Leotards will get a girl in trouble.

A New York high school principal forced three female students to leave school last week because they were wearing beige leotards. I kid you not.
On Long Beach High School’s Superhero Day, the students came to school dressed up as Captain Underpants, an extremely popular children’s book character. Because his garb is just underpants and a red cape, the girls wore beige leotards and nude stocking under white briefs and red capes.
‘Yes, I know they weren’t naked,” said Principal Nicholas Restivo, “But the appearance was that they were naked.”
Um, but they weren’t. Would male students would have been kicked out for wearing the same thing? Regardless of that answer, Captain Underpants is a humorous character and, if anything, the costume sounded funny, not revealing or inappropriate.
Is it just me, or is this principal unecessarily sexualizing these girls for wearing a comical costume?

Join the Conversation

  • http://www.szcz.org Mitchell

    This reminds me of a costume I saw at a Halloween party this weekend where a young woman was dressed as Princess Leia in Return of the Jedi. You know the one:
    I bring this up because the costume I saw involved a LOT of nude stocking (three layers’ worth) to provide that “looks naked” effect without actually being naked.
    And yet, for doing practically the same thing to achieve the same effect, three female students were kicked out of a school.

  • Lesbesquet

    It is not you, of course. It’s just another example of the insane rules regarding our bodies Earth-wide. A woman can be arrested for nursing her baby. A woman can be fired for totally covering her body. A woman can be killed for exposing her face. There is no sense in patriarchy.

  • DBR

    You know, I usually agree with the postings here, but I have to side with the principal. I don’t think this is a gender thing. I can’t imagine school officials being thrilled with boys in costumes that made them look nude or near nude, even if it is a humorous costume.
    I’m surprised that some high schools even allow costumes. It seems like an invitation for problems and distractions. Not really helpful for the learning environment.
    Of course, I’m a proponent of school uniforms. So, it’s clear where I’m coming from.

  • http://tinnywords.blogspot.com/ Dan

    DBR, as a general rule, costumes are a distraction. But on Halloween? I don’t know about you, but I can’t remember ever doing anything constructive in school on Halloween, regardless of whether or not anyone was wearing costumes.
    Now, the time senior year that a guy I knew came to school dressed up as a tree apropos of nothing, and got his ass kicked after school? That, I agree, can be somewhat distracting. This same guy also once dressed up as a teddy bear, again apropos of nothing. I don’t think anyone beat him up that time, though.

  • http://www.myspace.com/bourbonhipster The Bourbs

    What would have been your reaction if the principal sent the girls home for either (a) the girls’ Pocahontas costumes were too suggestive/revealing/beige, or (b) their Pocahontas costumes were too racially insensitive

  • EG

    I would love to be able to send people home for wearing outfits that are too beige. “I’m sorry, miss/sir, your outfit is just too boring. You’ll have to go home and put on something with a bit of color in it.”

  • AndyS

    Come on, be realistic. What was the principal to do? You’ve got three 17 year old, female students wearing underpants (male ones I assume if they were in character) over faux nude leotards in a high-school containing 50% hormone-raging young males. He doesn’t send them home and he’s sure to fired or at least disciplined.
    I wish parents were more enlighted but it is silly to pretend that they are.

  • Lesbesquet

    Yeah, wouldn’t it be great if parents (you mean mothers?) were more enlightened? If we were, we would figure out a way to make sure our daughters are safe from 50%hormone-raging men of every kind. Regardless of what -if anything- the girl is wearing. Duh.

  • AndyS

    No, I had in mind that group of neandrathal fathers which seems to be present in every community, the ones that will say the school is allowing/encouraging sluttish behavior that will influence their daughters. Of all the things one could get up in arms about in our schools wearing underwear over leotards isn’t anywhere near the top of the list. Maybe we should concentrate on the fact that federal funding for sex-education comes with the requirement that contraception can NOT be taught, or on gay/lesbian-bashing, or ….

  • http://janesdailyblah.blogspot.com janekeeler

    When I was in middle school (think 1992…) one of my friends came dressed as a girl from the 1950s in a poodle skirt. HE (nope, not a typo – my friend was a boy) looked absolutely awesome – probably the best costume in the school. The principal sent him home.

  • Carlie

    I grew up in the Midwest and attended schools without air conditioning. The dress code for our high school did not allow shorts (!) and at the end of August, it was pretty damned hot, especially on the second floor. They would only call off school for heat if someone passed out from heatstroke on the premises. Skirts were allowed, however, even those above the knee (if you didn’t get too brash about it) and one day in protest most of the football team and several other guys showed up in skirts. All were promptly sent home.

  • ArsenicandEarlGrey

    I went to a uniform-wearing highschool, but we still got to dress up for Halloween.
    Because they took care not to bare any inappropriate skin, I think the principal was out of line. Of course, I’ve seen a lot of crazy costumes get pulled off in highschool. Freshman year a guy dressed up as a sexy Tinkerbell. Good times.
    But I have to say I do think the principal was overreacting, but a few people probably did complain to him. There wasn’t much he could do.

  • blogjunkie

    I have to agree with the principal as well – leotards are not appropriate school wear for anyone. Halloween is great, costumes are great, but there’s a time and a place and school is not the place for leotards (am I right that they had nothing over the leotard? or am I understanding this wrong?)

  • DBR

    The point here is that it’s a high school. Costumes are great for grade school or middle school. But for those who aren’t trick-or-treating (or shouldn’t be), October 31st should just another school day.
    I think it is quite appropriate, even desirable, to prohibit suggestive clothing in high schools. It’s not a ‘girls should not distract the boys’ thing. It’s the fact that there are hundreds of hormonal young men and women packed together in a small space. We don’t need suggestive clothing for either sex in the mix. Think about this from a school administrator’s perspective. What are the best ways to perpetuate a respectful, learning environment?

  • Firefishe

    “On Long Beach High School’s Superhero Day, the students came to school dressed up as Captain Underpants. . .”
    Hello, DBR. Firefishe replying. I think your comment is a little non-sequitur for this particular thread.
    The school was having a special day where people were *expected* to dress up as super heroes; there wasn’t any problem–per se–with any element of students flaunting what would be considered the ‘normal’ school dress code.
    Your opinion is fine, as all opinions go. However, I feel that your concern about there being “…hundreds of hormonal young men and women packed together in a small space…” doesn’t really coincide with the original poster’s statement.
    Fact #1: The school was having a specific type of activity, ergo: Superhero Day
    Fact #2: The school sanctioned it, therefore it was, presumably all right with the school administration or they wouldn’t have allowd it–much less sanctioned it–. it in the first place.
    Now, in your first sentence where you make the comment: “The point here is that it’s a high school. Costumes are great for grade school or middle school. But for those who aren’t trick-or-treating (or shouldn’t be), October 31st should just another school day.”
    A national holiday that is recognized as being one in which people dress up in costume? What part of “this is a special day for stepping into another character” don’t you understand? Are you so dyed-in-the-wool conservative that absolutely no fun type of activity should be allowed in high school?
    Also, why do you feel that only grade- and middle-schoolers should dress up in costume? I’m 43 years old and can readily say that in all my years as an adult, I’ve seen people costuming to go to special clubs, whether or not is was Halloween or not.
    This is 2009! It is not 1954 (Thank ). Also, why this particular principal in *CALIFORNIA* no less would have a problem with girls wearing leotards is, quite frankly, beyond me.
    Good Lord! Modern gymnastics outfits and tennis wear for women is more revealing than what he experienced. Plus, they were wearing capes! Assuming decent length–for a super hero costume–their backsides were covered quite well, probably going way down past their derrieres!
    Hormones have been raging for years in high schools and I believe the majority of students have not–for the sake of even seeing one of the opposite sex in a state of semi-dress just outside the locker room door, in cheerleading outfits (short skirts those!), even in a bare athletic supporter (a/k/a, jockstrap) haven’t all succumbed on the spot to debauchery, lewdness, and fornication, immediately changing from a state of decorum to having a mass-orgy in the school halls and classrooms.
    We’ve all gone through puberty. We know what it is. It didn’t kill us. Accepting our natural identity as sexual beings is not a bad thing, but is a good thing. It’s important to be comfortable with our inherent sexuality, and just because we may see someone in skin-revealing outfits doesn’t mean that we’re going to ‘jump their bones’ right on the spot and start copulating! Forget it! It just doesn’t usually happen that way.
    My high school had a very active ‘spirit week’ in which, during the major Homecoming ‘pep assembly,’ the cheerleaders and football players would change clothes and roles for a bit of fun on the gymnasium stage set up for that event.
    Even seeing the burly linebackers and tackles in those short cheerleading skirts didn’t cause anyone to ‘get hot and heavy’ in the aisles that I was aware. It was all just a day-in-fun, lasted about an hour, and then was over for the day.
    I think the principal–and you–are overreacting.
    Warm Regards,

  • Firefishe

    Upon re-reading the original post, I see that this was in Long Beach, NEW YORK, and not California as stated in my original post.
    That found out, I can say, almost with complete certainty, that if it had happened in Long Beach, California, this wouldn’t even have been an issue.
    Sorry for the mistake, I’ll read a little closer to the screen next time around ;-).
    Warm Regards,

  • Firefishe

    Now Just WaitAMinnit Here ;-)!
    You grew up in the Midwest? And went to school in August???
    What school in their right mind starts classes before a couple days *after* Labor Day?
    *THAT*, and not the shorts-issue, is the true indication that the school admins at the educational establishment you attended then were *Prime Grade Idiotic Morons with Sun Stroke!*
    Send ‘em to Alaska, and toss ‘em in a snowbank! KEEP AUGUST SCHOOL FREE! ;-)