My Response to Legging Mom

Recently, a mom at Notre Dame felt so concerned about her sons’ distractions by women wearing leggings she wrote a letter to the school’s newspaper begging the young women at Notre Dame to stop wearing them. She wrote that “leggings are so naked, so form fitting, so exposing.” She pleaded with women who chose to wear them to “think of the mothers of sons the next time you go shopping and consider choosing jeans instead,” as if women only dress to appease the male gaze. News flash- we don’t. The act of wearing leggings isn’t meant as a ploy to direct male eyesight towards my ass. It’s because they’re comfy, easy to wear, and don’t take any planning. Unless this mother is willing to wash my jeans and dresses and shave my legs and drive me to class everyday so that I’m not late, I’ll stick with my leggings and vans routine.

What concerns me the most is the culture these types of “pleas” make. The idea that women dress solely for the benefit of men is toxic. It places unhealthy weight on the shoulders of young girls trying to determine their place in the world, as if the only thing they can offer to their male counterparts is a pretty view. We need to stop telling women what to wear as to ease the pressures of men to keep it in their pants and instead teach an overall need for consent and respect- regardless of the type of clothing one is wearing. My femininity is not defined by the clothing I wear or the makeup I put on in the morning. It decided by me and me alone.

In closing, I ask this mother to reconsider her asking of women to “think of the mothers of sons” the next time they put on leggings to instead teach her sons to respect a woman’s choice to wear what she wants and treat her with respect no matter what. A woman wearing leggings deserves the same amount of respect as a woman in a suit. What you wear shouldn’t define how others treat you.

I am not responsible for policing my clothing so that your sons feel as if they can respect me. They should respect me no matter what I wear. If they don’t, I’ll gladly remind them of the repercussions of forgoing respect and basic human decency. :)