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Slate Interviews Haven ‘Leggings Activist’

Sophie Hasty, 13, explains the humiliation of being ‘dress-coded’ and why she and her classmates decided to start a campaign against the rule.

After Patch columnist Christine Wolf wrote a column about Haven Middle School’s nebulous dress code policy on leggings and yoga pants, the story got picked up all across the country.

Slate’s Amanda Hess has joined the discussion with a Q&A with “13-year-old leggings activist Sophie Hasty.”

In it, the poised teen explains why she feels the dress code is unfair, the embarrassment of being made to wear your bright blue gym shorts over your leggings and how the campaign to fight the policy got started.

“It’s a lot like saying that if guys do something to harass us, it’s our fault for that,” she says in the interview. “We’re the ones being punished for what guys do. My friends and I got mad about it, and we would talk about it often earlier in the year, but we didn’t think we could really do anything about it.”

You can read the full Q&A here.

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Jennifer Packman April 02, 2014 at 10:21 AM
I notice that the Slate interview has age-appropriate photos of girls wearing leggings. The photo that accompanies this Patch article portrays leggings paired with high heels. It seems unlikely that the girls who are fighting for the right to be comfortable are pairing their leggings with heels.
Dave W. April 02, 2014 at 11:25 AM
Nice catch, Jennifer, though MY take on that photo is that both the girls in the Patch photo have shirts hanging down in the old school 80's style, NOT in the 'modern' way the vast majority of girls wear them. Either way, your point is well made...who wears heels all day but complains that wearing stretch pants are needed to be comfortable? Also, I find it mildly amusing that suddenly the alternatives are so UNcomfortable. Jeans? Dresses or skirts? Some of them might not be, but if bought loose enough, mostly not. This is not the age of the corset and wool...I go back to still saying these girls are trying to wear these clothes with every intention of getting guys' attention, then complaining that they are getting the guys' attention when told they are too young to attract guys' attention. We sexualize females from far too young (why does a LITTLE, little girl need a bikini?), then tell them and the boys too stop thinking about it. All of which is unnatural. The whole thing is just disingenuous.
Jennifer Packman April 02, 2014 at 11:45 AM
Dave, I agree that girls in our society are encouraged to see themselves as sexual objects- not really appropriate at any age, and even more terrible at a young age. But I have to wonder how many junior-high-aged girls you know well- do you really know girls like this? I spend a lot of time with dozens of girls this age and many of them still play with their Barbies (although I know none who would admit to it), think boys are boring and stupid, and are wearing leggings so they can run around, climb trees, and do cartwheels, all of which are impossible to do in dresses or skirts and not so easy in jeans. Leggings and yoga pants = freedom of movement. Let them get their exercise and MOVE while they're young. If we want to fight obesity, we need to encourage all our children to be active. I'm not saying there are not girls like those you describe, merely that they are the more visible minority, certainly not the majority. To tar all the girls with the same brush is unfair and must certainly be hurtful.
el debarge April 02, 2014 at 02:18 PM
A great time to learn that Life can be soooooo unfair lil' Sophie & ya can't always get what you want. Don't want to be embarrassed by wearing the gym shorts? Don't break the rule as you admit you do from time to time. I'd like to go to work in my pajamas but believe it or not, I'd be sent home and told not to return.


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