MTV News: Girls and Leggings

High school dress code policies have been making national headlines for a few years now, and the latest bewildering news item gets extra points for weirdness. Devil’s Lake High School in North Dakota has reportedly bannedleggings, jeggings, and tight jeans, citing—and I am not making this up—the 1990 Julia Roberts film Pretty Woman as supposed proof that tight pants are the devil’s playground.

This news is from last Fall, but it’s still relevant.

I do think there are people for whom leggings are not the best choice. But, I also agree that spending time and energy on punishing a young female student for wearing a certain piece of clothing, particularly a piece of clothing which does not actually reveal any flesh, rather than spending that time and energy on teaching her how to think critically, or write an essay, or solve an important problem is just a tiny piece of the massive iceberg that is poor education, patriarchy, and misogyny. 

Even if she had worn something that revealed some flesh, like a tank top, it is not worthy of distracting from the purpose of school to punish her for having a female body and dressing it the way she sees fit. 

It is a type of education; it teaches girls at a young age that others control every aspect of her life, down to her body and the clothing she wears. It teaches her that, in life, she has no autonomy, and no rights. 

And if you’re thinking that ever-frustrating phrase that distracts from the real issue, “But boys, too!”: no. Not, “But boys, too!” Boys can get away with pants that sag below their asses, t-shirts that proclaim offensive, misogynistic bullshit, and, of course, tank tops. Boys can also get away with skinny jeans, which are…wait for it…basically leggings!

I can rant and rave, but it won’t change anything. Just don’t let them get away with it, girls.