Oh, yoga pants, you are just so comfy and easy to wear! But did you know your stretchy shape is bringing all the boys to the yard? Apparently some men can’t get enough of women in yoga pants, hence at least one ridiculous, hypersexualized
buns and camel toe fest website, and articles like this one from Nathan Graziano at The Good Men Project where he confesses, “I’m obsessed with yoga pants. There, I said it. I can’t stop thinking about those damn yoga pants.”* Poor guy.
(*this is not a reflection on ALL men, of course.)
“Yoga pants have brought out my worst chauvinistic characteristics—the characteristics I’d like deny exist inside me. But when it comes to yoga pants, I can’t,” he continues, because yoga pants are “revealing” and “provocative” you see, even though when he asked women why they wear yoga pants they told him it’s because they’re comfortable. But to Nathan there is something much more sinister going on, because baggy sweatpants and pj pants are comfortable too, right? And they’re not anywhere near as sexy and/or part of a plot to mercilessly turn every man on.
“I have a hard time believing that—outside of the gym or the yoga classes—women wear yoga pants solely for comfort.”
“…baggy sweatpants are also comfortable, so I can only assume there’s more to it. There is an implicit game here—the age-old tease where women flaunt and men look.”
Yes, clearly yoga pants are worn for the benefit of ogling men and they are designed precisely for the common male weakness: thoughts. In fact, Nathan, you have no idea. Yoga pants are just one little part of a master plan for women to take over the world one yoga pants sucker at a time. It’s exactly why prominent women like Hillary Clinton and Arianna Huffington are where they are today. Maybe you haven’t seen them wearing yoga pants. That’s because they wear them under their regular clothes, but the yoga pants still maintain their magical powers! Oprah‘s known the undercover yp secret for decades.
We can cut Nathan a little break here and say that yes, yoga pants can be form fitting and unfortunately some are constructed from ill-advised sheer-when-you-bend materials. We’ve all seen it and probably don’t ever need to see it again.
Some are concerned about the all occasion yoga pants “style” trickling down to teenage girls. Amelia McDonell-Parry at The Frisky pointed to this comment by Tom Matlack, founder of The Good Men Project who is shocked by girls wearing yoga pants to school or anywhere else:
“yeah honestly I have to admit this whole deal is more than a little alarming to me … when most of the girls in my daughter’s high school show up in very revealing skin tight yoga pants it seems to me like something has gone a bit off. … I guess I like that women feel comfortable in their own yoga skin and also that fitness is something that we all generally are more aware of. But I do ask myself repeatedly how it became okay to wear close to nothing to dinner or class or a movie? I am not a prude by any means. But what ever happen to a nice pair of jeans and a white t-shirt?”
OK, first, “close to nothing”? When it comes to how teens dress today, at least they’re pants. And we’d have to debate that a lot of stretchy jeans out there aren’t any less skin tight. The concern about teenage girls wearing yoga pants is real though, and actually several high schools around the continent recently started banning yoga pants because they’re too sexy and revealing. (see: cheerleading uniforms are ok though.)
But come to think of it, no. Are we all really too sex-crazed to the point where clothed, rounded bodily shapes are too much to handle? What do you do when those poor innocent children view nude bodies in ancient art or sculpture? There’s something fundamentally wrong here, and we can’t quite put our naked finger on it.
Back to yoga pants. How did it become ok to wear them? When we, women, decided it was ok. When we started practicing yoga and decided we would feel good in our bodies and our clothes while doing anything from yoga to running errands to sitting on the couch. When we said screw it, these are so much easier to slide on than those rigid, strait-jacket muffin top squooshers we shimmy into to “dress up.” We wear yoga pants because they’re comfortable and we don’t need Houdini to help us in or out of them.
Probably a lot of us could relate to Meagan Morris at the Cosmo blog who says her internal dialogue is more like, ”I don’t want to wear jeans today. I’ll just wear these [yoga pants] instead. They’re like luxe pajamas that don’t force me to suck in.”
McDonell-Parry at The Frisky plays down wearing yoga pants, too, as a comfort measure:
“I wear yoga pants basically all weekend, to run errands, to walk my dog, around the house, and sometimes to go to brunch. Yoga pants! They’re the best! Apparently some guys find them drool worthy — I’ve yet to be hollered at while wearing mine, but maybe that’s because I have no makeup on, my hair is unwashed and I’m in a rush to get home to eat my footlong Subway sandwich. The best thing about yoga pants is they stretch while I eat all the food!”
And yet, do some of us feel our shapes look super awesome in them? Sure. (Can we let go of the freaky sci-fi perfect butt obsession though, ladies?) Yoga pants aren’t all about trading comfort for frump. But do we wear them to taunt men and give them a hard on? Hardly.
On a personal note, as a kid I spent a lot of time at my local dancing school, and in the world, wearing tights or dance pants, so the transition to adulthood yoga pants came as second nature. I can only think of my dancing days and ask, should girls feel so self- and body-conscious to the point where they don’t feel confident enough to practice yoga or dance because some hooligans can’t stop drooling over them as sex objects? Which would be a shame since yoga for teen girls has shown some real promise. If you ask me, the whole yoga pants as every day clothing thing seems to be a combination of yoga’s apparent billion dollar ubiquity and our re-embracing of 80s and 90s leggings (they never really did go away, did they?).
That clothing companies and designers have crossed the lines themselves in what you wear to yoga or exercise class and what you might wear out to brunch has only encouraged the habit of ease and comfort and a lot of times looking cute, too. Is it to impress guys, other women or make ourselves feel good is maybe a question to ask ourselves, but it shouldn’t cloud our decision to wear them.
Who knew yoga pants would become a sex symbol? Ladies, do you feel like one when you wear them? Guys, what say you?
hollypenny is a lady, a yoga practitioner, yoga teacher and yoga pants advocate.
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