Here is the issue: She did not say that leggings may not be the best fashion choice. She said, “The sad thing is with that, ladies — if someone has not told you this before, I’m going to tell you this now — unless you are a size zero or a 2, and you wear something like that, even though you are not fat, you look fat.” Not okay in my book - not now, and not ever (not even in the dinosaur days when I was that age).
I don’t understand why this is complicated.
Don’t tell young people they look fat.
You can enforce a dress code. That doesn’t require fat shaming.
Which of these isn’t clear?
People always mention anorexia when discussing weight issues, as though telling someone they are overweight will drive them to starve themselves. Well, according to statistics, only 1% percent of teen girls are anorexic and 4% are bulimic. That means most girls are unaffected by “thinness” in the media, or those numbers would be greater.
Meanwhile, 31% of teenage girls are overweight and 15% are obese. That is a staggering number of young girls who are at risk for major health problems early in life.
(Anorexia Nervosa and Related Eating Disorders https://www.anred.com/stats.html)
Perhaps the principal (who is from the South, which has the highest rates of obesity) is doing her best to help students who are not getting proper nutrition or fashion advice at home. One day her students will need to find jobs. Will they have the skills to dress appropriately for an interview if everyone is afraid to tell them the truth?
I have had friends who suffered eating disorders and their problems were far more complicated than some comment from a school administrator.
I have very poor large motor skills. So gymnastics units in junior high were torture for me. I tried SO hard but could barely do a front somersault. One time, I went into the storage room to cry when they told me I couldn’t use the small set of uneven bars because I was too tall - I had to use the regular-sized one. OMG!
So my PE teacher tried to “help” by saying, “You know, if you lost some weight, you would do better at gymnastics. See how the other girls who weigh less do better?” I will never forget the way I felt. Humiliated beyond belief. And looking at my photos at that age, I wasn’t really very heavy. So I agree with @romanigypsyeyes - I don’t think that person should work with kids.
Last I checked, shaming someone for being fat is rarely effective and sometimes compounds the original problem.
I know of several folks ranging from good HS buddies to former colleagues who are still negatively affected by being bullied by classmates and yes…even jerky teachers/admins like this principal on account of their being the “fat kid” in their K-12 years.
Some are still in therapy over it…and since they are males, don’t get nearly as much flack over this issue as their female counterparts as several freely admitted in past conversations.
Here’s a thought experiment, would you be ok with the principal calling out one of your kids as being “stupid”, “dumb”, “a moron”, or “intellectually dim” because they received a mediocre/abysmal grades or “low” SAT*/ACT scores?
What makes this any different?
- Many HS classmates and a few teachers actually did use those pejoratives for those of us who had poor GPAs(Less than a 90) or SATs(Anything below 1350/1600 on the pre-1995 SATs).
That may be your friends’ experience, but the fact is we still have a health epidemic. The last time I visited the South, I saw NO young children who were normal weight. They were all extremely overweight. Not slightly. Firing a principal is not going to change the facts.
I was 6’0" and around 130 lb in high school. Decently underweight. I was fit though- year round athlete. I was just a stick.
I didn’t dress well at all. I wore super baggy clothes and often came in sweats. No one bothered to teach me to “dress appropriately.” I wonder why… :-?
But for the 30th time: you can teach how to dress “properly” without freaking body shaming. No one should show up to a professional job interview in leggings and a crop top whether they’re a size 0 or 20.
Actually, firing this principal will make it crystal clear that using counterproductive methods…especially ones which humiliate/degrade a student in the manner she did is unacceptable and won’t be tolerated.
Much like how I wished some of the jerky HS teachers I had were fired for making such remarks or worse…verbally bullying students to the point a friend who is now a tenure-track Prof at an elite university nearly dropped out of school freshman year because of the panic attacks that jerky teacher’s bullying comments caused.
Frankly, this is unacceptable and unprofessional behavior for those who are supposed to be educators.
One wrong step, and off with their head. You are fired! Sad.
This is somewhat off topic but I see girls running around in leggings and other barely there clothing and rarely are they physically fit. There are simply no boundaries anymore for decorum.
The girls might or might not know that leggings are inappropriate for jobs. I’m sure they know they’re overweight. Having the principal say they’re fat will not increase their self-awareness but might well decrease their self-esteem.
I actually do think there should be professionalization courses in high school. There ARE lots of students who have no idea how to create a resume, dress properly for certain jobs, etc, etc. That should absolutely be addressed IMO especially because not everyone is going on to college (where they may or may not learn how to do these things).
Growing up in a low income community, no one really taught us how to do resumes or anything. Many of our parents worked on the lines and you don’t really need a resume for that.
My D was singled out in 2nd grade by a teacher in front of entire class for being “so thin,” who she was similar size, weight and muscle tone as many of her classmates. She was properly very annoyed with the teacher and fortunately had me and H and our family and the pediatrician to reassure her that she was just right height and weight (still is). She is 100 pounds and 5’2", which she has been since she was about 14 (so over a decade now).
I was very annoyed with the teacher but D begged me to let it go and not make trouble for her at the school or with the teacher so we didn’t say anything, tho I felt it was very wrong of that teacher.
The point is that not all kids with eating disorders DO grow up. Some don’t live long enough to have the chance.
Oh, and for the record: my daughter’s summer job uniform is a company T shirt and jeans, leggings or shorts. Her employer is OK with leggings.
Fortunately, she’s a size 0 though. Whew!!!
Not all kids with eating disorders do grow up - on both ends of the spectrum.
Your D was guilty of thin privilege. Today it would be absolutely appropriate to call out this type of privilege. In fact, it was a ‘learning experience’. :-L
You know what…a principal is an educator. Educators are supposed to teach kids how to act professionally, no matter what region of the country they are in. I am pretty sure that saying “you look fat” to your work colleagues or their children is not professional. Not for a doctor, not for a business person and not even for a fashion advisor (that wants to keep their job). The only place this phrase appears to work, professionally, is on reality TV.
I have heard from young teaching college grads I know that some areas in our southern states are experiencing a shortage of qualified teachers and principals. That may explain the low quality of this particular “professional”. As my kids compete for jobs, I am trying to teach them not only how to dress, but also how to speak to other human beings. Both are important and if you’re in a competitive job, yes you can be fired for acting unprofessionally. At the end of the day, freedom of speech has its consequences…
D is 5’6" and thickly muscled, about 150 lbs when she was playing rugby last year (one of the smallest players), 140ish now. Some people have skeletons just not capable of being a size 2 including every single person on her rugby team. I wouldn’t consider it bad parenting if any of those women decided to wear leggings as pants. It might have been a fashion breach when our group ran the fashion world 30 years ago but it does not seem to be now.
I hope the boys all wear leggings to that school like the ones who wore the off-the-shoulder shirts in Hollister.
I don’t understand “thin privilege.” I believed then and still believe the teacher was misguided and very inappropriate. If she had serious concerns, she should have spoken privately to D and me (I was at the school every morning and afternoon). It was wrong to single D out in front of her class PERIOD.
D has always been 5% for height and weight from birth then and now. She’s generally a size 0 or 00. She does happen to have chronic health issues thru no fault of hers. We have all been working with her docs for decades on these health issues. Eating is NOT one of her health issues.
It doesn’t even sound like fat shaming to me. Her opinion is leggings aren’t attractive and make all girls look fat. She didn’t point to a specific girl, she sounds like she was trying to give girls a wake up call on her opinion. People dress awful out in public. Maybe they don’t care, maybe they don’t get it, maybe they think they look great. Whatever. Like it or not, we judge on what we see. So every girl in her school got the message. If I’m bigger than a 2, Mrs. whatsherface thinks I look fat in leggings. I have a feeling every girl in that school is wearing leggings to school now just to annoy this woman.