Letter to the Editor: Sweatpants article offends women

Editors and staff of the Harbinger,

I am writing in response to Bess Tiller’s article “Trashy or Classy: What girls wear says a lot about them.” Let me begin by stating that I respect The Harbinger and its writers, as I am on the yearbook staff and I am highly aware of ethical and responsible journalism.

One of the most defining characteristic of Hereford High School, as well as all Baltimore County Public Schools, is that students from various backgrounds with different beliefs and values come together in one school and form one community. Because of this, our school media should, and usually is, be acutely aware of the target audience.

Hereford is exceedingly praised for the individualism and uniqueness of its students due to the fact that we do not have a standard or criteria that must be met through the personality or even clothes of a person as long as it is safe and appropriate. This is why this article was a shock to me, many other females and even males of Hereford High.

The article, clearly an opinion piece, states an “acceptable” guideline of how a woman should dress in school, otherwise this girl is supposedly judged as “trashy” as well as not “presentable” or “respectable.”  This greatly offends women who have every right to dress however they want without judgment or criticism from a peer or staff member. In addition, it targets those who have worn sweatpants or even a sweatshirt to school as their gender is “questioned when walking into the girl’s bathroom.” The only word to describe this comment is disgust.

I would like to test the accuracy of this comment as I have never judged a woman’s gender based on their clothing in a restroom at school or any other public facility; I am confident in saying that the majority of women agree.   As women, we are encouraged to dress, behave and be whatever makes us happiest. We come to school every day to be educated and grow for our futures, not to dress to impress others and “potential prom dates.”

Unfortunately, there are economically struggling families within our community. Many families struggle to put food on the table and clothes on their backs. The callous ignorance toward these students is inexcusably heartbreaking to those who cannot dress “positively presentable” for a seven-hour school day. Hereford’s students should not feel obligated in any way to dress based on an inaccurate representation of how girls view one another.

My intent for writing this letter is to raise awareness within the school and to illustrate that this article is degrading and insulting. The level of disrespect and judgmental remarks against females has led to questioning the editorial integrity of the writers. In my opinion, this particular article brings immense shame to the paper that has upheld a notable reputation for years. Many of us are truly disappointed that this inaccurate, biased and utterly rude content was published for students, faculty and our parents to read.

I can proudly speak for myself and countless other peers that this was an abuse of our school’s media.  I know many of the Harbinger’s readers would respectfully accept a sincere apology to those who were offended and hurt by this article. We have a right to practice the First Amendment that grants freedom of press, but it should never be abused in this way, especially toward the people who proudly attend Hereford High School.


Sofia Callahan