Click on top title to open and scroll Recently middle schools and high schools have taken to banning yoga pants and leggings. One example is a school system in Illinois which is trying to outlaw the close-fitting legwear.The policies and the reasons are varied. In some schools leggings must be worn with a shirt that “reaches nearly to the knee and covers the butt.” In other schools the pants are banned outright for being “too distracting to the boys.” What is most disturbing are reports that say that “curvy and bigger students” are singled out when they wear tight pants like their peers as being too “provocative or disturbing when they do so.”I don’t understand the problem. It seems prurient. Yoga pants and leggings have been part of mainstream casual wear for the past 20 years. You can thank Lululemon for that cultural fashion shift. It is all part of the casual-comfortable North American lifestyle. It seems oddly old-fashioned for public schools to object to young women wearing the same outfits that many grown women wear to run errands and socialize.
The idea that yoga pants and leggings are too distracting to young men with cellphones and laptops, as well as host of Internet options for more titillating viewing, is ludicrous. It also seems very wrong to make young women responsible for how and whether their classmates are able to concentrate.To single out young women for censure because they are more developed or heavier than their peers is socially and psychologically damaging. Calling out women in middle school because of their curves or weight is more likely to cause eating disorders or other behavior problems related to shame. Young women of middle school age need to be taught how to use fashion to express themselves, accomplish their goals, and for their own self-esteem and pleasure. It is certainly a more complicated task than simply banning a garment or two that some might find provocative. Young women should never be shamed by their educators for being curvy or larger. Nor should they be told they are responsible for “not distracting boys.” (R- A LuLu Lemon shop. Many women consider their pants a wardrobe basic.)