Recently, yoga pants broke the Internets. Because I am opinionated, and because I love yoga pants, I have to throw in my two cents. I know, too many people have already said just about everything there is to say. But I’m going to say what I have to say anyway.
First, I want to commend the original poster for making the statement that no longer wearing yoga pants or leggings was a personal decision, and that she doesn’t feel like it’s every woman’s job to follow her lead. However, I disagree with her, and here’s why:
1. It is not my job to control other people’s thoughts.
Growing up in a Southern Baptist home-school family, I heard the “dress modestly so that you don’t make anyone stumble/lust/think bad thoughts about you” line a million and one times. Am I against dressing modestly? No. Here’s the problem: modesty is subjective. I have decided to dress in a way that makes me feel comfortable and occasionally accentuates my body. So when it’s 95 degrees and 95% humidity, you bet your floor-length skirt I’m going to be in a tank top and shorts. I am not going to cover myself from neck to ankle so that a random guy doesn’t have perverted thoughts about me. This puts all the responsibility on me, and not whoever might be looking at me. Their thoughts are not my responsibility. Which leads me to my second point.
2. This train of thought encourages victim blaming.
When it becomes my responsibility what others think about me by the way I dress, it perpetuates victim blaming. Saying, “Well, s/he wore [clothing], so s/he asked for it,” when a person is sexually harassed or raped is victim-blaming. When I was raped, I was wearing jeans, sneakers, and an over-sized, baggy band t-shirt. But even if I had been wearing a miniskirt and a crop-top, it still would not have been my fault. I was overpowered and forced into an act that I did not want to commit. My clothing choices had nothing to do with it. In fact, I’m pretty sure if you were to ask the guy who raped me, he couldn't have cared less what I was wearing at the time, nor would he be able to remember. And yet, when anyone hears about something like that happening, one of their first questions is always, “What were they wearing?” This is unacceptable, and we as a society must stop blaming people’s wrong thoughts or actions on what the victim may have been wearing (or how much they had to drink, or how flirtatious they were being, etc.).
3. You're basically calling my son incompetent.
Yup, I said it. By saying that she will no longer wear yoga pants in public so that no guys think lustfully about her, she is also saying that men are animals and have no control over their thoughts. I hope that we raise our son well enough to where he is respectful of all people; and that, if he is thinking any “bad” thoughts about any person, he is able to change what he is thinking about. I already know that my son is not stupid, and if he is anything like his Papa, he will know and be in control of his own mind.
“But wait! I thought you were a Christian! What about not being a stumbling block for your brother?!”
Here’s the thing. If you read that phrase in context, what Paul was telling the church was to not do things that were not necessarily sins, but that they knew would make being a Christian confusing more difficult for newer converts. In other words, even though eating meat is no longer a sin, if someone else feels it is a sin, don't eat meat in front of them. But it’s still okay to eat meat.
I’ll put it this way. If someone in my church tells the congregation that they’ve been struggling with alcoholism, I’m not going to invite them to my home for beers. But that’s not going to stop me from enjoying a glass of wine or hard cider with dinner now and again. So if someone in my church says that they’re having a hard time not thinking lustful thoughts when they see women in yoga pants, I’m not going to wear yoga pants to a church function out of respect for that person. That person is still responsible for his or her own thoughts. 1 Timothy 2:22 (ESV) says, “So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” That means it’s the looker’s responsibility *gasp* to look away if they start thinking bad things, not the wearer’s job to stop wearing leggings and start wearing formless dresses that cover them neck to ankle.
In summation, if you feel convicted to stop wearing these or other articles of clothing, that’s fine. But just do it. Please don’t make yourself righteous and continue to enable the above points. You’re not doing anyone a service.
Mama Bear of one Baby Bear, Bean, who both love Papa Bear, and live in a crafty, gluten-free cozy den.