Devil’s Lake on the Devil’s Apparel


Natalie Pashaie

Staff Writer

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Take a good look around our school, and you’ll see that leggings are everywhere. According to the Assistant Principal at Devil’s Lake High School in North Dakota, they are extremely inappropriate and distracting. Not only that, but they also make girls resemble prostitutes.

Is this true? That’s a matter of opinion. Is this appropriate? Not even close.

The High School recently used clips from the movie Pretty Woman (in which Julia Roberts plays a prostitute) to enforce its new dress code, which bans leggings, jeggings, and tight jeans. The dress code itself is not the issue, it’s the slut-shaming and implications that are. The female students were compared to actual prostitutes, which is inappropriate, unprofessional and downright unacceptable. This comparison labels young, impressionable females as sex workers. It contains the implication that what girls will amount to solely depends on their appearance rather than their character.

At Milken, students are allowed to wear leggings as long as their blouse extends beyond their backside. There is a clear reasoning involved in this rule, given that leggings are form fitting and hip hugging garments. School is an academic institution and the focus should be on schoolwork. That being said, leggings are comfortable and effortless and allow for women to invest their time in things other than their appearance.  So, what a female may deem as anything but distracting, a male may view as provocative and desirable. In that case, isn’t it the male’s responsibility to control his urges?

Candace Olson, whose son attends Devil’s Lake High School, spoke out about the issue saying, “A lot of the parents went on Facebook and we were discussing it. They were talking about how they think the boys should be able to control themselves and the girls should be able to wear the leggings and the jeggings.”

Inequality regarding appearance and gender is not only a school-wide issue, but also an extremely large issue in society. Although there should be boundaries as to what students may wear at school, there should also be boundaries regarding what reactions to such clothing are appropriate. Why must a woman who feels comfortable in certain clothing be restricted from wearing such apparel because of a man’s “desires?” Don’t we live in a country that supports freedom of expression and individuality?