‘Skinny jean’ forum sparks controversy

A Facebook group called “Students Against Skinny Jeans,” created by several senior boys on Sept. 7, was deleted two weeks ago.
The comments posted on the group targeted sophomore boys and called those who wore skinny jeans derogatory terms concerning their fashion sense and sexuality.
Andrew Smith ’08 said he joined the group because it was a funny, casual, almost lighthearted outlet for people’s viewpoints on a current trend.Â
He said that “it started as an expression of opinion for a specific fashion statement, but slowly grew into a verbally aggressive group.”  He stopped commenting on the group’s wall after it became offensive.Â
“That’s when I decided to leave,” he said.  “I wasn’t mad at people who wore skinny jeans.”Â
Many students declined to state their names for this article.Â
“The group was originally created as a joke between a very small group of friends, but somehow, unknown to us, it became very big,” one officer of the group said.Â
He, like Smith, only participated in the group before it was controversial, and so “did many other people,” he said.
Nearly two weeks after the creation of the group, students from Crossroads School joined and began criticizing it, first mocking the group’s dislike of skinny jeans and then listing the stereotypes of Harvard-Westlake students’ clothes.Â
The comments became more aggressive until the group was shut down by Facebook on Sept. 23, the day the Crossroads students wrote on the wall.
Reactions of others have varied.  An anonymous senior girl said that even though the group had a negative aspect, she thought it was funny and meant in jest.Â
Another senior said that she didn’t care what the boys wore and no one could tell them how to dress. She called the group “immature and stupid,” and “typical H-W behavior.”Â
Others did not think the group was a joke, and agreed that the boys deserved criticism for their choice of clothes.Â
“I’m disappointed that our students would not honor or respect other students on campus,” Head of Upper School Harry Salamandra said.Â
He said he would need more information about the group before he considers potential disciplinary action.Â
“It goes against the community we try to create here: a community of safety where the majority of people do what is right in treating others,” he said, “It’s one of the special things about this community.  You lose some of that when comments like those are made.”