Denying Women’s Agency (AKA the Yoga Pants Kerfuffle)

Making the rounds today, a blog post about one man’s angst over yoga pants, as worn by women, and many, many responses to that post.

I’ve observed a few back & forths over what may or may not be offensive about the blog post, mainly on Twitter, so would like to share my own thoughts in a format that allows me more room to expand.

The crux of it for me is this:

And when I ask women about yoga pants—hoping they’ll tell me the trend will pass—most women tell me that it isn’t that yoga pants are fashionable, per se, but they are comfortable to wear. As a claustrophobic guy, I couldn’t imagine being comfortable in anything that tight, but I’m going to suspend my disbelief and assume they are, indeed, comfortable.

But 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. Again, we’re simplifying ourselves according to a Y-chromosome.

Here’s the deal. If you ask multiple woman what 2 + 2 equals, and they all say 4, you kind of seem like an ass when you suggest that they probably really mean 5.

This blog post is annoying, and it sets me off because men are always telling me what I think, implying or outright telling me I don’t know my own mind.

It is also creepy, and vaguely threatening, because it implies that in other contexts, this author might be just as quick to deny women their agency. If he has to suspend his disbelief when a woman tells him she wears yoga pants because they are comfortable, what does a woman have to do to make him believe at the end of a date that she really doesn’t want to do more than kiss him on the cheek outside her apartment? Your mouth said no, but your yoga pants said yes …

You might not understand all of the reasons some women find this blog post offensive, because it might not be your everyday reality to have to cope with people who think that your underlying motive for any behavior or outfit or comment or action is showing off your sexuality for the purpose of securing a strong, hard, and virile high-value mate. When you consider just how exhausting that really is for some people, you might understand why we aim to dress so comfortably in a world that is too often uncomfortable. Have you ever heard of the male gaze? Here …

Feel free to disagree with me in the comments, or add your analysis on other elements of the original blog post you find troubling, offensive, or wrong. Just remember, it’s a free country, but it’s my blog.

This entry was posted in advice you didn't ask for, feminists & feminism and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Denying Women’s Agency (AKA the Yoga Pants Kerfuffle)

  1. Pingback: Oh, Yoga Pants! Sound And Fury And Downward Dog. | Julie Gillis

  2. I started off thinking the guy had writer’s block so was using this as an exercise. Then I thought he was a dumb ass. I ended up thinking he seriously needs to consider professional help.

  3. Pingback: Weekend link dump for February 24 – Off the Kuff

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