Notre Dame Mom Writes Op-Ed Begging Girls To Stop Wearing Leggings

by Valerie Williams
Originally Published: 
Image via frytka/Getty Images/The Observer

“Catholic mom” wants to know why girls must wear leggings, tempting her precious sons

A mom wrote a letter to the editor at a student-run publication that serves several colleges including the University of Notre Dame. The pressing matter she felt deserved a literal news alert? LEGGINGS. Specifically, the fact that girls and women wearing them are a huge problem for a “Catholic mom” trying to raise four sons.

Buckle up, everyone. This might send your rage over the top.

Maryann White is the mom identified as the letter’s author and her opening plea is really quite something. “I’m not trying to insult anyone or infringe upon anyone’s rights,” White wrote. “I’m just a Catholic mother of four sons with a problem that only girls can solve: leggings.”

Holy. Smokes.

White says she held back her woman-shaming hot take for a while in the hopes that fashion trends would shift and women would stop wearing cozy leggings that make her sons think dirty thoughts, but for shame, leggings have only gotten more popular in recent years. Because they’re amazing and those of us who wear them have not a single eff to give about Maryann White’s four sons and their virtue.

White shares the moment she knew she had to speak out against the scourge that is leggings. “Last fall, they obtruded painfully on my landscape. I was at Mass at the Basilica with my family. In front of us was a group of young women, all wearing very snug-fitting leggings and all wearing short-waisted tops (so that the lower body was uncovered except for the leggings). Some of them truly looked as though the leggings had been painted on them,” she writes.

You know what actually obtrudes painfully? Jeans. That’s why we all wear leggings. Shut up forever, please.

Narrator: But she didn’t shut up. She kept going.

“A world in which women continue to be depicted as ‘babes’ by movies, video games, music videos, etc. makes it hard on Catholic mothers to teach their sons that women are someone’s daughters and sisters. That women should be viewed first as people — and all people should be considered with respect,” she laments.

Why is it ever hard to teach any child that it’s best to treat all humans you encounter with basic respect no matter their wardrobe choices? Oh. That’s right. It’s not.

White then babbles on with some weird, tone deaf statement about Princess Leia from Star Wars being forced into an outfit all while she’s writing an entire op-ed about forcing women into “acceptable” outfits. As you do.

The good Catholic mom then ponders what’s “caused women to voluntarily expose their nether regions in this way.” She says she “was ashamed for the young women at Mass.”

And then of course, she thought of THE MEN. “I thought of all the other men around and behind us who couldn’t help but see their behinds. 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. How much more difficult for young guys to ignore them.”

It’s actually not that difficult. At all. If men are taught from the time they’re little boys that no matter what a woman’s wearing, it’s not ok to ogle, stare, hoot, holler, expect anything sexual, or make comments, it’s quite easy. A woman or girl’s wardrobe choices are her own and she bears zero moral responsibility for the boys and men who may catch a glimpse of her (insanely comfortable) leggings and have *clutches pearls* impure thoughts.

She pleads with us filthy leggings wearers to just think of the men. “These are not just my sons — they’re the fathers and brothers of your friends, the male students in your classes, the men of every variety who visit campus. I’m fretting both because of unsavory guys who are looking at you creepily and nice guys who are doing everything to avoid looking at you. For the Catholic mothers who want to find a blanket to lovingly cover your nakedness and protect you — and to find scarves to tie over the eyes of their sons to protect them from you!”

Don’t fret, Maryann. Plenty of people like myself are raising sons to understand that a girl could walk down the street in a string bikini and he still has no right to stare at her or cat call or make her fell less than. My son already grasps, in the fourth grade, that what a girl wears is completely irrelevant when it comes to my expectations on how he treats her. Which is to say, with respect — like everyone else he meets.

You know what you should be ashamed of? The boys who rape. The ones who touch without permission. The ones who cat call and treat women like objects. Probably because they grew up with mothers like you who taught them it’s perfectly understandable for them to objectify and look down on a woman who wears tight or revealing clothing instead of teaching those precious sons that women owe them nothing, whether they’re wearing a chastity belt or nipple tassels.

Luckily, the “girls” of Notre Dame weren’t having this nonsense either and yesterday, held a “Leggings Pride Day” to loudly reject White’s ridiculous and damaging narrative of girls and women being responsible for the urges of boys and men. “We ask you to, in affirmation that policing womxn’s bodies is wrong and that clothing is never justification for sexual abuse, make a conscious choice to wear leggings and thus affirm your right and ability to do so,” the organizers write.

And they totally celebrated leggings.

White closes her letter with a small request. “Could you think of the mothers of sons the next time you go shopping and consider choosing jeans instead?”

LOL absolutely not. Nice try, but it’s 2019 and women will wear exactly what they want. Best prepare your sons now to deal with it.

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