By, Mikayla Chen
A response to “Why Yoga Pants are Bad” by Honor Jones
Winsor students can often be seen in the hallways and in the LOC wearing yoga pants. While we have faced controversy for wearing shorts and “revealing” shirts, we have not been criticized for wearing yoga pants (yet). However, in a recent New York Times article, Honor Jones, a senior credited editor, calls out women for wearing leggings. Jones’ primary support for her argument is that women are “wearing [yoga pants] because they’re sexy.” Not only does she support her argument through sexist claims, but also provides a substitution for the leggings that women don in the gym: sweatpants.
Recently, there has been a committee discussing the dress code and what it stands for. This committee is working to write a philosophy of dress as well as a new dress code. Most of the problems discussed during the committee have been about shorts and shirts, whereas pants, let alone leggings, have not been any source of issue, yet Jones insists that leggings are meant to be “sexy.”
Jones says that “No one looks good in sweatpants. But that’s not the point… They exist for two activities: lounging and exercising.” By stating that “no one looks good in sweatpants,” Jones criticizes women for wearing particular clothes in order to look sexy. Even if the goal was to look “sexy” at the gym, why should others not wear leggings just because Jones says so? Nothing is wrong with dressing the way you want; gym attire is comfortable and supposed to make you feel confident, and yoga pants do just that. In addition to her rude comment, Jones also attacks women over 30 when she says, “But wouldn’t it be easier to [be fit and liberated and conquer the world] in pants that don’t threaten to show every dimple and roll in every woman over 30?” Through this remark, Jones is shaming women based on their body and age.
These body-shaming remarks contradict her claim that “It’s not good manners for women to tell other women how to dress.” But isn’t she doing just that by stating what women can wear and cannot wear in a gym? She then continues by saying “Women who criticize other women for dressing hot are seen as criticizing women themselves — a sad conflation if you think about it.” By attacking women and saying that they should not wear yoga pants to workout, Jones criticizes their choices to wear what they want to and almost ends up looking hypocritical herself.
Jones’ second point, that sweatpants “exist for… exercising,” has received some criticism not only online but in the Winsor community. When asked about whether or not she would work out in sweatpants, Avery B. ’20 said, “No thanks. I’ll opt out of that.” Avery’s sentiments are reflected in many other students’ opinions. In a recent Instagram poll, 92% of respondents said that they would rather workout in leggings than sweatpants. When working out, one typically sweats, and although Jones may think so, sweatpants are not sweat-friendly. Sweatpants, in fact, induce sweat! Not only do sweatpants make you sweat, but they can also get in the way when working out. Clare Q. ’19 added, with a bit of humor, “One day I wore sweatpants to Cross Country, and it was the worst day of my life… It was freshman year, and I’ll never forget it.” Clare mentioned that it had been muddy that day, and the sweatpants had dragged due to the fact that it was wet. Her experience thus proves that during any type of high intensity workout, sweatpants can get in the way and inhibit motion.
In essence, Jones is arguing that women wear tight leggings at the gym “to look hot at the gym,” and thus, she says that women favor fashion over functionality. While there are many issues with this claim, Jones’ criticisms ultimately perpetuate the constant shaming of women’s bodies. Even though members of the Winsor community have been unhappy with a particular pair of sweatpants (the Sweatpants of Shame), no-one is against sweatpants as a whole. Rather, we just believe that the reasons one chooses to wear leggings is not to be “sexy.” Maybe the next time I go into the workout room, I’ll see more leggings, just to show Jones that she must again consider WHY women choose to wear leggings, and that, in fact, leggings can be both fashionable and functional.