for its termination. What's next; will she feel free to publicly trash the prom, the concerts, the plays, the open mike nights, the assemblies, the football games.... I am sure it is easy to find fault with almost anything if you look through glasses distorted by arrogance and ignorance. One thing that many of the above comments show is that Ms. Taylor took it a lot more seriously than anyone involved; the fashion show has a sort of self-conscious, tongue-in-cheek quality that Ms. Taylor completely missed.

The only satisfaction here is that Ms. Taylor, having probably mortified her poor daughter with such an ill-considered public airing right before her daughter enrolls at the school, will understand M-A (and older teenagers) better when her daughter actually goes there, and have much more tolerance for the wide variety of ways that M-A students have fun, and create the many communities that exist in the school. If her daughter chooses not to participate in the fashion show, that's perfectly fine, and I hope Ms. Taylor chooses the same. And if her daughter does want to be a part of it, I hope Ms. Taylor is kinder to her than she has been to other parents' children who she doesn't know.


10 people like this
Posted by IMadeAnAlmanacAccountJustToRespondToThis
a resident of Menlo-Atherton High School
on Apr 18, 2017 at 11:50 pm

IMadeAnAlmanacAccountJustToRespondToThis is a registered user.

The Almanac requires me to make an account to respond to this so I lost my first draft. So I'm gonna be much shorter in this one (both in content and in attitude).

First off, welcome to MA! As you may have seen already we are a very close knit community and care strongly about each other. You will find we are all passionate in our school, hence the responses to this.

First off, I want to make it clear that we are not all Nuclear Engineers like yourself, Ms. Taylor. Hence, we did not CHOOSE (key word there. "Choice") outfits like you would. I do not mean to be inconsiderate ma'am, but I don't give a damn about whether or not your preferred fashion sense was portrayed. Because neither was mine. And you don't see me angrily attacking parents, students, and administration that worked their asses off to put on this production because of that. We are HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS! Not experienced, veteran tech workers like yourself. The lifestyles represented REFLECT OUR OWN LIFESTYLES. It should come as a surprise to NO ONE that Bay Area HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS (Emphasis on the high school seniors part) actually enjoy "golf trips to Palm Springs, ski trips in Tahoe, spinning classes at Soul Cycle, season tickets to the Giants, and countless galas." Because, guess what, that's the culture in this area. If you're new to the area, 1) angry "articles" aren't great ways to make friends and 2) Welcome to Atherton! If you are new, then I'd love to be your guide. If not, then I cannot imagine how you're surprised.

Both the diversity and sexism nonsense can be shot down by a single, unalienable right: "Freedom." The HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS (not mindless drones who take the word of Melania Trump and her husband as the word of God. And this is hardly the forum to gripe about our current political climate.) could CHOOSE to be in the show if they wanted. There wasn't as many minorities represented not because Jeff Sessions hand picked the models, but because they didn't CHOOSE to participate. Yeah, I could choose exactly what outfit I wanted. When presented with one I didn't like I said "Nah. Can I wear something else?" And was able to wear what I wanted. So the idea that the parents and organizers were forcing misogyny and sexism on the students is garbage. That is an incredibly narrow minded conclusion to draw. The HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS (I really hope this point gets across to you) could actually CHOOSE (I know surprising) what poses and such to do, be it hats or SUNGLASSES (heaven forbid they wear sunglasses...). Please take your Gender Studies 101 talking points somewhere where they are needed.

Sacred Heart discontinued theirs because of students complaining about time commitment. Not for the reasons you laid out so I suggest politely that you check your facts before you post a very pointed article as you have.

I won't touch that comment about consumerism with a ten foot pole, Ms. Marx. But, spoiler alert, its kind of a central value to this crazy cool thing called "Capitalism."

In the end this event has been a highlight for my senior year so far. It brought me out of my introverted shell. It allowed me to meet with and get to know people I have never interacted with in my life. For that, I am grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this.

And seriously, you're going to criticize the HIGH SCHOOL SENIORS (I hope this is getting through to you... I know it is a difficult idea to grasp...) for being awkward? Do you know of ANY HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR (have it yet?) who isn't awkward?

This rant-y blog post (sorry, "Article") is wildly off base and completely out of touch with the sentiments of ANYONE who participated. It succeeds as being both condescending and regressive, and feels like you are finger wagging at all of us from your high horse. Now excuse me while I go off to my Mar-A-Lago resort, watch Giants games, ski, and go marry a child bride.

[Part removed.]


9 people like this
Posted by Menlo-Atherton Senior
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Apr 19, 2017 at 12:00 am

Menlo-Atherton Senior is a registered user.

You are not a nasty woman. You are not a feminist. You are not an advocate for women.

If you can really tout yourself as all of these things (as you do across other social media platforms) you should be able to see the painful, demeaning, and highly offensive nature of your comments. If you can't, well then I feel quite sad for you. At least there is a generation of bad-ass, strong, confident women and men whose light and power will drown out the waves of negativity and stereotyping people like you place on them.

If anyone is stuck in the 1950's, it is you. Please don't pretend to be a champion for the people and what is moral when it is clear you may need to take an objective step back, re-evaluate your stance (since clearly so many people believe you) and not go on the defensive.


7 people like this
Posted by MA Parent
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 19, 2017 at 12:12 am

MA Parent is a registered user.

Students and their parents stage and enjoy the talent show. It's their contribution to the MA community. Your strident demands that they conform to your value system smacks of intolerance. Though your reservations about consumerism have merit, your assault on their liberty is deeply troubling. Liberty doesn't mean having the world you "want". Liberty means letting others live their lives as they choose, subject to the rights of others. Join the talent show, bring your energy to it, and add a professional attire segment. Or, simply choose to participate in and support other activities. But your demand that they "ax" the talent show has no place in a liberal society.


3 people like this
Posted by jayaaless
a resident of Menlo Park: Sharon Heights
on Apr 19, 2017 at 12:40 am

jayaaless is a registered user.

First of all, I would like to extend my well-wishes to your daughter upon her entrance to M-A! Ironically, I think the Senior Fashion Show is one of the unique experiences the school has to offer that differentiates it from others and renders the general atmosphere more inclusive.
As an M-A alumnus who participated in the fashion show last year and spoke to friends about their involvement during other years, I can confidently say that the Senior Fashion Show was an overwhelmingly positive experience for students involved. It facilitates the bonding of the class in question and creates a platform for those who would normally abhor participation in such public events to try something almost avant-garde for themselves and actually find it enjoyable. Students are encouraged to exhibit their authentic personalities on stage in their walks and their poses, and preferences as to what individuals want to wear is taken into consideration.
I must say that I was disappointed to read this ill-informed, improperly researched article. Even an opinion piece should be backed up by external sources and contain at least some attempt to interview those actually involved in the event in question. The vitriolic critiques of what will happen "if [girls] look good in yoga pants" and other such comments are so pointed and mean that they truly shocked me. Given the fun-filled, PG nature of the show it makes me sad that someone would take shots at the participants in such a way- doing so contradicts how the article is attempting to make a point about the sexism and socioeconomically- unaware nature of the show.
The exuberance and quantity of comments on the article are fortunately much more indicative of the true nature of the fashion show than the article itself, and the support of the community is encouraging. Go bears :)


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Posted by Kelly M.
a resident of Atherton: other
on Apr 19, 2017 at 8:24 am

Kelly M. is a registered user.

Jessica -- I appreciate and agree with many of the observations in your thoughtful article. I think you articulate concerns that probably many other people share within the school community. I remember well the one time I attended the former fashion show at our school, before we had moved up into the high school. I, too, walked out surprised and feeling confused at the apparent contradiction of the nature of the event with the values I knew to be promoted and taught at our school. That was the last year of the fashion show at our school, actually, and now we hold a Senior Show for the celebration and culmination of the kids' accomplishments. I hope that as you join the M-A community, you will bring your great ideas and values into the discussion around how to highlight inclusivity, teamwork, celebration, and the incredible talents and traits of the whole student body.


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Posted by Randy Clunge
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Apr 19, 2017 at 8:30 am

Randy Clunge is a registered user.

Oh Ms Taylor, I am so sorry for your daughter having to attend a school that prides itself on diversity, inclusion, academics and community. Perhaps the fashion show should have asked you for your thoughts on how to provide you and your incoming freshman with better entertainment.

The MA Senior Fashion show has been around a long time, I attended MA as it was just starting, and it was 1. a fundraiser 2. fun for the seniors 3. a "fashion show". I am sorry that there was false advertisements that forced you to come - I will look around town for the flyers that said "MA Fashion Show - empowering women of tech with appropriate outfits."

[Part removed.] .. your daughter is about to join a community with more diversity than you will ever imagine, she will be surrounded with, befriended by and supported by some of the wealthiest and poorest people you'd imagine. She will gain more in her 4 yrs at MA than she would at any high school in the area. GO BEARS!!!


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Posted by MPDad
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on Apr 19, 2017 at 9:23 am

MPDad is a registered user.

As the dad of an incoming freshman girl I have to agree with much of what Ms. Taylor stated in her opinion piece. I get the points that are being raised by some of the students and parents but much of what they are stating that the intention is of this event could be achieved in a much less anachronistic way. The idea of a fashion show really bumps up against borderline sexism. There are ways to allow kids to step out of their comfort zone and meet other kids they wouldn't have otherwise met AND fundraise. There is no lack of creative minds in this area to come up with a suitable alternative.


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Posted by M-A dad
a resident of Menlo Park: The Willows
on Apr 19, 2017 at 10:02 am

M-A dad is a registered user.

For those who may not have seen the show over the 30 years it has been performed, please know this is not like an old-fashioned catwalk at all, as one might think from reading Ms. Taylor's opinion. For God's sake, there is no swimsuit competition, or any competition! I am sorry she thought the Fashion Show was going to be centered on original designs, but so to say it therefore lacked creativity is shallow and short-sighted. As a father of three daughters I am very sensitive to stereotypes and sexism but that is not what I found the Fashion Show to be about at all.

It certainly feels as if you have a background agenda you'd like to push via your confusion over the Fashion Show goals. I will tell you I have many proud Nasty Women living in my house, and I agree with your general political stance but disagree completely on your comparison of this show to the 1950s and think bringing in Melania Trump was just way over the top and at best a complete stretch. The kids are not victims of "confusing times" in regards to their participation in the show. Please. These are the same kids who marched in protest in November and in January.

Please note that both girls and both participate in the Fashion Show, and they choose clothing from North Face, Vans, Giants, etc. as well as from the formal wear vendors. And no, this is not because people have season tickets to the Giants...it's just because they are the home team and it's fun to support them. Did you also see the segment on BearWear, featuring M-A clothes? They then figure out how to best show their chosen clothes and style with group choreography and a ton of peer support.

I find your line about becoming the type of person who "looks good in yoga pants" to be the type that can grow up to choreograph a fashion show like this petty, demeaning, and rude. Do you realize the main choreographer is an African-American male, Charleston Pierce, quite accomplished and respected in his field?! Check your privilege and your assumptions. You can read more about this work with the kids here: Web Link

One of my favorite aspects of the fashion show was the cheering and applause for every single student who chose to be a part of it, forcing themselves to exude confidence, whether that be a girl in jeans or a boy in a Giants onesie. You can thank Charleston and the dozens of other volunteers for that environment rather than cutting them down.


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Posted by Richard Hine
editor of The Almanac
on Apr 19, 2017 at 11:03 am

Richard Hine is a registered user.

To comment on community issues in the Almanac's print edition, you can submit a letter to the editor by email to: letters@AlmanacNews.com. No more than 300 words, please. Include your phone number and home address, and write "letter for publication" in the subject line. (If the letter runs, your name, street name and city of residence will be published, not your phone number or address.)


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Posted by Ax Dadumwriter
a resident of Portola Valley: Ladera
on Apr 19, 2017 at 2:12 pm

Ax Dadumwriter is a registered user.

Ms. Taylor, you owe an apology to MA seniors, the staff and volunteers that produced the MA Fashion Show, and the community at large.

Your opinion piece reflects no investigation about the history and purpose of the MA Fashion Show and no perspective or consideration about its meaning to the school and the community. Instead, your opinion piece projects an ignorant self-righteousness that has offended many in the community.

Of course, you are entitled to your opinion and to make it publicly known, but superimposing your value ethos on others without any investigation or any semblance of objectivity is not opinion writing. It is name-calling drivel.

[Portion removed; personal attacks are not allowed; attack the ideas if you wish, but not the writer.]


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Posted by Catherine
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on Apr 19, 2017 at 2:34 pm

Catherine is a registered user.

I second the comments very articulately expressed by the overwhelming number of parents and students (go Bears!) who support the Fashion Show. A nasty woman myself (and marcher), I find it hard to believe that anyone can see here a serious case of sexism or even an anachronism. All seniors are allowed to join but your daughter will not have to be a part of it if she doesn't choose to. You really cannot gauge the affection people have for the Fashion Show until you have experienced it, worked it, or participated in it. It is an incredibly bonding experience for the seniors and for the hundreds of volunteers who make it happen. Except for this year, I have volunteered every year, even in the years that my kids were not in the show. Both of my kids have been in it, including one this year (thank you Helm's of Sun Valley for lending our boys and girls wonderful snowboarding outfits!) and, awkward of not, have adored the experience. It is a big time commitment, which forces the kids to juggle a lot of things but that is a lesson in itself. "Models" are all in the dance numbers too and have a chance to dance and learn some choreography is something most have tons of fun with, even if they have to go outside their comfort zone.

You are missing other key points. Many of the stores you are poo-poohing are local community members who have been supporting public (and private) education for years. I for one always attempt to go buy something from one of them after the show in a small act of gratitude for their support.

Another point: I find it very refreshing to have the students work to raise funds, instead of being asked for yet another donation. Thrilled to support it AND get entertained at the same time.

I brought 8 Japanese high schoolers to the show and they had the time of their life and will remember this glimpse into a American lifestyle they can only dream of in their very different schools.

For crying out loud, M-A seniors are bright, inclusive, excited about life and pumped to celebrate the end of 12 years of arduous schooling: let them have fun!