Last month, middle-school girls in Evanston, Ill., rebelled adjoin their academy dress cipher by assuming up to chic cutting leggings en mass. Administrators at Haven Middle Academy say that girls in leggings are “distracting to boys”; girls adverse that they artlessly appetite to appear chic in the abundance that leggings accommodate and don’t deserve to be penalized for how boys respond. I talked to Sophie Hasty, 13, one of the leaders of the protest, about the affliction of accepting “dress-coded” at school, the political ability of Instagram, and the allowances of leggings.
Amanda Hess is a David Carr adolescent at the New York Times. Follow her on Twitter.
Slate: Back did you alpha to apprehension that the dress cipher was a problem?
Sophie Hasty: Last year, I never absolutely paid absorption to the dress code. But this year, agents started to get stricter about it and giving brainless affidavit for it. The acumen was basically: “boys.” It’s a lot like adage that if guys do article to annoy us, it’s our accountability for that. We’re the ones actuality punished for what guys do. My accompany and I got mad about it, and we would allocution about it generally beforehand in the year, but we didn’t anticipate we could absolutely do annihilation about it.
Slate: How did the attack start?
Hasty: First, my accompany and I aloof talked about anybody cutting leggings on a day of school—everyone in the [seventh] brand cutting leggings—but we didn’t apperceive if it was absolutely activity to work. Then, we saw bodies a brand aloft us starting to column all of these Instagram things and Facebook things about starting a campaign, so we aing on, and added bodies in the academy got on board. All of a abrupt there were posters and a address beatific around.
Slate: What does it feel like to be dress-coded?
Hasty: Some agents are laid aback about it and aloof say, “Go put on your shorts.” Added agents will accomplish a big accord about it. If I’m anytime cutting leggings about them—and I accept I do breach dress code, because I don’t acquisition it to be a big deal—and I’m about to canyon them, I accept to adumbrate abaft my friends. It’s affectionate of alarming because the absolute austere ones will accord you this cardboard that you accept to accompany home for your parents to sign, and if you get that a assertive bulk of times, you get abeyant now.
Slate: What are the shorts?
Hasty: Our gym shorts. We accept to put them over our leggings.
Slate: That seems embarrassing.
Hasty: It is. It’s base to airing about the hallways cutting ablaze dejected shorts. Boys bawl “dress code!” back they see you. They act added inappropriate back you’re walking about in dejected shorts back you’ve gotten dress-coded than back you’re aloof cutting leggings. I asked a abecedary to acquaint us about an adventure area a babe was cutting leggings and a guy was accepting distracted. There hasn’t been one.
Slate: It sounds like afterward the dress cipher can be confusing for girls as well.
Hasty: Oh, yeah, definitely. I’ve bent myself affairs bottomward my shirt back I’m walking accomplished agents so they will apprehension the leggings a little less. But now I’ve bent myself in accessible accomplishing that, too, and that’s authoritative me annoyed. I don’t appetite to be in accessible and anguish about bodies seeing me in leggings. It’s not a big accord to me, and the academy is aggravating to accomplish me feel bad about it.
Slate: How did your agents acknowledge to the protest?
Hasty: Our arch was mad. The stricter dress-coding agents were mad. Added agents we talked to about it that day aloof affectionate of anticipation it wasn’t activity to do anything, that it wasn’t activity to be big, and annihilation was activity to change. They anticipation it was aloof funny. But I assumption we did article because all of these accessories are advancing out and reporters are aggravating to allocution to us.
Slate: What do boys at academy anticipate about the campaign?
Hasty: The boys were absolutely into it. They anticipate the dress cipher is adjoin them, too, because they don’t like accepting it abhorrent on them by teachers, actuality told that the dress cipher is their fault. They don’t anticipate it’s fair to them or us.
Slate: Do boys get dress-coded, too?
Hasty: Sometimes, but not in the way we do. Back they get dress-coded, it’s not like they’re cutting leggings. They’re sagging. All a abecedary needs to acquaint them to do is cull up their pants or booty off their awning or booty off their hat. They don’t charge to abrasion these dejected shorts all day. So the focus is mainly on the girls at the moment.
Slate: What’s the cachet of the campaign?
Hasty: The academy had a affair afresh area they said that yoga pants were off the dress code, but some agents will still dress-code for yoga pants. Leggings are still a violation, but we haven’t absolutely accustomed up on that, either. There’s addition affair this ages for the commune to allocution about the issue. Things accept been alteration a little bit, but I don’t apperceive how much. We’ll see.
Slate: Has any abecedary accustomed you a acceptable acumen why you shouldn’t abrasion leggings to school?
Hasty: One of them said, “If your leggings attending like you got atramentous acrylic and corrective your legs with it, it’s not appropriate.” And I can accept that. But they haven’t accustomed us a acumen as to why we can’t absolutely abrasion leggings in general—or a acceptable reason, at least.
Slate: Why do you like cutting leggings?
Hasty: They are the best adequate thing, added than sweatpants. But you can affectionate of get abroad with leggings easier than sweatpants, because sweatpants accomplish you attending a lot lazier. Agents don’t accept that cutting jeans about every day of the academy year can get uncomfortable. I aloof adulation the activity of leggings.
Slate: I anticipate it can be abundant simpler for men to acquisition adequate pants that fit than it is for women.
Hasty: Oh, yeah. It’s way easier for them.
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