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If you were this girl's mother, would you. . . (edit)

Posted by on Apr. 3, 2014 at 11:47 AM
  • 212 Replies

 

Poll

Question: This is an interview with a 13-year old who is currently protesting a dress code policy regarding leggings. My question to you is, if you were her mom, would you:

Options:

support her

tell her to stop

other (explain)


Only group members can vote in this poll.

Total Votes: 184

View Results

lotta_leggings

berryjane.wordpress.com

Last month, middle-school girls in Evanston, Ill., rebelled against their school dress code by showing up to class wearing leggings en mass. Administrators at Haven Middle School say that girls in leggings are “distracting to boys”; girls counter that they simply want to attend class in the comfort that leggings provide and don't deserve to be penalized for how boys respond. I talked to Sophie Hasty, 13, one of the leaders of the protest, about the agony of getting “dress-coded” at school, the political power of Instagram, and the benefits of leggings.

Slate: When did you start to notice that the dress code was a problem?

Sophie Hasty: Last year, I never really paid attention to the dress code. But this year, teachers started to get stricter about it and giving stupid reasons for it. The reason was basically: “boys.” It’s a lot like saying that if guys do something to harass us, it’s our fault for that. We’re the ones being punished for what guys do. My friends and I got mad about it, and we would talk about it often earlier in the year, but we didn’t think we could really do anything about it.

Slate: How did the campaign start?

Hasty: First, my friends and I just talked about everyone wearing leggings on a day of school—everyone in the [seventh] grade wearing leggings—but we didn’t know if it was actually going to work. Then, we saw people a grade above us starting to post all of these Instagram things and Facebook things about starting a campaign, so we joined on, and other people in the school got on board. All of a sudden there were posters and a petition sent around.

Slate: What does it feel like to be dress-coded?

Hasty: Some teachers are laid back about it and just say, “Go put on your shorts.” Other teachers will make a big deal about it. If I’m ever wearing leggings around them—and I admit I do break dress code, because I don’t find it to be a big deal—and I’m about to pass them, I have to hide behind my friends. It’s kind of scary because the real strict ones will give you this paper that you have to bring home for your parents to sign, and if you get that a certain amount of times, you get suspended now.

Slate: What are the shorts?

Hasty: Our gym shorts. We have to put them over our leggings.

Slate: That seems embarrassing.

Hasty: It is. It’s humiliating to walk around the hallways wearing bright blue shorts. Boys yell “dress code!” when they see you. They act more inappropriate when you’re walking around in blue shorts when you’ve gotten dress-coded than when you’re just wearing leggings. I asked a teacher to tell us about an incident where a girl was wearing leggings and a guy was getting distracted. There hasn’t been one.

Slate: It sounds like following the dress code can be distracting for girls as well.

Hasty: Oh, yeah, definitely. I’ve caught myself pulling down my shirt when I’m walking past teachers so they will notice the leggings a little less. But now I’ve caught myself in public doing that, too, and that’s making me annoyed. I don’t want to be in public and worry about people seeing me in leggings. It’s not a big deal to me, and the school is trying to make me feel bad about it.

Slate: How did your teachers respond to the protest?

Hasty: Our principal was mad. The stricter dress-coding teachers were mad. Other teachers we talked to about it that day just kind of thought it wasn’t going to do anything, that it wasn’t going to be big, and nothing was going to change. They thought it was just funny. But I guess we did something because all of these articles are coming out and reporters are trying to talk to us.

Slate: What do boys at school think about the campaign?

Hasty: The boys were definitely into it. They think the dress code is against them, too, because they don’t like having it blamed on them by teachers, being told that the dress code is their fault. They don’t think it’s fair to them or us.

Slate: Do boys get dress-coded, too?

Hasty: Sometimes, but not in the way we do. When they get dress-coded, it’s not like they’re wearing leggings. They’re sagging. All a teacher needs to tell them to do is pull up their pants or take off their hood or take off their hat. They don’t need to wear these blue shorts all day. So the focus is mainly on the girls at the moment.

Slate: What’s the status of the campaign?

Hasty: The school had a meeting recently where they said that yoga pants were off the dress code, but some teachers will still dress-code for yoga pants. Leggings are still a violation, but we haven’t fully given up on that, either. There’s another meeting this month for the district to talk about the issue. Things have been changing a little bit, but I don’t know how much. We’ll see.

Slate: Has any teacher given you a good reason why you shouldn’t wear leggings to school?

Hasty: One of them said, “If your leggings look like you got black paint and painted your legs with it, it’s not appropriate.” And I can understand that. But they haven’t given us a reason as to why we can’t actually wear leggings in general—or a good reason, at least.

Slate: Why do you like wearing leggings?

Hasty: They are the most comfortable thing, other than sweatpants. But you can kind of get away with leggings easier than sweatpants, because sweatpants make you look a lot lazier. Teachers don’t understand that wearing jeans almost every day of the school year can get uncomfortable. I just love the feeling of leggings.

Slate: I think it can be much simpler for men to find comfortable pants that fit than it is for women.

Hasty: Oh, yeah. It’s way easier for them.

Amanda Hess is a Slate staff writer. Email her at amanda.hess@slate.com, or follow her on Twitter.

(edited later)

Here's an interesting opinion from a Time Magazine writer: http://time.com/#36997/when-enforcing-school-dress-codes-turns-into-slut-shaming/.  One of the parents from the school said that it's the girls with the more well-developed bodies who are being singled out.  Which makes sense -- a lot of dress code enforcement tends to be selective; teachers call you out when they notice, and they probably are more likely to notice if you have a more developed figure. 

 

 

 

 

by on Apr. 3, 2014 at 11:47 AM
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Replies (1-10):
mikesmom65270
by Member on Apr. 3, 2014 at 11:55 AM
3 moms liked this

I personally don't think anyone looks good wearing leggings as pants, but they look fine with a longer top over them. My DD is an adult now, but I would have had her follow the dress code, whether or not we liked it or thought it was fair.

lga1965
by on Apr. 3, 2014 at 11:59 AM
14 moms liked this

 I voted "I would tell her to stop".And I would add this : When you're in school, you should follow rules and dress codes. You are there to learn, not to make a fashion statement.

pamelax3
by Gold Member on Apr. 3, 2014 at 12:01 PM
3 moms liked this

There is a dress code in place for a reason, IMO kids need to learn to follow policies. If this girl would adhere to the dress code then the blue shorts would not have to be worn, she brings the embarrassment on to herself

Sisteract
by Whoopie on Apr. 3, 2014 at 12:02 PM
6 moms liked this

I would tell her that breaking the dress code is not the answer or an option.

When we started a new Catholic school, girls were not allowed to wear pants during the cold winter months. At our previous school, in a slightly warmer locale, the girls were allowed to wear pants. So my daughter, who was in 7th grade at the time, went to her new principal and asked about wearing pants. He said he thought that it would be ok (he was new too)...voila, pants became part of the dresscode for girls.

You have to work your way through the system, vs rebelling.

FromAtoZ
by AllieCat on Apr. 3, 2014 at 12:02 PM
11 moms liked this

Good for this kiddo.

Something similar happened last year at my daughter's school.  They were told no leggings or yoga pants and yes, because it distracts the boys.

The majority of the girls wore leggings to school on the same day.  They all made sure their tops covered their butts.  

This year, leggings and yoga pants are indeed allowed, as long as the top comes over the butt.

I don't like the ones that are sheer or are too tight.  It is inappropriate and has nothing to do with boys.

But my goodness, these girls can't be held responsible for the boys and not given any indication that those leggings or yoga pants are more distracting than calling the girls out and embarrassing them.

This young girl, and it seems others, have a good point and while all I have is what is printed here, I say good for them.

They aren't asking to wear strapless tops to school, low cut or short shorts.  All of those things are indeed inappropriate and again, have nothing to do with the boys.  Or they should not any way.

Any boy worth a damn would realize he is being insulted as well.

furbabymum
by on Apr. 3, 2014 at 12:02 PM
6 moms liked this

 Well I'll start by admitting that my kids are going to go to a Catholic private school with uniforms. Then I'll say the whole thing is bullshit and I'd support my daughter in protesting it. It's one thing to say leggings are bad because they restrict blood flow (I just made that up, I've no idea) and another to say they're bad because boys are seeing them and getting turned on.

SunshneDaydream
by Silver Member on Apr. 3, 2014 at 12:03 PM
4 moms liked this

I think this ban is ridiculous.  I had no idea leggins were considered inappropriate until I saw some post on CM about it a few weeks ago.  My 9-yr old wears them almost every day and I have never thought anything of it.  And I am certainly not one to be super liberal about what girls wear!  If a skirt or shorts are too short, they may not be worn. I do not allow crop-tops or pants/shorts with words across the butt. But leggins?  Geez, they're just freaking comfy! Why are we oversexualizing this?

KimmyShaw
by Member on Apr. 3, 2014 at 12:04 PM
1 mom liked this

My DD would not be breaking the dress code.

Personally I like leggings with dresses or tunics and that's it.

FromAtoZ
by AllieCat on Apr. 3, 2014 at 12:08 PM
2 moms liked this


Quoting SunshneDaydream:

I think this ban is ridiculous.  I had no idea leggins were considered inappropriate until I saw some post on CM about it a few weeks ago.  My 9-yr old wears them almost every day and I have never thought anything of it.  And I am certainly not one to be super liberal about what girls wear!  If a skirt or shorts are too short, they may not be worn. I do not allow crop-tops or pants/shorts with words across the butt. But leggins?  Geez, they're just freaking comfy! Why are we oversexualizing this?

I agree.

Last night was orientation for the incoming Freshman at the high school.  

Once I got over the fact my last girl will be off to high school in the Fall, I noticed just how many grown women were wearing leggings.  Not one looked inappropriate and if any boy or man in that place got hot and bothered because of what she was wearing, that is on them.

I'm not one to agree to breaking dress code, most of what is there is there for a good reason and I've always been sure my girls are dressed appropriately.

But my goodness, leggings with a long top over them is by no means inappropriate and I can be one of the worst dress code enforcers out there.

SunshneDaydream
by Silver Member on Apr. 3, 2014 at 12:08 PM
2 moms liked this

Agreed.  I had the same issue with the dress code when I was in school.  No "spaghetti strap" tank tops...because SHOULDERS are distracting to boys.  Fucking SERIOUSLY???  Teenage boys are going to be distracted by teenage girls if they were wearing potato sacks and hoodies.  It's not the girls' fault and they shouldn't be that restricted in what they wear.  Certain things I agree with, shirts that show the midriff, skirts/shorts that are crazy short, but bare shoulders?  Really???

Quoting FromAtoZ:

Good for this kiddo.

Something similar happened last year at my daughter's school.  They were told no leggings or yoga pants and yes, because it distracts the boys.

The majority of the girls wore leggings to school on the same day.  They all made sure their tops covered their butts.  

This year, leggings and yoga pants are indeed allowed, as long as the top comes over the butt.

I don't like the ones that are sheer or are too tight.  It is inappropriate and has nothing to do with boys.

But my goodness, these girls can't be held responsible for the boys and not given any indication that those leggings or yoga pants are more distracting than calling the girls out and embarrassing them.

This young girl, and it seems others, have a good point and while all I have is what is printed here, I say good for them.

They aren't asking to wear strapless tops to school, low cut or short shorts.  All of those things are indeed inappropriate and again, have nothing to do with the boys.  Or they should not any way.

Any boy worth a damn would realize he is being insulted as well.


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