“I’m just a Catholic mother of four sons with a problem that only girls can solve: Leggings.”
In an open letter to The Observer, Catholic mum Maryann White slams leggings for being “so naked, so form-fitting, so exposing”. She urges young ladies to abandon the comfortable garment in favour of jeans so that concerned mothers won’t have “to find scarves to tie over the eyes of their sons to protect them from [girls like] you.”
In her letter to the student-run newspaper at the University of Notre-Dame Indiana, she recounts an incident in which she and her sons were at Catholic Mass and seated behind a group of young women dressed in “very snug-fitting leggings… and short-waisted tops” – saying that the leggings looked as though they had been painted on.
“They didn’t stare, and they didn’t comment afterwards. But you couldn’t help but see those blackly naked rear ends. I didn’t want to see them — but they were unavoidable.”
“My sons know better than to ogle a woman’s body — certainly when I’m around (and hopefully, also when I’m not). They didn’t stare, and they didn’t comment afterwards. But you couldn’t help but see those blackly naked rear ends. I didn’t want to see them — but they were unavoidable.”
She draws laughable parallels between leggings and the iconic “slave girl outfit” that Princess Leia is forced to wear in the sci-fi classic Star Wars, saying that the outfit was a way for Jabba the Hutt to “steal her personhood”. Ms White blames the fashion industry for promoting a product that “has caused women to voluntarily expose their nether regions,” and goes on to say that she is ashamed of the young women who choose to wear them.
Responses to the letter, which you can find here, were varied. Some supported the troubled mother, saying that young men are naturally drawn first to a woman’s body. They suggest that these poor young boys can hardly be expected to think with their heads in these cases and that young ladies should cover up.
Others were less enthused by the conservative views touted in what was a declaration of war not only on leggings, but more significantly on a girl’s right to wear whatever she wants.
Students responded with ‘The Legging Protest’ – a day dedicated to wearing and celebrating leggings and the freedom to wear them without a lecture from concerned Catholic mothers.
Just days later, students responded with ‘The Legging Protest’ – a day dedicated to wearing and celebrating leggings and the freedom to wear them without a lecture from concerned Catholic mothers. The event page on Facebook includes a response to Maryann’s letter. They say:
“Leggings are not slave girl outfits and women do not wear them so they can be catcalled or stared at. And no one is forcing us to wear them, but we have the right to wear them, the right to choose what we put on our bodies… The belief that viewing a woman’s bottom is inescapable is the reason that men in our society believe that they have the power and the right to mistreat women.”