High school Photoshops yearbook photos to show less female skin

A Utah high school doesn't want its female students to look remotely sexy. So it uses technology to effect that.

Chris Matyszczyk
2 min read

Skin, with white-out added on shoulders. KSTU-TV screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Technology is a great way to change how things truly are.

It takes reality and makes it virtual. It takes intelligence and makes it artificial.

Now one Utah high school has used technology to make teenagers more modest.

Anyone familiar with teenagers knows this isn't easy. However, in this case, the modesty I'm talking about is less spiritual than physical.

For, as KSTU-TV reports, Wasatch High School decided to whip out its Photoshop skills in order to make female students look more, well, demure in their yearbook photos.

Naturally, demure in Utah means exhibiting less flesh. The less flesh a woman exhibits, the less impropriety there is likely to be.

Yet some students believe the school chose certain students at random for the cover-up.

Shelby Baum noticed her shirt had been pulled up further in her photo. That's a righteousness you don't see on "Project Runway."

Another, Kimberly Montoya, had objections on aesthetic grounds too.

She told KSTU: "I was upset because my shirt was a cream color and the color of the cover-up was completely white. It looked like white-out on my skin."

Darling, no one wears cream with white.

These are teenage girls. Appearances matter. Had they been told of the school's intentions, they say they might have worn something different.

Worse, say some, the Photoshopping was entirely arbitrary. Two girls wore the same outfit. One found herself digitally altered, the other not.

As so often happens in contemporary education, the school took the high road. I'm sorry, I meant the high-handed road.

The school district told KSTU that it was entirely the students' fault. They ought to have been aware of the dress code.

Terry E. Shoemaker, the superintendent of Wasatch County School District insisted that a large sign had been posted at the photo shoot to remind the ladies of Utah decorum -- or, at least, that the photos might be edited.

"We only apologize in the sense that we want to be more consistent, he added.

One senses a tinge of moral frustration that the school's overworked Photoshoppers might have missed a bare shoulder, a shiny tricep or merely an excessively thin dress strap along the way.

Shoemaker believes this is all about preparing kids to dress more appropriately for things in the future.

It might also be about schools learning to behave more appropriately in the present.