Polak, Monique. Leggings Revolt
April 19th 2016 by Orca Book Publishers
Eric and his buddies Rory and Phil have transferred from an all boys' school to spend their 7th grade year at Lajoie high school (this is set in Canada). Their new school smells better because it has GIRLS. Eric is especially interested in them and attracted to several, especially Daisy, whom he remembers from early elementary school, and Rowena, who is an interesting character. When some of his friends are rating girls' butts, he gets drawn into the conversation but immediately regrets it, and apologizes to the girls who have overheard him. Daisy and Rowena claim that the school dress code is sexist and approach Eric to run for the Student Life Committee, since that body deals with the sexist dress code, and the girls have a conflict of interest with it. When Daisy wears leggings to school (pointing out that they have been an emerging fashion trend since the early 2000s), the principal arbitrarily bans them starting the following day. The students, led by Daisy, Rowena and Eric and with the help of a sympathetic teacher, stage a revolt to get the rule overturned.
Strengths: Polak worked with students on this book, and the effort clearly shows. This is brilliantly written, and Eric and his friends act in a completely realistic way (they admit that they like to look at girls and are distracted by bra straps and tight pants, but also know full well that they shouldn't be objectifying girls). I especially liked that Eric did slip into talking about girls with his friends but then felt bad about it and tried to rectify his mistakes, and that even though he liked how Daisy looked, he was also attracted to her personality. The leggings issue, as well as the issue of body shaming, was a big one for a while, but now that we have teachers wearing clothing for Lularoe, no one has said anything about them this year.
Weaknesses: The scenes with the Student Life Committee telling students in gym class whether they met the dress code or not seemed odd to me, but perhaps that's how they do things in Canada. I will occasionally have male teachers come to me and ask me to speak to a girl whose clothing is too revealing, because they are not going to mention it. It seems odd that a school would put a middle grade boy in that position.
What I really think: I bought a copy mainly for historical purposes, but was greatly impressed by what I read. Now, I just wish it had an AR test!
The whole issue of body shaming, though... sigh. I don't think that ANYONE IN THE WORLD should wear leggings, unless they are running a long enough distance that shorts or track pants are going to chafe. Because after walking 8 miles in khakis, I have found that chafing is a real thing, and it's not good.
The jacket at left is the very one I am wearing-- I have picked up about 30 of these over the years at the thrift store for about $3 each. I pair these jackets with long, wool pleated skirts or pleated pants and turtleneck sweaters. Occasionally, I throw on a vest, cardigan or crew neck. Everything is loose, because NO ONE wants to see a teacher's body.
I'm a big proponent of uniforms, as long as they are khakis, polos and sweaters. I don't want to see anyone else's body either. Don't care what shape they are in. This applies equally to everyone. If this is body shaming, then I am all for it.