This month, Montana representative David Moore pushed for a bill that would ban yoga pants and “any device, costume, or covering that gives the appearance of or simulates the genitals, pubic hair, anus region, or pubic hair region or exposes any device worn as a cover over the nipple or areola of the female breast that simulates and gives the realistic appearance of a nipple or areola while in a public place”. So basically, he would have any article of form fitting clothing banned.
After an uproar from across the nation, he claimed that it was all a joke. In his defense, while he did say that they should be illegal, the bill doesn’t specifically address yoga pants, but they would be included in the ban.
Unfortunately, America has been fighting this problem for quite some time. Women had to fight to wear pants, and then mini-skirts, and now, apparently, yoga pants. This proposed ban only skirts the surface of the bigger issue here, and that is one of human repression in a self-proclaimed free nation.
The Education System
Schools are being criticized for their dress codes from all sides of the issue. While certain rules do impact boys, the girls bear most of the scrutiny. Are her shorts too short, her shirt collar too low, her pants too tight? Is her outfit distracting boys?
In 2014, the US ranked 14th in the index of cognitive skills and educational attainment, according to Pearson. Don’t worry, we aren’t always that poorly ranked. According to Ipsos MORI, we are ranked second in ignorance levels regarding social happenings. Our students are not doing that well.
Considering these rankings, is our dress code really the most pressing issue for board meetings? A very popular reason for these objections is that boys cannot adequately focus when girls adorn such “risque” clothing, possibly leading to the poor rankings. The truth is that there will always be distractions. School is designed to educate and prepare students for their careers in the working world. In the real world, there will be distractions. Boys and girls alike need to be prepared and able to focus their attention on the matter at hands. We are doing no service trying to shield our youth from things they will see as soon as they walk out the school doors. It is also, in my opinion, quite rude of administrators to determine that students cannot operate simply because a girl in class is wearing tight clothing.
Supporters of such bans argue adamantly that such attire is not work-appropriate. I would agree. As a manager I would not be inclined to hire a business professional dressed so casually. Laws needn’t govern what people wear in the workplace, as each environment is different and such matters should be left to the discretion of those in charge of the business.
So you probably shouldn’t wear yoga pants or low cut camisoles to a job interview or at work. Fair enough. But ideally, 128 hours a week are spent outside of the work place. Personally, I like to be comfortable during that time. I am no stranger to throwing on a pair of yoga pants when I need to run and pick up some milk, take my dogs on a walk, or go to the doctors office because I have a high fever.
These prudent rules stem from our Puritan roots. Conservatism is seen as the appropriate lifestyle in America, especially among older generations. A change is coming though, it’s evident among the more liberal millennials. And it’s beautiful.
Social media has brought light an ever growing campaign, FreeTheNipple. With over 6.67 million hits on Google, people are paying attention. Celebrities and fans alike are joining in with potentially controversial pictures and statements. In a bigger scope, this is a movement to release women from the negative belief that she should hide her body and be ashamed of her sexuality. It’s me being forced to wear a hoodie in a boiling school all day because my shirt showed my collarbone. It’s my roommate being told she couldn’t work out in the gym in only a sports bra. It’s front page material when a celebrity nude is leaked.
When you think about the human body, it’s quite miraculous. It can endure endless stresses and mistreatments. It can heal and grow and protect. It is in constant action taking care of us. Why should we be ashamed of it? We each have one, why should we hide it?
The thing with this movement is that it isn’t trying to force people to wear less clothing or clothing that they are uncomfortable with. We are just demanding that we be allowed to flaunt a piece of art that we work on and nourish daily.
Humans aren’t born ashamed of their body, we teach them to be. We tell them to cover up, to be classy, not slutty. This past summer, I spent some time in Europe. We wandered into a park in Berlin and a beach in France where nudity was permitted. Nude sunbathers laid by while men played frisbee and kids ran around. The world kept spinning, no one even seemed to care. It’s a commonplace in areas across the world to go topless in your free time.
We need to stop encouraging body issues. We need to refrain from telling girls to cover up; that it isn’t attractive. We need to stop embarrassing youth for their choice of clothing. We need to raise our children to respect the body, not sexualize it. This isn’t a movement to encourage sex. It’s a movement to promote self-love, equality, and comfort. Let youth and adults both love their bodies, not be ashamed or afraid of them. It starts with the freedom of what is deemed appropriate to wear. Do politicians and school boards really think that wearing a pair of yoga pants is hurting this country? What are they afraid of?