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I floss daily, brush after every meal, and trouble deaf heaven with my bootless cries.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007


Today I wore these stockings to school.

Roll 107 - 10

I’m still in that second-trimester phase where maternity clothes would look tent-like on me, but most of my regular clothes don’t fit anymore. So this morning I hauled out an abandoned black cotton scoop neck dress that comfortably accommodates my bump without looking schleppy. And I funked it up a bit with the stockings.

I paused for a moment getting dressed this morning to wonder if the hose were appropriate for school. I got them at , which billed them as “crocheted stockings.” When they arrived, however, I was struck by how much they were like fishnets with vertical stripes. I would probably never wear fishnets to school, but these seemed a little different. I put them on.

When my vice principal saw me this morning she said “You sure don’t look like a pregnant mother.” This is a good thing. “Pregnant mother” is not really the look I’m going for. Yet the tone in her voice made the comment sound more like “You sure look slutty today.” Maybe I’m just being paranoid. And I don’t really care even if this woman does think I look slutty because 1. I reject the word “slut” and the whole idea that women dressing in a “slutty” way is some problem for people to tsk tsk about, and 2. I don’t really care what my vice principal thinks of my wardrobe, given that she’s one of those female educators who favors vests embroidered with whimsically-rendered chalkboards, desks, and apples and who always has chunky, brightly colored jewelry to fit the theme of the nearest upcoming holiday.

As I went on with my day, I thought I noticed a number of the stodgier faculty eyeing my outfit with some consternation. (And several of my cooler colleagues complimented me on my stockings. The consensus among girl students was consistent: “Ms. Queen, I love your tights!”) Now, this outfit would be completely unremarkable if I’d worn gray tights to match the gray cardigan I wore over the relatively tame black, just-above-the-knee dress (my only color: a small rainbow ribbon to signal my support for the day of silence). But with these stockings, I think it may have raised some eyebrows at my pretty-much-anything-goes liberal high school. And it led me to wonder: what is the deal with fishnets? In an age where a woman’s bare legs are a common sight, why are these stockings still considered racy?

And so I’m asking you: what do you think? What do you know about the history of fishnets? Why are they associated with tramps and vixens? And are they too sexy for work, or school? (What about if they have vertical stripes and claim to be “crocheted stockings”?)

On a side note, one of my favorite students also wore a black dress today, with actual fishnet stockings. I had to smile because this student has often been the center of discussions among faculty about “appropriate student attire,” and for some reason I seem to be the only adult at our pretty-much-anything-goes liberal school who is interested in sticking up for her right to dress however the hell she wants (particularly at a school with no dress code for students or – thank God - teachers). The upshot of these discussions always seems to be “She dresses like a slut, and how can she expect us to take her seriously when she looks like that!” And my answer is always “Because we are professional educators who are supposed to model the mature and ethical behavior of judging people on their intellect and actions, not on external appearances.” This young woman happens to be one of the most intelligent, perceptive, articulate and socially engaged students I’ve ever taught, and the fact that any adult would write her off due to the length of her skirt enrages me. And the fact that she and I coincidentally wore similar ensembles today may reduce my credibility with my stodgier colleagues, but I can’t help think of it as a point of pride.

But, back to the questions above. I want to hear people’s perspectives on the fishnet quandary, because I am truly curious.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I work in a library. Lots of my coworkers have tights similar to these. Fun and Cool; Not slutty at all. Well, maybe with stilletos.

10:06 PM  
Blogger Orange said...

Good question. Why is there a kneejerk response to fishnets that isn't there for other hose or for bare legs? You keep wearing those tights, and maybe you can excise that conditioned response from your coworkers' brains.

Sheesh, it's not like you're wearing crotchless undies and showing everyone. (Which you should point out!)

7:14 AM  
Blogger Feral Mom said...

It's funny, anonymous--when I saw these stockings my first thought was, "E.'s rocking the punk librarian look!" It's all in the shoes. And note how sensible E.'s are.

Also, I'm with Orange--more experiments are necessary with wearing these tights to school, I think. If nothing else, the "pregnant mother" look needs to be expanded.

7:27 AM  
Blogger Elizabeth said...

Those tights are awesome. I have some that are pretty similar, and I wear them to teach all the time. I'm of the opinion that the dress standards of my university could be raised a notch or ten - in terms of coolness, that is. Given your description of your VP's attire, sounds like you might be in a similar situation.

11:29 AM  
Anonymous mountainmama said...

I think they're totally cute. I would wear them in a second. But I teach at an Elementary School where people totally do the holiday sweater and apple pin look. I wore a cute little number the other day and got a few comments about it...oh well! I figure they're just jealous they can't be hip!
As a side note, my dream is to dress up like an Elementary school teacher, with the ugle sweaters and matching socks with pencils around the rim...but I'm afriad of offending the marms I work with!!!!

2:03 PM  
Anonymous mountainmama said...

oops! I meant dress up for HALLOWEEN as an elementary school teacher. a really crusty one.

2:04 PM  
Blogger Mrs. T said...

I like the tights. For some reason, fishnets conjure up vivid images of Frank'n Furter, of "Rocky Horror Picture Show" fame. These, however, do not.
I've never quite figured out what makes adults comment with raised eyebrows on other adults' attire.
As far as dress code, I'm just happy not to see the crack of anyone's ass on a daily basis.

6:42 PM  
Blogger E. said...

Hey! I was going to dress up for school as a school marm for Hallowe'en this past October! But an old-fashioned, early-twentieth-century type school marm. Unfortunately, the zipper on the vintage dress I was going to wear busted, and so I had to drag out old faithful - the witch costume. I did wear my cool black and white striped tights, as I always do for the witch costume. And the above-pictured shoes (which I think of as my "school marm" shoes, though they could certainly be librarian shoes, too... very sensible).

5:15 PM  
Blogger Jeff said...

Fuck them. Switch over to a burlap sack with unshaven legs and armpits and they'll be begging you to dress like a "slut".

12:09 PM  
Blogger Esereth said...

Wow. I love your description of vest wearing educators. I've known those women.

They weren't slutty, for heaven's sake. As long as they weren't paired with a mini skirt and besides, it is impossible for a pregnant woman not to look wholesome.

9:45 PM  
Blogger sweatpantsmom said...

"...who favors vests embroidered with whimsically-rendered chalkboards, desks, and apples and who always has chunky, brightly colored jewelry to fit the theme of the nearest upcoming holiday."

Omigod. You just described one of the mothers at my girls' school to a T.

Scary, isn't it?

1:09 AM  
Blogger Leesa said...

Two quick comments:

1. The tights look fine. Not slutty.

2. What you wear, I think, matters. I think some places have appropriate dress, and those who say, "it should not matter", just don't like the rules. I saw a girl in church this weekend where her nipples were clearly visible (no bra), and she was wearing short shorts. Not appropriate for church. For class, sure, unless you are teaching it. Not for church.

6:38 AM  
Blogger Lisa said...

I wish there were more teachers like you, e. Truly. Especially in Utard. Your tights are no where near slutty. It's all in the attitude.

To answer your questions more directly, I think fishnets have historically been associated with hookers and/or strippers, and Halloween costumes reflect that, if nothing else. :)

3:10 PM  
Blogger E. said...

I think you're right, Lisa. It must've been some kind of thing where they were racy b/c you could see some skin, but it wasn't as scandalous as bare legs. But then they got associated with the lascivious ladies, so now they're more racy than bare legs.

3:03 PM  

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