Instead of teaching students to respect each other, a misguided middle school in northern California is telling its girls to no longer wear pants that are "too tight" because it "distracts the boys". Yes, because deviant dames in body conscious clothing are yet another reason men aren't succeeding in this world, and boys are definitely the ones we need to look out for in this situation. Screw the impressionable young women who just want to dress fashionably, their needs are subordinate to the desires of men.
Last Thursday, the girls of Kenilworth Junior High School in Petaluma, CA — and only the girls — found out about the new dress code when they were instructed to skip last period (you know, a class where they learn things) and head to an assembly. At the gathering, they were told their yoga pants and leggings are distracting precious boys from their studies (kinda like how the meeting was distracting girls from their studies, but no matter), and instead of dealing with the issue in a reasonable manner, the school would now restrict wardrobe choices for its girl students.
After the meeting, parents received a voicemail from assistant principal Kathy Olmstead:
The guiding principle in all dress codes is that the manner in which students dress does not become a distraction in the learning environment, and we get that guidance from the California Education Code. I sincerely apologize that my remarks went farther than the intended message we wanted to deliver.
This policy is so misguided.
First, middle school boys are "distracted by" (read: will get a boner over) literally anything. Whether a girl is wearing several garbage bags over a sumo wrestler costume or skinny jeans, little dudes are still gonna pop wood. It has NOTHING to do with what the girls are wearing, and everything to do with biology.
Second, girls are being punished for the most ridiculous of reasons — that a boy might be distracted by her feminine form. Deal with it, people. It's called life — the only person you can control is yourself, and this is a great opportunity to teach that lesson to these students. There are times in life when we're all gonna be distracted, and if we want to succeed, you have to focus and get shit done no matter what obstacles you must surmount. Hey, I wish I could say I did poorly on my trig test Sophomore year because the kid next to me was wearing an ugly-ass visor and puka shell necklace, but that's not how it works.
And educators, wake the fuck up. If you're fearful of boys getting a little nutty around ladies in yoga pants, perhaps you should talk to the student body about how to behave like decent human beings in all situations.
At least many of the students and parent got it right.
"It is not our girls' fault that these boys have quote 'raging hormones' they can't control," said parent Lisa Simond. Another mom, Jerelyn Kruljac, wore skinny jeans last Friday in solidarity with her daughter and her friends. "Boys need to be taught to respect women no matter what they're wearing, and that's a big deal," she said.
Nobody is arguing that middle school girls should get to go to school naked — but when they can't wear half the clothes that are on sale at Old Navy, it just doesn't cut it. These girls don't need to be taught to cover up or risk the unwanted interest of men or ire of authority figures; the whole school needs to learn that a girl's body is her own — and as long as she's not breaking any laws, she can dress it however she damn well pleases.