This Interview with a Teen 'Leggings Activist' Is Awesome


The fight for the right to wear leggings to class continues apace at Haven Middle School in Evanston, Illinois. Recently, female students wore leggings in mass to protest a new school dress code that bans the tight pants because they’re supposedly too distracting for boys and now teen “leggings activist” and spokeswoman for the movement Sophie Hasty (13-years-old) has given a pretty awesome interview to Slate‘s Amanda Hess.

As Hasty has pointed out in the past, the Haven Middle School dress code has a particularly sexist bent and — quite irresponsibly — implies that the female students are somehow responsible for their male counterparts’ behavior. As she told Slate, “Not being able to wear leggings because it’s ‘too distracting for boys’ is giving us the impression we should be guilty for what guys do.”


But Hasty has more feisty things to say and they’re all delightful, mostly because they’ve so clearly have come unfiltered from the mouth of a teenager.

On her pro-leggings campaign:

First, my friends and I just talked about everyone wearing leggings on a day of school—everyone in the [seventh] grade wearing leggings—but we didn’t know if it was actually going to work. Then, we saw people a grade above us starting to post all of these Instagram things and Facebook things about starting a campaign, so we joined on, and other people in the school got on board. All of a sudden there were posters and a petition sent around.

On the shorts they’re expected to wear over their leggings when cited for violating the school’s dress code:

Slate: What are the shorts?
Hasty: Our gym shorts. We have to put them over our leggings.
Slate: That seems embarrassing.
Hasty: It is. It’s humiliating to walk around the hallways wearing bright blue shorts. Boys yell “dress code!” when they see you. They act more inappropriate when you’re walking around in blue shorts when you’ve gotten dress-coded than when you’re just wearing leggings. I asked a teacher to tell us about an incident where a girl was wearing leggings and a guy was getting distracted. There hasn’t been one.

(You can read the full interview here.)

Keep fighting the good fight, Sophie! If it’s any encouragement, my friends and I fought a similar battle over spaghetti strapped tank tops at Georgia O’Keeffe Middle School circa 1999 and emerged victorious. Remember: When middle class, suburban kids stand for nothing, we fall for everything. #leggingsstrong

Image via Shutterstock.

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