To see, or not to see.

Leggings, or very thick tights, are being banned in a growing number of schools. Minnesota, Pennsylvania, and Nova Scotia, Canada have all forbidden students to wear the form-fitting pants.

Kenilworth Junior High School just amended its dress code to prohibit leggings in the classroom, citing the distraction caused to the school’s boys. In a school assembly for female students, administrators said that no tight pants, including yoga pants, leggings, and tight jeans would be allowed. They have since changed the code to ban only leggings, unless worn with shorts or paired with a skirt or dress. “Leggings have become popular among girls, and many are sheer,” said principal Emily Dunnagan to ABC. “When girls bend in leggings the threads spread and that’s really when it becomes a problem.”

This is okay by the school rules. (Melanie Helm photographed by Trevor Sullivan.)

This is okay by the school rules. (Melanie Helm photographed by Trevor Sullivan.)

And these are approved yoga pants.

And these are approved yoga pants.

These are not allowed.

These are not allowed.

Students weren’t the only ones upset by the new rule. Many parents were concerned about the message sent by the ban – young women are responsible to prevent the “distraction” of young men. “It is not our girls’ fault that these boys have quote ‘raging hormones’ they can’t control,” said parent Lisa Simond to news station KTVU. “Boys need to be taught to respect women no matter what they’re wearing, and that’s a big deal,” added parent Jerelyn Kruljac.

“The concern is we don’t want undergarments showing,” replied principal Dunnagan. “Students need to wear clothing that’s appropriate for the school environment.” However, if the leggings aren’t sheer, no undergarments are showing. Skirts, dresses, and shirts can be sheer, too. Yoga pants, which are approved, are sheerer than leggings. There are simply too many holes in this rule to enforce it fairly.

I confess I have mixed opinions on this, and I am a very opinionated lady. I am the mother of two daughters. Both turn male heads without trying. Both wear leggings with shirts over them and look cute in them. I don’t see a huge difference between leggings and tight pants, as long as the girl’s top covers her rear.

I’ve been a teacher for twenty-seven years, and dress code has always been a thorn in the flesh. I think it’s almost impossible to keep boys from having sexual thoughts about girls unless the girls are in burqas. Do we really want to go there? Shouldn’t we try to teach the boys to control their thoughts? And what about the dress codes for boys? Do they think that boys look and lust, but girls don’t?

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7 thoughts on “To see, or not to see.

  1. Susan Kaye

    Obviously burqas are not the answer. There are still executions for fornication and adultery in countries where they are mandatory.

  2. Robin Helm Post author

    Agreed, Susan. In my opinion, we began losing this in the late 60’s and early 70’s. My own high school went from girls having to wear dresses and skirts with stockings, to dress pants, to jeans in three successive years. The codes for boys were relaxed from neat haircuts and pants to anything goes. The discipline went with it. Kids were already drinking, but drugs hit at that point. It’s tough to put the genie back in the bottle.

  3. Gayle Mills

    Controlling boys’ thoughts is a noble goal, but totally unreachable. You put a girl who’s modestly dressed in front of a teenaged boy, and he will be able to treat her like the lady she’s portraying. You put a girl in skin-tight leggings or skinny-tight jeans or a mini-skirt that climbs up to her wa-hoo when she sits down or a blouse that’s cut so that her bosoms are all but on display — and you are being totally unfair to the boy. After all, why is she dressing like sex-on-a-stick except to attract the attention of the boys around her? I don’t care how old-fashioned or sexist that sounds. Biology is biology. Always has been. Always will be.

    I personally think that “tights” are totally out of place except in the privacy of your own home. If you wear them in public, expect people to treat you with just a little less respect. Do some girls look good in them? Yes, they do. And that’s the problem. If a well-built young man decided to come to school in dancers’ tights with his junk prominently on display, would we think that’s OK? I don’t think so. What’s the difference? Nothing. We had girls at school in tights so tight we could see the shape of their labia. No joke. Is a blouse enough to make that acceptable? Not unless it’s mid-thigh length.

    Education’s a job. Teenagers should treat it like a job. They should dress for success. Shirt and tie? No. But nice shirts and jeans that don’t hang down past their butts.

    The school where I’m teaching summer school requires uniforms. I have become a big fan of khaki pants and polo shirts. I wish Central High would require them next year. Then I could put the time that I now spend being the dress code czar on the things that really matter — educating students.

  4. Robin Helm Post author

    Now, Gayle. Tell us how you REALLY feel. lol

    I was not defending inappropriate dress. I was saying that the motivation presented for banning leggings was not a good one. The administrators would have been wiser to say that leggings and yoga pants were fine for workouts and weekends, but not for school. Boys are responsible for themselves, and girls cannot make them have pure thoughts, even if they dress in nuns’ habits.

    I agree that the only way to have a fair, enforceable dress code is to require uniforms.

  5. Susan Kaye

    I understand the Laura Hile–a Jr. High teach–has a presentation she gives at the beginning of each school year. She dresses in examples of appropriate and inappropriate (enough to get the jist I’m told) and shows the little darlings what will get you sent home.

    I’d like her to tape it once. We could all be rich after a stint on You Tube.

    In the 80s I wore leggings, but my shirts WERE practically down to my knees so they looked like tights. Guys have it hard enough. If girls put it all out there, their minds go racing along. If they dress modestly–as was the social norm in the 50s–their minds go racing along undressing the girl, and them proceed to the finish line. It’s a no-win for them. Biology initiates the launch sequence that most of them don’t know how to shut down.

  6. Susan Kaye

    And another thing, it’s nor fair–though necessary–to require girls to do all the heavy lifting on the clothing front when they see their mother dressing the same way, or even worse. I’m personally trying to work up the nerve to start laughing and pointing at some of these women when I see them out and about. Full frontal derision is about the only thing that cracks the shell of foolishness around some people.

  7. Robin Helm Post author

    When I worked in a credit union a few years ago, there was a grandmother who regularly came in to do her banking dressed in leggings and a skin tight tank top. She had kept in shape and looked good for her age, but it was obvious that she was well past forty. The female employees smirked at her behind her back because she was ridiculous. She did get male attention, but not the kind I want.

    I suppose girls that dress inappropriately grow up to be mothers and grandmothers who keep dressing inappropriately.


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