Posted: Mar 26, 2014 3:30 PM
 
In Illinois, students are fighting back against a ban on leggings — a ban that administrators say was put into place because that type of clothing is too distracting for boys. Why, then, are girls responsible for the behavior of boys?
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Evanston, Illinois, is making headlines because a middle school there has established a ban on leggings and yoga pants because, according to some of the students, they are too distracting for the male students. Regulating school dress codes is nothing new, but requiring girls to dress so boys don't get distracted is ridiculous.

Too close to victim blaming

It's upsetting that society continues to deem it a female's responsibility to cater to the whims of its male citizens.

It's upsetting that society continues to deem it a female's responsibility to cater to the whims of its male citizens. You may have even personally been warned against wearing a particular outfit when you've gone out to avoid attracting undue attention to yourself — a short hop away from "asking for it" if you're sexually harassed or assaulted.

Requiring girls to change their behavior, or in this case, method of dress, because of how boys behave is backwards and dangerous. There is also concern that dress codes aren't applied in an equal manner — that is, if two girls are wearing similar outfits, the girl who is more developed might be the one who is asked to change. In this case, adults are spending too much time thinking about teens in a sexual manner, and that's disturbing on many levels.

What to teach teens

Responsibility for behavior is a two-way street. How can we expect boys, and eventually young men, to survive in the workplace — where they can easily be slapped with a sexual harassment lawsuit — if they haven't been responsible for their behavior when they were still in school? It also doesn't give boys enough credit, either. Who determines what boys can and cannot handle?

How can we expect boys, and eventually young men, to survive in the workplace — where they can easily be slapped with a sexual harassment lawsuit — if they haven't been responsible for their behavior when they were still in school?

Defining a dress code because of how it distracts one sex sends a message to both the male and female students. Girls need to watch what they wear because it's their fault if boys are distracted. That's not only pretty screwed up, but it puts mindsets into place that thrive and grow. You don't want your daughters to think that they're to blame if they're harassed, and you don't want your sons to think that it's OK to bother girls based on the way they dress.

Instead of putting the onus on females, work to teach all children to respect one another. Don't put up with boys disrupting the class, and don't put up with sexual comments being made toward the girls. Don't tell girls that it's what they should expect when they dress a certain way, and don't apply dress codes in an unequal fashion.

Is it really so hard?

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