California School Bans Leggings Because They Were Distracting To Boys

“When girls bend in leggings the threads spread and that’s really when it becomes a problem,” the school's principal said.

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What do Project Runway’s Tim Gunn, Gossip Girl‘s Blair Waldorf and Kenilworth Junior High in Petaluma, Calif. have in common? They all hate leggings.

Leggings — the skintight alternative to pants, loathed by fashionistas and school administrators alike — are the subject of a growing number of school bans. Schools in Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Nova Scotia, Canada have all prohibited their students from wearing form-fitting clothing.

Kenilworth is the latest school to join the ban, reports ABC News. The school amended its dress code to ban leggings in the classroom, saying that it causes distraction amongst the school’s boys. The school held an assembly for their female students where administrators said that no tight pants – yoga pants, leggings and tight jeans would be allowed. That has since been amended 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,” Emily Dunnagan, principal of Kenilworth Junior High, told ABC.  “When girls bend in leggings the threads spread and that’s really when it becomes a problem.”

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While students at the school were upset about the new restrictions, many parents were concerned about the underlying message of the ban, as it puts the burden of preventing the “distraction” of young men on the shoulders of young women. “It is not our girls’ fault that these boys have quote ‘raging hormones’ they can’t control,” said Lisa Simond, a parent, to local news station KTVU. “Boys need to be taught to respect women no matter what they’re wearing, and that’s a big deal,” Jerelyn Kruljac, another local parent, told the broadcaster.

“The concern is we don’t want undergarments showing,” Dunnagan told Patch. “Students need to wear clothing that’s appropriate for the school environment.”

Schools are not the first to notice the problematic sheerness of leggings. Trendy athletic wear manufacturer Lululemon Athletica was forced to pull some of their pricey yoga leggings off of store shelves after discovering that a production glitch made the material almost see-through when used for its intended purpose.

MORE: Do ‘Zero Tolerance’ School Discipline Policies Go Too Far?
MORE: Some British Schools Are Banning Skirts

67 comments
Lovetobeloud
Lovetobeloud

So sick of everyone blaming everything on everyone else my wife and two daughterrs both wear legging alot boys are gonna look regardless someone just started this as a copout and now its out of control just like everything else in this country

ldtorres
ldtorres

Funny when women are being nasty during that time of the month we have to put up with it because it's their hormones and "it's not their fault". I'm sorry but boys can't shut off their sex drive any more than girls can control their periods. I'm not saying that to justify rape, but show some consideration. Or maybe we should just start banning women from the public when they're "PMSing" and behaving like bitches.

AVoiceOfReason
AVoiceOfReason

“It is not our girls’ fault that these boys have quote ‘raging hormones’ they can’t control"

It's not the boy's fault either, by her own admission, but is quick to put all the burden on the boys.

What this does is put SOME, NOT ALL, of the responsibility onto the girls, because even with this, boys still got their hormones to temper.

But she won't admit to that, because in this society it is normal to put all the responsibility on the man, even if he is not a man, but a boy.

Why are these children even wearing such trashy outfits and provocative clothing in a junior high school in the first place?  To attract a mate?  School is a place of learning and casual social contact, not a grade-based prostitution ring.

The fault of this goes to the parents of the students and the faculty of the school, for being lax on this matter.

JackWhite2
JackWhite2

@AVoiceOfReason Spot on. I doubt many men between the ages of 16 - 35 can control themselves around girls and women wearing leggings. There is a reason baboons behinds are bright red, and colorful. As apes we love the bottom, the butt, the behind, the booty. Men are drawn to it as a direct trigger for mating. So the girls and women between what, 10 - 40 that wear leggings, they all have different reasons and understanding of the context. I see so many people let young girls wear leggings and it is really bizarre. Since as the adult they should understand that men do have hormones that they cannot consciously control. Also it is absurd to deny that rapists openly admit to targeting women with easy access to their privates. NO it is never the woman's fault, but understand what you wear does make you a target, whether you want to admit it or not.

willied663
willied663

It's not about the reaction of boys, it's about wearing inappropriate attire to school. Some choose to be up in arms about male reaction, when it should be the self-esteem of the young lady, and the careless parents that is questioned. Guys will gawk at a woman wearing anything, because we like women. Not every girl has the same motivation for wearing next to nothing in public, many women modestly (wisely) cover their backsides when wearing them. Young girls like to be cute, so it's expected that they would like leggings. Parents, and educators are supposed to show them the right way.

DoriePierce
DoriePierce

You dress appropriate know matter what you do. Employers do not want to see leggings on their employees. Ban the darn things a focus on the important...education;


olasson
olasson

Wear the girls in burkhas and boys never get used to the idea that girls are sexual beings too. The younger boys learn to handle the distractions caused by the female the better for them.

straydog
straydog

My first reaction to this article was shock. How dare they force girls to change their manner of dress because boys (myself included) can't help but be distracted. It sends the wrong message by forcing the 'victim' to change their clothing rather than address the behavior.

But then I realized what they mean when they say 'leggings'. Here I was thinking of the leg warmers that are so popular in the rave scene, but now I see what the actual garment is.

And now my only question at this point is...what kind of parents let their daughter wear what is essentially pantyhose as pants? No wonder the boys are distracted----because wearing underwear as outerwear IS distracting to those around you. Just because you CAN doesn't mean you SHOULD. If the purpose of wearing form-fitting, sheer leggings as pants is done for something other than to attract attention (from the gender the wearer wants), then what IS the purpose of wearing them outside of their intended use? Because at this point they just seem to be worn as pants specifically for the attention--and that's why they should be disallowed from the school. 

Jennybean
Jennybean

These school administrators must have been distracted by *something* during their own educational years. All they had to do was tell *all* students that "School is a place of learning for students (and a place of employment for teachers) and we are all going to dress accordingly. In that spirit, there is to be no sagging, no leggings, no bare shoulders, no bare torsos, no bare feet and so forth for *either* gender". Why would they bring gender into it and hold a "girls only" assembly?? Stupid, asking for trouble, and sending a terrible message. The point should never be that this gender should not "distract" that gender, but that *everyone* should learn and practice how to dress for the occasion (which in this case is school, and not a ballet class or a skatepark). Simple as that.

Jennybean
Jennybean

These school administrators must have been distracted by *something* during their own educational years. All they had to do was tell *all* students that "School is a place of learning for students (and a place of employment for teachers) and we are all going to dress accordingly. In that spirit, there is to be no sagging, no leggings, no bare shoulders, no bare torsos, no bare feet and so forth for *either* gender". Why would they bring gender into it and hold a "girls only" assembly?? Stupid, asking for trouble, and sending a terrible message. The point should never be that this gender should not "distract" that gender, but that *everyone* should learn and practice how to dress for the occasion (which in this case is school, and not a ballet class or a skatepark). Simple as that.

Jennybean
Jennybean

This is a reasonable action, apparently undertaken for the *wrong* reason. All school officials had to say was "All students must wear appropriate clothing for a work and learning environment, which we define as...and then whatever the standards are (no sagging, no leggings, no short-shorts, no spaghetti straps, no shirtless guys, no bare-tummied girls, no bare feet) and so forth.

annetony
annetony

It's not our boy's faults they have raging hormones either.

How would you all feel if I sent my boy to school in man-tights so the "hormonally raging" girls can gape at his "unit."

Really, it's not like it's a good fashion choice for anyone.  At least they aren't forcing them all to wear uniforms.

CynthiaAvishegnath
CynthiaAvishegnath

“It is not our girls’ fault that these boys have ‘raging hormones’ they can’t control”

I would do all I can to protect my under-aged daughter than complain about Providence's or Evolution's fault of boys having raging hormones.

mixedsoup
mixedsoup

It's true that some leggings are see-through and even adults pair them with a top that does not even cover their bottoms. C'mon! I love my leggings but only when they are worn properly and in good taste. 

MarcDaneker
MarcDaneker

No one should mention that it distracts boys .. girls, distract, boys. It's simply a matter of you can't were overly-revealing clothes. I think too many schools have too strict rules but just like we don't let boys where pants that hang down below underwear we don't let girls where pants that you can see through or that form-fit so well that everything detail is exposed.

Savannah!!
Savannah!!

This is hypothetical, I'm not saying one culture is better than another (if anything I'm pointing out the similarities), but this is just something I thought of when reading this article and comments...

If the women are at fault because of their clothing, how come sexual harassment is still rampant in countries where burqas are mandated in public? I recently read an article stating that some people thought it would be a grand idea to make burqas on female infants and toddlers mandatory. So even when its a female INFANT, it's her fault that the men can't keep their eyes and hands to themselves? If people don't take a look at what they're doing, that's where we're heading. If men have the capacity and the sickening arrogance to do that in other countries, they have the capacity to do it here. This is just the beginning.

nwfarmer
nwfarmer

If an office banned leggings because they don't promote a professional environment, no one would bat an eyelash. From the actual quotes of the school officials (i.e. what they said in this article, not what has been ascribed to them), that seems to be all they're talking about--in an environment that is supposed to be for learning, people should dress appropriately. Boys and girls.

DavidLancaster
DavidLancaster

When will the world make Men and Boys responsible for their own self control and their own brains

wrathbrow
wrathbrow

“When girls bend in leggings the threads spread and that’s really when it becomes a problem.”

Then make that what is specified in the ban. Not all leggings. 

KarenKerr
KarenKerr

Hmm. Isn't this the same thinking that led to women having to wear Burqua's. Men cannot be trusted to control themselves if they caught a glimpse of ankle or wrist, so women must cover themselves up?  Why not just ban boys from ogling the girls in the leggings? Its a form of sexual harassment anyway.

EzeeMarkatuer
EzeeMarkatuer

@KarenKerr MORE bans... yeah that's the ticket!  They are getting FAR more then "a glimpse of ankle or wrist"... This is straight up @ss they are looking at!

Or would you suggest it's ok for kids to come to school nude - and just ban their curiosity?

annetony
annetony

@KarenKerr Why stop there.  Let's outfit all boys with horse-blinders, and beat them if they look at women.

How do you tell the difference between ogling and looking?  Kids shouldn't look at each other?  WTH?

Tell me you've never looked at another human with desire.  Should we throw you in jail for sexual harassment?

Of course we should teach our children to respect each other, without tolerating sexual aggression in themselves and others, but they need to know that sexuality and love are part of being human, and how to express that.

Leggings are not professional, and school should at the very least be preparing these kids to do something with their lives.

cocoaangel
cocoaangel

'm appalled and indignant by the blatant chauvinism expressed in these posts. The references to "she asking for it" and the "PMS" rape legitimizing misogynistic BS from the 1950's. Really?! Fact is America has an poor issue with the human body. You don't have this in Europe, neither, thank god, I live in the bay area.  My alma matter UC Berkeley, had a legendary "naked guy," Andrew Martinez, on our campus. Once we resolved the public health issue, we got over the stigmas of nakedness. He had a great body, very easy on the eyes, but did our GPA's plummet during his stay? No. Did we adjust to the "distraction". Yes. Get over yourselves people, have a healthier respect of human bodies. It is because of our sexual repression that this is an issue to begin with. Dressing conservatively becomes a slippery slope, My middle school had uniforms, what a joke, we looked like catholic lolitas at the end of the day. Further, you are punishing big breasted and callipygous girls and giving them a complex regardless if what they wear is form fitting. You will still have men ogle you, cat call etc.  Every woman has a story of a guy breaking his neck or nearly causing an accident to stare. It is entirely about self control, and it is WRONG to blame the victim, and this is not the message we should be teaching youth. We should be preparing kids for college, wear they will be encountering leggings, and nudists, not perpetuating the sexual repression and sexism.

RoccoJohnson
RoccoJohnson

One of the fundamental differences between men and women is that, generally speaking, women are more attracted to a man's personality and character traits. Certainly, women are attracted by appearance as well, but not generally in the same way a man is. For a woman, sexual attraction is not always based on looks alone. Men, on the other hand, are much more visually stimulated, in that they are initially drawn to a woman based on her appearance and sexiness. There's a reason far more men, than women, watch pornography—it comes down to these two essential differences. While this may be unpalatable to some women it is, nonetheless, the nature of men. 

When a man sees a woman dressed provocatively he assumes she's doing it for the attention of males, yet my wife tells me that women generally dress the way they do for the sake of other women—not from a sexual motive, but because of this competition women have with other women. Most men cannot make any sense out of this, incidentally, myself included. Admittedly many women do dress to get attention from men, but women who do not are often clueless to the effect form-fitting tops and bottoms have on the male population. I guarantee you that most men love this current trend of women wearing leggings because they leave little to the imagination, and they don't have to be transparent to do it. From a man's perspective a woman wearing leggings is pretty much the same as if she were naked.

jvincilione
jvincilione

I'm sorry, but let's be real here. Women use "that time of the month" as an excuse to be rude and snappy and guys just deal with it. I'm not saying they don't have a reason to be but could they get some self control?

I've always thought it was stupid for a woman to wear a low cut shirt, tight pants or short skirt, etc and then get mad a guys for checking them out. If you don't want them checking you out, don't dress that way. Why are they looking? Thats easy to answer, they can look and not touch and not get in trouble. If they didn't control their impulses, every guy that ever thought, "I would mind getting her in bed" (sorry for being crude) you'd have a sexual harassment charge or worse. Every guy would be in prison if they couldn't control themselves, whether they're 15 or 50.

rmccauley37
rmccauley37

I remember when i was a teen back in HS in the late 70's early 80's andyea the girls that had the skin tight pants did looks very tempting but i found that removing the skin tight pants was problamatic because depending on the tightness it could take a good 10 minutes to remove there pants and by the time she had them off mr happy was no longer happy

ArianaBauer
ArianaBauer

Rather than all of this BS, just implement a uniform so both boys and girls must adhere without issue. I am a self do aimed fashionista but went to schools with uniforms my entire k-12 and it was so much easier than dealing with this garbage.

ChemistryBtwnUs
ChemistryBtwnUs

This ban is spot on....leggings are not pants or alternatives for pants....unless you are 5 and they are 100% opaque. They are intended to be used like tights. Keep your butt covered with a tunic or dress when you wear them.

opus619
opus619

This is how women ended up in burqas.

MarissaTaylor
MarissaTaylor

I'm not saying it's okay for guys to look, but I understand that at times they can't control it, especially teen boys. I think that guys should respect girls. But I also think girls should respect guys by watching what they wear in front of them.

vonzimofancy
vonzimofancy

I understand the issue of needing to teach boys boundaries...but to be fair if guys were walking around in sheer pants I'd probably be staring at them too. I think no sheer pants for either gender seems an okay guideline for schools. 

SarahConfran
SarahConfran

As a straight female I am glad other girls are not going to be allowed to wear leggings. Its annoying to constantly see another person's underwear through their leggings. I don't agree with the reasoning however I do agree with the actions. 

altlogin
altlogin

Still? Really?  When does this stop?   In the early 1900s men were still prosecuted for going topless to the beach.  Women could not wear  a bathing suit, just a bathing 'dress.' Boys need to be taught boundaries (I am male).  I remember my  high school principal saying that if it was cold enough for girls to wear pants it was too cold for school.  They had to change to a dress or skirt before class started.  This was in the US northwest in 1964.  Also sounds like the burqa/chaldi laws  in some Muslim community and  the vestigial tail of the old "she dressed provocatively" sexual assault argument.  Come on, let's move on.  Women are humans, not objects. Teach both genders to deal with the truth, not shame it.

StephanieCafasso
StephanieCafasso

While I understand that often times leggings are sheer and expose more than they should, this type of ban punishes women and teaches young boys that it's okay to stare at women or girls in inappropriate ways. Basically, the ban is saying that women need to watch what they're wearing and it's their own fault if men look at them. We need to work on changing this stigma, clothes and clothes and whether a girl is wearing a mini skirt or an oversized sweatshirt, they shouldn't be punished for their fashion choices by being disallowed to wear what they want.

GaryDillon
GaryDillon

You can't teach a boy to not be affected by testosterone, just like you can't teach a girl not to be affected by PMS. And frankly, I am outraged at your insensitivity! You have no idea how it feels, physically and emotionally, to be a young boy surrounded by that which he desperately desires yet forbidden to follow his biologically urgent impulses. How would you like it if someone said "When are we going to teach grown women that their emotions are theirs and they need to keep their eyes dry and their words to themselves"?

roknsteve
roknsteve

So it's all the boys fault that girls go to school wearing skimpy skirts and see-thru chothes?

KateGallagher
KateGallagher

When are we going to teach little boys that their body is theirs and they need to keep their pants up, and their hands to themselves.  Stupid.