So many people have asked me for my opinion ever since a popular blogger named Veronica Partridge announced back in January in a viral post called, “Why I Chose To No Longer Wear Leggings,” that she would give up leggings because they clashed with her Christian principles. Maybe you read the article (it was all over my Facebook news feed for days), or maybe you heard people talking about it (it made major news channels and publications!). In short, the author felt that the tight fit of leggings and yoga pants causes women to become objects of desire for men.
She felt that she was causing a temptation every time she slid into a comfy pair of clingy pants and left her house. She vowed to respect her husband, and any man who might catch a glimpse of her grocery shopping stretchy black pants, by never wearing leggings in public again. Admittedly, the post was a little tough to swallow for anyone with feminist sensibilities. To her credit, Ms. Partridge did make it very clear that this was her personal decision and not something she believed every women must choose.
I’ve hesitated to chime in until now because I wanted to make sure I didn’t rush to judgment and I worried that the fact that I actually design and produce athletic apparel would make me seem biased. But now I am ready to give my two cents. So here it is. I don’t think Veronica is wrong. I know, this is probably shocking coming from someone who has made a career out of dressing women in form-fitting yoga pants and leggings. The thing is, I’ve learned that everybody has the right to do what’s comfortable for them.
I founded BaliniSports on the mantra of every woman having the freedom to do what is right and true for her, without limits and without exceptions. For myself, as a yoga practitioner, a pair of form-fitting yoga pants gives me the freedom to move freely and glide around my mat with the grace of a butterfly. When I wear my yoga pants out for coffee or while running errands, I feel like I am completely free from restraints. I stand a little taller and make every movement a little more intentional.
My pants also make me feel cool on hot days and well-supported. I don’t think yoga pants are creating temptation, but rather showing that a woman is connected with her body and unafraid to turn every movement into an act of balance, strength, and grace. Objectified? Lusted after? I don’t have time to sit around and worry about whether or not my body, something that is connected to my spirit and reflective of my whole being, is attracting a stare or two from men. I refuse to retreat into baggy clothes or pieces that hinder my athletic performance simply because I am worried about thoughts that are out of my control. In fact, I think we can actually re-frame the way men think about women’s bodies by getting them used to the idea of women wearing comfortable, functional pieces that empower them. After all, I produce clothing that enhances performance and staves off sweat stains through moisture-wicking technology.
I chuckle at the idea of any man thinking that the high-performance, meticulously made pants I’m wearing are actually for his benefit rather than to maximize my comfort and performance at the gym and in life. Frankly, I find clothing that is made in inhumane conditions or using toxic materials WAY more offensive than a pair of fitted leggings on a woman, which is why I make eco-friendly gear. That's something for us all to think about when we factor morality into our shopping practices.
Like I said, the author of the blog must do what is right for her. I, of course, must do what’s right for me. In the end we must all ask ourselves, Will I dress for myself or for other people? As long as women want to dress for themselves, I’ll be here designing cutting-edge, high-quality yoga pants that maximize every moment.