The title of this post pretty much sums up my reaction to this link, which came across my Twitter feed today. Nathan Graziano, posting at The Good Men Project, discussing his reaction to women wearing yoga pants.
Much has already been said about this post, but for the benefit of my family and friends who might not have seen it, I’ll sum up (and react): Mr. Graziano finds yoga pants sexy. He has trouble focusing on his workout because of all the women in yoga pants. In fact, Mr. Graziano apparently regards the gym as a sort of soft-porn experience, generally, but the yoga pants are putting him over the edge. He knows that women SAY they wear them because they’re comfortable, but, really, couldn’t you just wear sweats? I mean, you wouldn’t wear such tight clothes if you didn’t want people to see your bod, right? So, women, you are complicit in my inability to focus on my workout because of your deliberate sexiness.
So, a few things. First, yes, yoga pants are sexy. I’m going to grant him that. I’m not going to be one of those women who claims she had no idea that pants that show off your legs, butt, and hips are sexy (especially if you have good legs, butt, and hips). My husband has bought me at least three really nice pairs of yoga pants over the years, and NOT because he knows I like to be comfortable. It’s because I have nice hips and legs, and he has a thing for athletic women. So, fine.
They are also very comfortable. I did hours of yardwork yesterday in one of the aforementioned pairs of yoga pants. And I wasn’t trying to get the neighbors to look at my butt. It turns out that tight, stretchy fabrics are excellent for exercising in, especially when it’s still a bit too nippy outside to be wearing shorts and a tank top (and, anyway, god forbid I should show any skin, what with the men being sure I’m being all sexy while pruning roses just for them).
First, I wanted to focus, a bit, on something the commentaries I’ve read have omitted: Mr. Graziano is, for the most part, talking about how he can’t focus on his workout because of the women wearing…exercise clothing. He’s not actually complaining about women wearing yoga pants outside of the gym (more on that in a second). It seems that, in his view, even the women wearing them as they are intended are, at least in part, doing so because they want guys like him to look at their butts.
Now, on to the “wearing them other places” part of the story. It seems the only reason you’d ever wear these garments anywhere other than the gym is if you were deliberately sexualizing them and asking for men to check you out. This is the part that blows me away. The world apparently works like this: 1) Women wear clothing. 2) Men find clothing sexy on women. 3) If women continue to wear said clothing, they must be inviting sexual attention from men. 4) Said clothing is therefore sexy, and inappropriate to wear where men might see you, unless you, again, want them to hit on you.
The thing is, in a moral world, what I wear should not be dictated by whether or not some guy(s) might think my butt looks cute in it. It’s the exact same mental acrobatics that leads to questions about why a woman was wearing such a short skirt at that party. Answer #1 is: It’s none of your goddamned business WHY I chose the clothes I wore to the party. Or to Starbucks (another place I wore yoga pants yesterday). Answer #2 may be: because they’re comfortable. Or: Because I look good in them, which makes me feel good. It may even be, “Because I was hoping men would hit on me today,” or, “I’m hoping to get laid tonight.” The thing is, though, which of those answers it is is OUR business, until and unless we make it yours. Simply wearing the clothes does NOT make it your business.
I decided to write this post partly because my class was canceled today due to coinstructor’s flu, and partly because this is a topic that infuriates me. This is the justification given for making women wear burqas – because men find women’s bodies sexual, and are not responsible for their actions if said bodies are visible. (If you are a woman CHOOSING to wear a burqa, I’m not talking about you. I’m talking about the ones who have no choice.) Men, don’t you see how this attitude demeans YOU? It says you have no self-control, that you are an animal at the mercy of your sexual impulses, and the only way to control your bad behavior is to control the behavior of the women around you. It’s disgusting, and it’s not the men I know. (Mostly. I hope.)
Most men are better than this. Or can be. I guess I just want to end my rant by saying – we can fix this. It starts by not raising our sons to be like this. We must also speak out against this attitude – while most men in my culture don’t think that a woman’s clothes are an invitation to rape, there is still this lower-level, pervasive attitude among men AND women: well, why would she wear that if she didn’t want to be looked at? Maybe she does want to be looked at. “Looking” and “touching” are very different things. Can’t you enjoy the view without having to pick the flowers? Maybe she just wants to look nice. For herself. Maybe she didn’t think about it at all.
Point is? It’s none of your business. Get over yourself.