Fox News medical contributor Keith Ablow used his son as justification on Friday for an Illinois middle school’s ban on girls wearing leggings, Media Matters reported on Friday.
“You cannot come in with leggings,” Ablow said during an appearance on Outnumbered. “Because my son wants to learn and the truth is it is distracting. And it is kind of inappropriate because when did we decide as a culture that tights would become an overgarment instead of an undergarment. The reason we’re doing that is because girls are in a panic to be more and more sexual because we’ve taken all the restraint away from femininity. We’ve made girls into boys.”
The Evanston Review reported that the ban at Haven Middle School spurred both a petition signed by more than 500 students and an on-campus protest in which most of the school’s female students wore leggings or yoga pants in defiance of the policy.
One seventh-grader, Sophie Hasty, provided a counter to Ablow’s reasoning in an email to the Review, writing, “Not being able to wear leggings because it’s ‘too distracting for boys’ is giving us the impression we should be guilty for what guys do. We just want to be comfortable!”
Panelist Kirsten Powers also criticized the ban, saying it constituted a “very gray area.”
“Do you really want schools telling your children what they can and can’t wear to classes?” Powers asked the panel. “That starts to be a very slippery slope.”
But Ablow and most of the other panelists disagreed, saying that male students going through puberty could not be trusted not to stare at girls in leggings.
“I don’t know that we can restrain boys from being boys,” he said. “So the long stare, the offhand comment, you have to — what do you do, excuse it? Because it was certainly provoked. And I think girls put themselves in the line of fire that way.”
Watch the discussion, as posted by Media Matters on Friday, below.