People are calling for a high school principal’s resignation after she body-shamed her female students for wearing leggings.
This week, local South Carolina news outlet WCBD shared audio of Heather Taylor, principal at Stratford High School, telling ninth and tenth grade girls that they couldn’t wear leggings because of their size. “I’m going to tell you now, unless you are a size zero or two and you wear something like that, you look fat,” she said at a recent school assembly.
Students immediately criticized Taylor for her words. “I’m not a size zero and I kind of felt targeted because of my size,” sophomore Allison Veazey told WCBD.
Additionally, several members of the community posted comments about the incident to a Stratford High School Facebook page, with many telling Taylor to leave her post. “Disappointed, disgusted and disheartened that such a comment had been made to impressionable young women and men by someone they should be able to look up to; and then follow up with the audacity to lie about it!” one commenter wrote. “How horrifying that a person who’s very mission should include making every student under her care feel worthy of respect made a point of fat shaming girls at a point in their lives where they are already vulnerable,” another person said.
Soon after the controversy, Taylor released a statement to the media clarifying but not necessarily apologizing for her words. “My intention was not to hurt or offend any of my students in any way,” she said. “I assured them all that I am one of their biggest fans and invested in their success. After speaking with our students and receiving their support, I am confident that, together, we are ready to move forward and have a wonderful year. Stratford High is a very caring community, and I want to thank all of our parents and students who have offered their support to me and provided me with an opportunity to directly address their concern. I am very proud to be a Stratford Knight.”
Unfortunately, the statistics show that teenagers, especially teenage women, deal with extremely negative body image, which is why Taylor’s comments to her students are so troubling. The National Center for Biological Information reported that one-half of teenage women and one-quarter of teenage men have used dieting or other restrictive measures to change the size and shapes of their bodies; moreover, one-third of the teenage women who were attempting to diet were at a weight that was considered “normal.” Additionally, according to DoSomething.org, roughly nine out of 10 women don’t like their bodies and are actively working to change them, and the National Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders estimated that around 30 million people in the U.S. deal with disordered eating.
More on body image:
- Rapper and Singer Lizzo Talks Bodysuits and Body Image
- Christie Brinkley’s Daughters Sailor Lee and Alexa Ray Talk Body Image
- This Is the Surprising Age Women Have the Most Body Confidence