An op-ed in the New York Times has many people seeing red over its claims that yoga pants are “bad for women.”
The column, credited to senior staff editor Honor Jones — though some have speculated that this is a generic pseudonym used by multiple people at the Gray Lady — calls out yoga pants for being too constricting, sexy, and unforgiving. According to the Times, they “threaten to show every dimple and roll in every woman over 30” and offer less comfort and modesty than the baggy sweatpants of yore.
The opinion piece also argues that women wear tight workout leggings to “look hot at the gym,” choosing fashion over functionality.
“We aren’t wearing these workout clothes because they’re cooler or more comfortable,” “Jones” writes. “(You think the selling point of Lululemon’s Reveal Tight Precision pants is really the way their moth-eaten design provides a ‘much-needed dose of airflow’?) We’re wearing them because they’re sexy.”
The op-ed goes on to lambaste the booming fitness industry for pressuring women to splurge on pricey gym classes and the latest athleisure looks. But while there’s no doubt that a SoulCycle membership and a gym bag stuffed with Lululemon leggings have a certain prestige, the yoga pants tirade has rubbed many readers the wrong way.
Much of the backlash stems from the implication that yoga pants are too tight and “sexy” to be comfortable, and that anyone with a less-than-perfect body should opt for something slouchier. It’s also worth noting that women who wear workout leggings are often criticized for being overly casual. They’re either too seductive or too sloppy, with women getting shamed either way.
As someone who has practiced yoga for years, it’s unbelievable that you think we wear yoga pants because they’re “sexy?!” We wear them because they allow us to maneuver in ways other clothing doesn’t. Alternatively, seeing if you aren’t in the proper position is just as important https://t.co/cy70QBWnrF
— kimmie caruba (@kimmiecaruba) February 18, 2018
I see someone has posted yet another op-ed on the perils of wearing yoga pants after 30.
Lemme clear this up for everyone:
Wear yoga pants if you want to. If somebody doesn’t like your over-30 dimpled rolls… tell them not to look. Dress for you, not for anyone else
— Kodi Kat (@puma_legal) February 18, 2018
Has anyone written about the fact that leggings and yoga pants are important because they don’t *hurt* to wear? Like, congrats if your jeans don’t leave red marks on you by the end of the day, but I’ve never known that life.
— ✨⛸ Jaime Green ✨ (@jaimealyse) February 18, 2018
Why do people gotta hate on good things to be edGY? What’s the point? Starbucks is good, yoga pants are comfortable, greys anatomy gets addicting, and target is full of cheap things that are adorable. You just sound like an uncomfortable, uncaffinated, bitter person
— savannah (@trauma_mama_) February 18, 2018
serenely reading the NYT yoga pants take, completely unbothered bc my ass looks bad in all sorts of pants
— Brandy Jensen (@BrandyLJensen) February 18, 2018
Okay @nytimes. 1) I am sure you had your pick of thoughtful opinion pieces for this Sunday’s edition…and this was your choice? 2) Women writing op-eds about other women’s sartorial choices is bad for women 3) You can have my yoga pants when you pry them from my cold dead booty https://t.co/8RU9l8iVde
— Candice Adams (@TheCandiceAdams) February 18, 2018
I think we should march on the Times in our yoga pants. https://t.co/I2hP2Tfq2e
— ana marie cox (@anamariecox) February 19, 2018
yoga pants are fine
sweat pants are fine
pants in general are fine, even cargos and even … EVEN … capris
slacks is a funny word and we should use it more
but let's just chill out about pants shall we
get your pants judgment out of my face
— Jen Doll (@thisisjendoll) February 18, 2018
Sweat pants, yoga pants, heels or flats. Long skirts, mini skirts, blonde hair or blue. How about the joy of being able to make the choice you want as a full grownass woman? https://t.co/I9BqXokFLp
— Kirstine Stewart (@kirstinestewart) February 18, 2018
The op-ed does raise one valid point: Sweatpants are comfy too. Still, they’re not for everyone, and nobody should feel pressured to wear one thing over another. A pregnant woman might prefer the stretch of a yoga legging; someone else might want a garment that wicks away sweat, or something tapered that won’t catch on her jump rope or Reformer machine.
Yoga Girl CEO and instructor Rachel Brathen told Yahoo Lifestyle that fashion judgments have no place in the yoga studio.
“I very much disagree [with the article],” she said. “I do not wear yoga pants because they are sexy, and I don’t think many women in the yoga community do. Some might feel sexy in them and wear them for that reason, and in that case, good on them! I am not one to criticize or judge.
“The reason yoga pants are tight-fitting is simple: It makes for a more fluid and comfortable yoga practice,” she continued. “You can practice yoga in anything — yoga pants, sweatpants, naked, what have you. At the end of the day, you should wear what makes you feel comfortable. Clothes shouldn’t be the focus of your practice; your breath should. I find that having to think about my pants sliding down or accidentally stepping on a wide pant leg when I’m transitioning to my Warrior II is a distraction (however minor) and if I can avoid it, I will.”
Bottom line: Wear what suits you, don’t judge others who do the same, ignore the haters, and brace yourself for the eventual takedown on sports bras. You know it’s coming.
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