In Defense of Yoga Pants (and the Women Who Wear Them)
While most of us living in 2018 are concerned about tackling such issues as gun control, sexual assault and gender equality, there is a woman who has made it her mission to change the world — one pair of yoga pants at a time.
In a New York Times op-ed titled “Why Yoga Pants Are Bad for Women,” senior staff editor Honor Jones uses a whopping 870 words to blast the popular and quite versatile athletic attire along with pretty much anyone who wears them. People are very annoyed, to say the least, and rightfully so.
Jones (which some people are speculating is a nom de plume) accuses women of wearing the tight, black pants only “because they’re sexy” and to “look hot at the gym” — not because they are actually functional, comfortable and totally awesome.
In Jones’ opinion, the only people who are allowed to wear tight athletic pants are “deep-sea divers” and “Olympic speedskaters” (no, cyclists and runners —and people who practice yoga! — you aren’t allowed), and the rest of us should just stick to the baggy sweats for our workouts. And this is even more important if you fall into the over-30 category, which, according to Jones, means you have no business whatsoever even considering donning a pair. Nice.
“Women can, of course, be fit and liberated. We may be able to conquer the world wearing spandex,” Jones writes. “But wouldn’t it be easier to do so in pants that don’t threaten to show every dimple and roll in every woman over 30?” Hear that, ladies? Unless you look “perfect,” you better cover up yourself.
Jones also puts the whole boutique fitness industry on blast for pressuring women to spend lots of cash on classes and the accompanying “athleisure” attire required to attend, which, in her opinion, sends the wrong message to women. “When yoga pants are the first thing grown women put on every morning, we can’t help absorbing the message that staying fit is our No. 1 purpose in life,” she claims.
While Jones’ message is somewhat feminist in nature and deep down inside she quite possibly means well, her campaign targeting body-conscious workout attire is completely absurd.
If “Honor Jones” really is a nom de plume, it was probably a good idea, because the online backlash has been swift and brutal.
Most of us who have taken a yoga, Pilates or Spinning class in baggy sweats can attest to the fact they are simply uncomfortable and just sort of get in the way. An important part of yoga and Pilates is form, and wearing loose-fitting pants could make it more difficult to see exactly what you are doing. Loose pants could even be dangerous on Spin bikes and reformers because they have a tendency to get caught in the machinery.
But aside from the obvious logistics, Jones should not be shaming anyone who chooses to walk around in leggings. With so much dialogue about body shaming and the importance of body positivity happening right now, launching an attack against women who choose to wear an item of clothing is completely uncool. We have made so much progress in recent years to be more inclusive in regards to sexual orientation, clothing size, ethnicity and beauty in general, making this trite declaration of “Why Yoga Pants Are Bad for Women” is 50 shades of wrong.
Women, wear your yoga pants (or whatever other article of clothing you please) with pride. And Jones, please find something more compelling to write about — like the pygmy three-toed sloth or world peace.
Leah Groth is a writer and editor currently based in Philadelphia. She has covered topics such as entertainment, parenting, health & wellness for xoJane, Babble, Radar, Fit Pregnancy, Mommy Nearest, Living Healthy and PopDust.