Banning leggings: Sexism exists in middle school

The natural physique of a woman is in no one’s control, including herself, yet one Illinois middle school is punishing young women for their natural curves and the way those might look in leggings. Haven Middle School in Evanston, Ill., recently took the stand that if a female student wears leggings, she must wear a shirt or skirt over that is at least the length of her finger tips.


It’s sexism at one of its highest points. Unfortunately, it means that despite progress being made towards equality, there are still institutions practicing sexism and objectifying women.



According to one article written by The Associated Press, the Illinois middle school had originally posted to its website stating leggings were banned, but later school officials stated they were not banning leggings. Although leggings are not banned in the middle school, they are certainly under heavy watch, as some young females have to wear gym shorts over their outfits as punishment if they break the dress code.

Haven Middle School isn’t the only school placing heavy restrictions on the clothing female students can wear. Some schools have altogether banned leggings.

Girls in middle school are already dealing with the onset of puberty and the recognition that their bodies are growing and changing. Dress codes being placed on leggings, a pant which is worn in comfort and is anything but inappropriate, are downright ridiculous and unnecessary.

Margaret C. Smiley, the president of the Feminist Society at NYU, told NYU Local that, “Everywhere we turn the female body is being objectified, fragmented, and consumed. It’s sickening to think it starts at such a young age with dress code policy, but maybe that’s the place to start in reframing the issue of sexualization.”

Rockport High School in Rockport, Mass., banned leggings in its dress code, sending more than 20 students home to change and writing some up with a warning for wearing leggings or yoga pants.

The fact that schools are banning yoga pants and leggings just seems silly itself, but what seems worse is the amount of attention schools are placing on it. I’m sure there are far more important issues than female students wearing leggings.

A parent of a student who attends Rockport High School explained, “I think it’s absolutely ridiculous. There’s no reason for this to have been blown out of proportion. This is crazy, these poor kids.”

Until we realize that women should be able to dress as they please, these offensive and oppressive actions on the part of schools will continue to happen week after week in middle schools everywhere.

Reach the columnist at or follow her on Twitter @brookesramos

Editor’s note: The opinions presented in this column are the author’s and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.

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