The Russian-speaking internet has been all hot and bothered these past few days by a story that perfectly encapsulates the problems plaguing the former Soviet Union. No, I’m not talking about sex trafficking, high unemployment rates, or inequality between the sexes. I’m talking about a 17-year-old’s graduation dress.

According to Animal New York, 17-year-old honor student Anastasia Fomenko set that whole region of the world on fire when she wore a sheer, underwear-revealing dress and thigh-highs—an ensemble similar to one previously worn by Lady Gaga—to her high school graduation ceremony. This prompted many gasps of shock, as well as numerous news stories like this one:

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2iC3kiYO9DM?version=3]

They might be speaking Russian here, but I can totally tell what they’re saying. Alarmist news stories are universal.

Was this dress appropriate for a graduation ceremony? Obviously not! But with a young Ukrainian’s career prospects being what they are (i.e. even worse than a young American’s), this was potentially a pretty savvy move. One must use what one has to get ahead, and there are murmurings that Anastasia has already been offered a modeling contract. A depressingly large number of women in her country have entered the sex trade not because it appeals to them, but because it’s their only option for survival, so maybe she was trying to avoid that fate. Or maybe she just wanted attention, like a non-high school dropout version of Courtney Stodden. Who knows?

In any case, everyone should calm down. Kids wear all sorts of dumb shit in high school. When I accepted my award for valedictorian, I’m pretty sure I was wearing a low-cut  spiderweb-print tank top, some sort of short black pleated skirt, platform Mary Janes, and red and black argyle knee socks. And you know what? I turned out okay. They really should institute some sort of motivational “get good grades, wear whatever you want” program in schools.

I’m also struck by how different Anastasia looks in that outfit than Lady Gaga. She looks…less than classy, while Gaga manages to look kind of weird and artsy. It just goes to show you how far a person’s styling, identity, and general look can go towards shaping our perception of an outfit.

(Via Animal New York)

Photo: Animal NY