The #BereaWearsLeggings movement was spawned by the innocent act of wearing what you’re comfortable with to work. Councilwoman Emily LaDouceur was accompanying another local government employee to give schoolchildren a tour of the new City Hall building. They were educating the children on civic duty whenever their photo was snapped. This photo was innocently shared on the Berea, Kentucky Government Facebook page; however, LaDouceur’s haters used this moment to latch on to her “indecent dress.” The Councilwoman donned a long tunic with a pair of business professional leggings, $60 on Amazon. Since a woman’s reputation is not easily repaired, it was important to get ahead of the issue.
By using influencers to ignite the passion of the hashtag, Councilwoman LaDouceur gained praise from celebrities and spokespeople like George Takei, state agencies and groups, and regular people from all across America. The overall online sentiment of the movement was overwhelmingly positive; while there was some negativity online, it was a small minority made up primarily of Baby Boomers and men. The hashtag was trending locally, bred a local “holiday”, and Councilwoman Ladouceur’s Youtube interviews garnered nearly 20,000 views.
The media campaign was spurred by the local City Council’s decision to prohibit citizens from speaking on the issue at a city council meeting. After some study, it was found that some stories about women’s attire (“inappropriate wear”) created public discourse and could likely trend. In response, the story was disbursed to local media, plus a national media source, and it caught fire. Millions of people tuned on on TV and social media thanks to these contacts, and all of the stories were spun positively.