I know this may be a shocking turn of events for some – but what a woman wears is not an excuse for whatever a man may do or say.
Let me back up a bit and explain where this is all coming from. I am a regular lover of Good Morning America. I enjoy their banter, and am basically in love with Robin Roberts (such a shero!). Yesterday, on GMA, they had an interview with a woman who has decided she will no longer wear yoga pants or leggings because it incites men to lustful thoughts, among other reasons.
When I heard this, my reaction was a resounding:
Her reasons for doing so were as follows:
(1) To be more Christian
(2) To avoid causing other men to have lustful thoughts for her
(3) Because her husband said that he had a hard time refraining from looking at other women when they wore these things
First, if someone wants to wear something because it allows them to feel closer to their religious beliefs or because they feel as though it is the more “Godly” thing to do – that is totally fine. Women wearing head scarves or burqas or, yes, not wearing yoga pants, if they so choose, is fine with me. If you feel something honors your religion and you want to wear it (or not, in the case of the yoga pants) that is completely legit. For the same reason I believe in freedom of religion and freedom of expression, by all means, wear what makes you feel best in terms of your religious beliefs.
What I have issue with are her other two reasons.
(1) Inciting other men to lustful thoughts
To me, that is the same thing as when a woman is raped, that people ask what she was wearing. As if, by her clothing, the woman was “asking for it” or “had it coming.”
NEWSFLASH: WHAT WOMEN WEAR IS NOT AN EXCUSE FOR POOR BEHAVIOR BY A MALE.
See, there’s this little thing called self-control. The same way that when I see a good looking man at the beach, I don’t feel compelled to go grab his butt or hoot and holler at him about how great looking his backside is, most men can tame their inner playboy and refrain from grabbing at women or calling to them for what they wear.
I trust that men can control themselves if I happen to wear yoga pants with a big sweater and some boots (as I’ve actually chronicled as one of my favorite outfits here). Ironically, when I have most been honked at or cat-called has been when I look like a pile of crap (i.e. gross hair, no makeup, baggy sweats). So to assume that just because something is tight on my legs equates with a man’s attention is so blatantly false, that I can barely even deal with it.
Additionally, what about skinny jeans? They are often just as figure flattering as leggings or yoga pants – so what makes those ok and these pants not? Again, what a woman wears is NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR OTHER MEN’S THOUGHTS ON IT. Lordie, if that was the case, then my dad’s thoughts on my wardrobe would have me dressing like I was in a nunnery.
My second issue with her article is this: she clearly does not trust her husband.
As a happily married woman for the past 3 years, all I can say is – if you can’t trust your husband enough to look at another woman and not want to run off with her, then there are deeper issues in your marriage.
As I often remind my hubby – he is more than welcome to look at the menu, because he knows he has already made his selection. And vice versa for me – I can lust after good looking men, so long as I come home to him. It’s basically the museum rule – you can look all you want – you just can’t touch.
I trust that my husband loves me and wants to be with me enough that I am not in any way threatened by him gazing at another woman. In fact, there have been times where I have thought someone’s body was so amazing – that I have pointed out another female to him. (Long story short – but there was this one woman whose butt was literally the dictionary definition of the perfect derriere and I had to show him. Even I couldn’t look away! lol)
I understand that I haven’t been married for decades yet and there are challenges in every marriage (some of which we have already faced). But to be so concerned that your husband’s thoughts of another woman’s good looks could someday turn into action – that indicates a complete lack of trust. And if you can’t trust your spouse – then why are you even married to them?
Again, I understand that this woman was not saying ALL women should dress this way (though that disclaimer on her post came after the backlash against all this started). I also completely respect if someone wants to dress a certain way to honor their religion. By all means – do what makes you feel best where that is concerned.
But we (both this author and as a society) have GOT to stop blaming women for the thoughts and actions of men. Men are fully formed human beings and adults. They can and should be able to control themselves. It’s not like they see a good looking woman and lose all self control. Let’s start acting like men can actually handle themselves and stop blaming women.
And ladies – here’s a great way to determine if you should marry someone: Do you worry he might run off with another good looking woman if given the chance? If yes, don’t marry him. If no, and you can trust him to look and not touch, then you can move past go and collect $200.
Moral of this soapbox? I will be rocking my leggings and yoga pants for a long time to come.