Jewish World Review May 3, 2002 / 21 Iyar, 5762

Michelle Malkin

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Consumer Reports

The thong reaction | We live in the Age of Exhibitionism. Underwear is outerwear. Gauze is a cover-up. "Bare midriff" is redundant.

Earlier this spring, the red-carpet parade at the Academy Awards exposed more sagging flesh than an aging nudist colony. Did you see actresses Gwyneth Paltrow and Sandra Bullock, ahem, hanging out? Where were their mothers when they needed them?

The entire cast of "Survivor" is clothed with less than a square foot of Spandex. In Britain, a clothing retailer is now marketing push-up bras to nine-year-old girls. (What's next: Pampers pasties and g-strings?)

"Pornstar" and "Playboy" are popular youth logos. Top fashion models and teen pop idols are as eager to show off their jutting pelvic bones as their cheekbones. And at the mall, I see pre-teens and tweens tugging their hip-huggers down to make sure they're low enough --- and yanking their thong straps up, Lewinsky-style, for the whole world to ogle.

So, it is no small irony to hear the hew and cry of parents and teens who are outraged that a public school official in Poway, Calif., wouldn't let young female students attend a school dance if they were wearing thongs. Apparently, Rancho Bernardo High School vice principal Rita Wilson checked the undergarments of provocatively dressed girls and boys in view of other students. Parents are threatening to sue for violation of their children's "privacy rights."

Oh, please. Maybe Wilson, who has been placed on leave, went over the top. But the protestations of the parents and kids -- sudden converts to modesty -- ring hollower than Gwynnie Paltrow's ribcage.

"It was a violation of these kids' privacy, and very embarrassing for kids at that age," griped Cindy Chappell, whose 16-year-old daughter complained that her bra was exposed while Wilson examined her tube top. Well, what is a kid her daughter's age doing wearing a tube top to a school dance, anyway?

Another indignant girl complained to FOX News Channel that she was forced to go home and change out of her thong and black fishnet stockings. Was she going to a high school dance --- or auditioning to be a Las Vegas showgirl? Parents who are concerned about "privacy" ought to think about protecting their kids before they walk out the door half-naked.

"Everyone saw everything," steamed Kim Teal, a leading critic of the no-thong policy whose 15-year-old daughter, Rebecca, attended the dance but was not checked. "It was a big peep show."

Don't blame the vice principal for that.

One candid student who attended the dance told CNN that her fellow students "were just wearing these little skirts with nothing on under, these tight shorts, shirts showing their cleavage, their [breasts] popping out, everything. They were not dressed like they were going to a high school dance, they were dressed like whores."

I'm no fan of government-run schools, but I feel sorry for the poor educrats trying to maintain some semblance of order and discipline in the blackboard jungles-turned-junior strip clubs.

At last year's Rancho Bernardo High School dance, Copley News Service reports, "one girl bared her breasts and another took off her underwear" during the annual festivities. But never mind these licentious displays. "Everyone is just appalled and devastated" by the school officials' behavior, according to Teal. They "definitely crossed any line of decency."

That line was crossed a long time ago, lady -- not by school officials, but by uninhibited flesh-baring, freak-dancing, thong-snapping teens and their pushover parents. Listen to Teal explaining why her own daughter and her friends wear thongs to school: "They won't be caught dead in regular underwear." If their skin-tight jeans didn't ride so low in the first place, no one would ever know.

Please, fellow parents, teach your kids to dress with dignity. It's too early for Les Folies Bergeres tryouts. Bring back the mothers and fathers who will pull up the pants, button the shirts, and tell their exhibitionists-in-training: You're not going anywhere dressed like that unless it's Halloween or I'm six feet under.

School officials wouldn't be playing thong police if parents were doing a better job at home raising children -- instead of appeasing them.

JWR contributor Michelle Malkin can be reached by clicking here.

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© 2001, Creators Syndicate