Chicago School Needs To Stop Implying That Girls In Leggings Distract Boys

shutterstock_155772674__1395245829_142.196.167.223A Chicago school doesn’t have any rules against wearing leggings but girls keep getting called out for doing just that. Some parents feel certain students are getting unnecessarily picked on, and it’s tantamount to body-shaming. I agree.

The Haven Middle School dress code only bans leggings when worn under short shorts or short skirts. Basically, short shorts and skirts are not allowed, including when they are worn with leggings underneath. The dress code does mention “school administrators may restrict the wearing of clothes or adornments that may be distracting to the educational process and environment,” and this is what some adults have a problem with. One teacher from an adjoining district thinks the focus is in the wrong place, believing teachers should worry less about how girls dress and more about how boys act and respond in their presence. From The Chicago Tribune:

 “It brings up the issue, why is this a policy at all?

There are appropriate ways to behave and act, including in school, and it’s not about telling the girls what not to wear because the boys will get too excited,” said Kevin Bond, a high school teacher in another district. “That’s an easy way out.”

Agreed. Why are we teaching girls and boys from a young age that the clothes you wear are responsible for the ways people react to you? We should be teaching young girls to be comfortable with their changing bodies – not ashamed to wear clothes that aren’t inappropriate. Something tells me that a rail-thin girl in leggings would not get the same reaction as one with big hips or a big butt. Is that fair? And is it okay to basically send the message that girls need to cover themselves, not that boys need to learn to act with respect?

Maybe the school could get around all of this by telling students they need to wear longer shirts with leggings? It just all seems so arbitrary right now. A spokesman for the school district said, “We certainly don’t want any students feeling they are being picked on or called out.” So make the rules clear, and stop doing just that.

(photo: Sam72/ Shutterstock)

You can reach this post's author, Maria Guido, on twitter.
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    • Sexy Robotic Arms Dealer

      ppfftt…

      Target yogapants > leggings

    • shorty_RN

      I went to a private school, and we weren’t allowed to wear tank tops because “we don’t want to cause the boys to stumble.” I mean, I know my shoulders are just incredibly sexy, but I always thought that maybe it should be the boys job to keep themselves from stumbling into sin, not mine…

      • pixie

        In my public school we weren’t allowed to wear tank-tops where the straps were less than 2-3 fingers wide. We weren’t given any particular reason, but the boys also weren’t allowed to wear “wife-beaters” and I think they had to wear t-shirts under their basketball jerseys if they wore them.

      • JLH1986

        That’s how it was a my school. In fact we couldn’t wear tank tops at all. Every shirt had to have sleeves. I think because boys would wear those Nike Cut offs and you could see everything THEY had. So a shirt had to have sleeves, cap sleeves, t-shirt whatever.

      • Larkin

        Same here! No spaghetti-strap tank tops allowed at my (public) high school, either.

      • Alicia Kiner

        We were allowed to wear them only over tanks that had straps at least two-fingers wide. And no bare midriffs! Course I was in 8th grade when Britney Spears hit the scene in her Baby One More time video, so they had to stop that before it started. No just sports bras in co-ed gym! none of that!

      • Jill

        As long as it is across the board I’m fine with it. Because I certainly liked seeing the guys with the t-shirts cut all the way down the sides in high school. So if leggings aren’t ok- no boys can wear sweat pants where you can see their junk clear as day.

    • pixie

      That’s…dumb, to say the least.
      If the school had a policy that said leggings cannot be worn as a replacement for pants, I could understand (i.e. with a regular-length shirt on top). But to call out certain girls because they’re distracting the guys when there’s nothing in the code about it? Come on. Maybe they should change their code to say that leggings must be worn with tops that cover their butts? (I don’t know how it would be worded, perhaps “must be x inches below the hips, or something?)

      But yeah, middle school should be the age where kids are most bashed in the head with the idea that we are all responsible for our own actions, that it is not the girls’ responsibility to “not distract the boys with their clothing choices” and that everybody’s body goes through changes and there’s nothing to be ashamed of, no matter what size or shape you are. Not shamed and told they shouldn’t wear certain things to “not distract the boys”.

      • Sexy Robotic Arms Dealer

        Oh my god Pixie, look at her butt!

      • No Way Jose

        Might as well have picked out all the developed girls and been like “You, you, you cover your tits because they’re gigantic” and “You, you, you, and you cover your bodacious booties because they look amazing”

    • Fireinthefudgehole

      What’s funny is when a school’s dress code excuse is something about “preparing them for the professional world”. Because no girl would ever be hired while wearing a tank top, but a dude in shitty “yolo” or “go make me a sandwich” shirt, totally will.

      • Rachel Sea

        And what if I have my heart set on my daughter becoming a finish carpenter? Teach about time and place, sure, but stop pretending kids all need to learn how to navigate white collar office dress codes.

      • Katherine Handcock

        I adore this comment! Totally right…not everyone will be dressing for office environments in their future careers.

      • pixie

        I’m planning on not working in an office mostly because I’m far to lazy to dress that nicely every day. :P

      • K.

        I assume the cheerleaders will now go Amish, right?

      • JJ

        Well of course silly it totally okay for a man to wear a shirt referencing roofies and date rape because its “humour” shirt. There is nothing funnier then a college frat boy wearing derogatory, sexists t shirts. But women need to be prepared for the world so no bare shoulders, lower necklines, no showing leg or outlines of butt or curves. We don’t want the working world to thing that women are actually women. Thinking of them as men in smaller bodies with curves.

      • Jill

        We tend to hire a lot of young kids here (and occasionally older folks) and we have NEVER had an issue with the way any of the women dressed. Almost every guy we’ve hired has had to be talked to at some point about their attire. They either are too casual, too wrinkly, wearing not professional enough clothes (cargos), or they’re wearing just plain weird/ugly shit ex:boat shoes and a silk tee.

    • Alicia Kiner

      If my son sees a kid wearing a shirt with the Avengers on it, he would be distracted. Are they going to ban those as well?! “Distraction” isn’t the word they’re looking for here, it’s arousal, let’s face it. And teenage boys are going to be aroused by girls wearing burlap sacks. The way girls move, the way girls smell, the way the smile, just being girls is enough to turn boys on at that age. It just is, and girls shouldn’t be responsible for changing everything about themselves because of a biological response boys have very little control over. Boys have to learn how to control how they behave WHEN those responses happen. And it’s up to the adults in the lives of boys to teach them.

      I honestly applaud these girls for wearing leggings under short skirts and shorts. I think that’s awesome. I don’t see why that’s against any dress code.

      • JLH1986

        A girl at school had Lilith Fair Tour shirt on the bank there was you know the nakey litlith. To wear the shirt she had to have something cover her. That was a bigger distraction than seeing poorly drawn boobs and a V (her legs were crossed, so that was it just a V)

      • Alicia Kiner

        Yeah we weren’t allowed to wear the Brass Balls or Big Pecker (it was a woodpecker)shirts from the Boardwalk restaurant chains at our school. Their solution… turn them inside out. So instead of just seeing the shirts, we now were straining to read them, or just asking about them, instead of just reading them. Hooters T-shirts were later banned, because of the connection between the shirts and scantily clad women, not because of anything bad on the shirts themselves. I think administrators see these dress codes as a way to enforce their own morality onto other people. The funny thing is, I don’t remember what was on most of those shirts, just that we weren’t allowed to wear them.

      • gothicgaelicgirl

        School is great for admins to squash their own morals onto kids.
        Free thinking?!
        NO!

      • gothicgaelicgirl

        I was made to remove a shirt on a Civvie day (you donate €2 to a cause and you can wear your own clothes for the day, not the uniform)
        The shirt just had the picture of Darwinian Evolution on it and said- There is proof.

        I nearly got suspended for it because ONE OF THE PRIESTS who didn’t even teach my class, said it was heresy and blasphemous.
        Keeping in mind I wore this with black trousers, a fishnet top underneath and black lipstick, and the SHIRT is what offended him?!

        I didn’t go out of my way to piss people off, but our teachers made it clear as long as it is not profane or triggering (eg my Jesus is a C**t band shirt) you can wear WHATEVER YOU LIKE.

        This priest had it out for me the second he found out I was Atheist anyway lol

      • Alicia Kiner

        I mean really, as long as your naughty bits are covered, and you don’t have more naughty bits or anything illegal displayed on your clothes, why do they care? I think all this is more distracting than the actual clothes.

      • gothicgaelicgirl

        Exactly!
        And I noticed the school had no problem with the pretty popular girls wearing push up corsets or popping their milkers out.

      • Guest

        This is true- when I was in high school they banned girls from wearing any tops that showed the shoulders off (halters basically). I was like wtf? You can’t keep it in your pants over some girl’s shoulders?

      • Guest

        I remember when I was young girls just wore skirts– no leggings or anything underneath. I personally might throw on some bike shorts underneath (I had no fashion sense in elementary school) because I was a tomboy. Nowadays all the girls I see have leggings on which I think is 1. Cute 2. Good for playing 3. Warm

    • echo7341

      Um… I don’t really get this… Are they saying you can wear leggings by themselves but got forbid you put short shorts or a miniskirt over top of it? Isn’t that a little backwards???

    • Zettai

      Looks like we’re teaching them early that girls “deserve what they get” for the way they dress… SMH

    • Zettai

      Looks like we’re teaching them early that girls “deserve what they get” for the way they dress… SMH

    • http://mother--bored.tumblr.com/ Aimee Ogden

      Good to see women are still responsible for monitoring and moderating the behavior of young men! Gosh, if the young men got in trouble for ogling or harassing leggings-wearers, they might start to think that young women are PEOPLE and not just objects and we wouldn’t want to upset the Social Order Apple Cart!

      • gothicgaelicgirl

        Social Order Apple Cart.
        I need this on a shirt lol

    • Rachel Sea

      If they want kids to learn decorum then they should be encouraging girls to wear whatever they like, and then teaching both genders not to allow themselves to be visibly distracted by others’ actions. If more boys learned not to stare and comment on girls’ tits when they were 12, the world would be a nicer place.

      • Guest

        This exactly! With how many body issues start in middle school already from inappropriate comments (from boys, girls, OR adults) I think girls should be able to dress however they feel comfortable. I had a hard enough time finding something that fit and I felt comfortable in that wasn’t spilling boobs out (to avoid stares) without my school telling me what pants I could wear too. It is an important lesson for everyone to learn that you need to not be distracted by other people’s appearances be it clothing, size, visible health condition, or whatever. It will serve people well in adulthood.

    • tubesfilledwithcats

      So if the policy is to prevent kids from being picked on, are they going to prevent students from bringing their D&D books to school so nobody makes fun of them for being “nerds” too?

    • K.

      I don’t mind a “no leggings” ban (leggings worn as pants), as they’re bound to be distracting on BOTH genders.

    • JLH1986

      I’m sure I’m dating myself but in late elementary and early middle school stirrup pants were the thing. They were rather form fitting. I’m positive some of my shirts/skirts didn’t cover my ass. I never got sent home, nor did any of the 40 other girls I knew. So clearly this is a new thing because I can remember worrying about VPL suddenly in 6th grade because I just noticed you could see my undies.

      • Lee

        Stirrups! My great, great Aunts used to get in serious discussions/fights about whether stirrups or leggings were superior.

      • JLH1986

        I’m throwing my hat in with the great great aunt who preferred leggings. Stirrups…not so much.

      • Williwaw

        I always thought of stirrup pants, leggings, or “harem pants” (I don’t know if anyone still knows what those are, but we wore them in the 80s) were pants. We wore them with shirts that might or might not cover our butts. What’s the big deal? Lots of athletes wear leggings to train in. And it doesn’t sound like shorts are banned, even though they technically reveal more skin than leggings do. And how does the dress code differentiate jeggings and leggings?

        How about a common sense dress code, i.e. no shirts with violent/naked/racist/homophobic images or text, and all clothes have to be something you wouldn’t get charged with indecent exposure for wearing?

      • SunnyD847

        Older ladies at my gym wear leggings with shirts TUCKED IN to them. I think it looks horrendous, but no one tells them they are “distracting.”

    • Lauren

      Since when did dressing appropriately for school become a bad thing? I clicked on the link and read the dress code and it seems pretty reasonable to me. I don’t really see where it is singling out girls or blaming them for distracting the boys.

      • SunnyD847

        The principal apparently had a “dress code” meeting with girls and told them to stop wearing leggings and yoga pants.

      • gothicgaelicgirl

        if that’s the case they should have a meeting with the boys and tell them to pull their damn pants up, not everyone wants to see their pubic line. *pet peeve of mine*

    • Kendra

      I’m confused. I’m not seeing anything in their dress code that looks different from the one that I grew up with. I don’t personally think expecting children to be properly covered is bad thing.

    • JJ

      Why don’t we just go all the way and make girls wear burkha’s and long dresses. God forbid we might want anyone to know girls have bodies. If it that hard for the boys to handle shoulders being visible and fitted yoga pants then why don’t we tell them the boys wear super huge pants so there hard ons can be hidden from sight. Oh wait I forgot men have no control over themselves according to society its all women’s fault for daring to have bodies and wanting to feel good about what they wear. How dare women be comfortable in yoga pants or tank tops, whores you deserve what you get! We are hurting the men with temptation and make their penis’s get excited, bad ladies bad. Now go dress up like a sheet ghost on Halloween I don’t want to know you have a vagina, boobs or butt okay?

      • gothicgaelicgirl

        and of course girl’s are totally to blame for all male sexual urges!
        DAMN YOU WOMEN!
        STOP BEING WOMEN!

    • SunnyD847

      I live near this school (which is actually in Evanston, not Chicago) and have daughters in anothe middlemschool in town. The way it was reported here was that leggings were banned for being “too distracting” to the boys. They are also not allowed to wear yoga pants anymore. I personally don’t like leggings worn as pants, BUT girls should not be told that they are responsible for the boy’s behavior. Also, the comments on the article in the Evanston Patch were so disheartening (“These girls need to stop dressing like sluts!”) We’re talking about MIDDLE SCHOOLERS! They are CHILDREN!

      • gothicgaelicgirl

        I agree.
        I personally hate the plain legging look (I have done it myself, but only with a LONG workman’s shirt that WELL covers my large bottom!)
        I especially hate it on kids, and to be honest it’s ridiculous to blame the girl’s dress for how boys react.
        Because it’s one small step from “it’s your fault he’s distracted” to “well you were wearing tight pants so no wonder you were raped”

        Think about it, it really isn’t that much of a stretch…

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