A woman who IDed herself as a “Catholic mother of four sons” called out “a problem that only girls can solve” in a letter Monday to the University of Notre Dame’s student newspaper—but her note is having the opposite effect of what she wanted.
In her note to the Observer, Maryann White addressed “the legging problem” on the private Catholic campus, saying she first noticed it while attending Sunday Mass. She reprimands young women who wear the “unforgiving garment” and show off their “blackly naked rear ends.”
White claims that female students who don such dress run the risk of tempting young men.
“I’m fretting both because of unsavory guys who are looking at you creepily and nice guys who are doing everything to avoid looking at you,” she writes, imploring the women: “Could you think of the mothers of sons the next time you go shopping and consider choosing jeans instead?”
HuffPost notes her letter sparked instant outrage, as well as protests in which thousands were set to put on their own leggings to push back. One protest organizer tells Today she “wanted to … make sure that not only is this not about women taking responsibility [for] making men not sin, but also making sure that this doesn’t fall into the rhetoric of survivors who are ‘asking for it’ because of what they are wearing.”
Per the Washington Post, Heather Piccone, the mom of a young woman who attends Notre Dame, penned a note Tuesday to the Observer, chastising White to stop “sexualizing everything” and instead “raise your son to respect women and view them as valuable beyond their bodies.” Piccone adds she hopes White’s sons keep their shirts on at the beach, because “as a mother [White] should have properly raised her son not to tempt my daughter with his body.” (Read more University of Notre Dame stories.)