Today, I’d like to say a few words about Spandex booty shorts and seventh-grade volleyball. (Granted, that’s far beyond the normal sphere of discussion on LawFlog, but it’s my blog, so I suppose I can talk about whatever I want). Here’s the scenario: A few weeks ago, my friend’s 12-year-old daughter made the team at a small-town school in North Texas, and the young lady told her coach that she wanted to wear her own shorts instead of the little black panties issued by the school.
The coach pressured her to conform to the school uniform, but fortunately grandma (a former coach herself) was nearby and put the young coach in her place. My friend’s daughter now gets to cover her rear end, but I’m wondering why the half-witted school officials approved the uniform in the first place. Maybe the educrats thought they could attract more lecherous old perverts to the games if the pre-teen girls showed a little more skin? Or maybe the seventh-grade boys weren’t thinking about sex enough already?
Yes, I realize the fashion trend began in college volleyball and made its way from there into the public schools, but I defy anyone to show a correlation between a girl’s ability to play volleyball and the visibility of her butt cheeks. If you doubt that, look at the Florida College volleyball team pictured to the right. They’ve won two national championships wearing shorts that nearly reach their knees. [Correction: a friend tells me it’s eight or nine national championships].
So let’s just admit that this is about sex appeal, not volleyball. After all, Olympic volleyball players are wearing bikinis because it attracts male viewers, not because of anything to do with playing the game. And while I’m libertarian enough to let a grown woman make a sex object of herself if that’s what she chooses, it’s another matter entirely when a taxpayer-funded school tries to make sex objects of 12-year-olds.
Of course, our culture has a long history of duplicity when it comes to sexualizing children, particularly girls. We outlaw naked pictures of teenagers, yet millions of parents think it’s cute when their daughters dress like prostitutes. As a deputy sheriff, I once had to tell a grown man to stay away from an anatomically-accentuated 13-year-old in a string bikini. Her parents never realized there was a problem.
And that is the problem: parents who adopt the soft-porn standards of our culture, rather than protecting their kids’ right to be kids. (I could tell you what the Bible says about modesty, but most Baptists don’t care about that anymore, much less members of the squishier denominations). If teenage girls want to dress like hookers or Kardashians (is that redundant?), they will have the rest of their lives to do that. If you’re a parent, it’s your job to be square, so suck it up and set some boundaries.
And why aren’t feminists saying more about the sexploitation of girls in popular culture? If feminists want a broader audience, maybe they should try expanding their coalition beyond abortion extremists and hairy-legged man-haters. How about promoting a girl’s rights to be a girl, not a sex object?
Finally, a lot of school administrators need to grow a spine. Granted, school officials can’t set standards for parents who have none, but surely there are principals and coaches who know better than putting 12-year-olds in booty shorts.