Today, I saw a bumper sticker that should have made me chuckle.
It said, “I love yoga pants.”
This is something you wouldn’t be at all surprised to see in my small, suburban town.
It is a sentiment a lot of women I know would whole-heartedly agree with.
In fact, an entire company I used to work for—made up of primarily women—would have loved to have had that bumper sticker on their car.
I know this, because we used to share memes back and forth about how much we loved being able to work and live in yoga pants—because we had that luxury working for a completely virtual company.
Whenever anyone would ask us what our favorite thing about working from home was, we would all shout out in chorus, “Yoga pants!”
We would even joke about how at least half of us didn’t even do yoga. But they were comfortable to wear when sitting or standing at a desk for multiple hours a day. And during those months when we had wellness challenges, we could take a walking meeting at a moment’s notice, already having the appropriate clothing on. Bonus!
In my small town, I am pretty sure there is a higher than average number of stay-at-home moms that make up the population. Especially judging by the number of women in yoga pants I see in Starbucks or Target—not even just the local gyms—at 9:00, 10:00, or even 11:00 in the morning. Now that I think about it, you can even see them in the early or late afternoons in the carpool or grocery store. The time of day doesn’t matter.
Yoga pants are everywhere.
But here’s the thing about that bumper sticker.
While I might have chuckled at it if it were on a minivan like mine, or a suburban SUV that could fit a million carpool kids, it was not.
It was on a big, beefy pick-up truck. One whose truck bed was filled with what looked like construction equipment, and that was hauling a trailer filled with even more tools and wood and tarps.
And it wasn’t just a little bumper sticker, either.
It was a giant sticker that covered the length of the cab’s rear-window, from end to end.
You. Couldn’t. Miss it.
After I chastised myself for being judgmental in assuming that the truck belonged to a man, I did, in fact, see that that truck was being driven by a male.
And my very first thought was, “Ew.”
And then I felt bad for thinking that.
So, following the example of Brené Brown, I got hooked. And I decided to unpack my feelings about this.
I got curious.
How is it, I thought, that something that would have made me chuckle had I seen it on a light blue minivan, made me creeped out after seeing it on a pickup truck driven by a man?
And in that question, I found my answer.
Because it became creepy.
I don’t know if it was the enormous size of the sticker, or the placement of it—so anyone driving behind him could not possibly miss it.
Yoga pants became creepy.
This innocuous piece of clothing that was made simply to exercise in—at least, in theory—became sexualized.
Now, they are not just something to be worn while strengthening our bodies. (Or, in my case, to sit on the floor and play with my toddlers years ago…or to take kids on a walk to the park.)
Suddenly, these pants became a way in which to objectify women. Again.
And it ticked me off.
And I don’t even do yoga!
Now that my kids are older, I don’t wear yoga pants as a motivation to be more active with my children on a daily basis. Now, they are simply a comfortable option while sitting at a desk all day. Or something quick to throw on before taking the kids to school, or for going on a walk.
Now they are something different entirely.
And it pisses me off.
Don’t get me wrong. I was well aware of the see-through Lululemon scandal from a few years ago. And I have certain, very funny friends who have joked about “leggings not being pants.” But those were our jokes.
And I feel like you took that from us, Mr. “I love yoga pants” truck driver.
So now, I am taking our yoga pants back.
Because they are comfy. And they make me feel active—even if I am not particularly active today.
Even if I just wear them to carpool and Starbucks, or to my son’s football game on Saturday, or to watch Netflix on a weekend evening.
For a moment, you almost changed that.
But we are changing it back.
We are taking back our yoga pants.
Because we don’t want our yoga pants to be a feminist issue.
We just want them to be pants.
Author: Christy Williams
Image: “Baby Mama“
Editor: Travis May
Copy Editor: Callie Rushton
Social Editor: Nicole Cameron