7 Things To Consider Before Telling Women Not To Wear Leggings

7 Things To Consider Before Telling Women Not To Wear Leggings

It's not up to you to decide.

Last week, Fox News broadcasted a clip in response to a viral video posted on the Internet in October claiming that “leggings aren’t pants.” Of course, there are ways to report on such things in a respectful, unbiased way, however, I think most would agree that three middle-aged men making crude and, at times, suggestive comments to the faces of three different legging-clad women is neither respectful nor unbiased. They proceeded to answer questions regarding women “parading” around in whatever they please and the various things they will or will not allow their daughters to wear.

Among the comments the men made were statements suggesting that one woman had “earned” the right to wear the leggings, that leggings were only appropriate for younger girls if they were also wearing a diaper, and that women should really only wear clothes out and about if it would be appropriate to wear said clothes in a monastery (as a side note, the rolled up sleeves of one of the men on the panel would be considered disrespectful in a monastery). Another man admitted that he himself wears tights from time to time. Seeing something like this on such a widely watched news source, whose (often forgotten) job is to report rather than create newsworthy material, was infuriating to me. To avoid seeming as disrespectful and tactless as these men, here are seven things to consider before telling a woman what she can or cannot wear.

Women are, in fact, people.

People like looking good, and people like being comfortable, and there are lots of different ways to accomplish these things but leggings do them both.

Underneath those leggings is just a human body.

You have probably taken middle school biology. Maybe you’ve even seen a naked person before. Chances are, you know what a human body looks like so leggings should not be “shocking” or “offensive” to you just because they make it so that you can tell that a woman’s body is shaped like a body.

You get to decide where you look.

Sometimes I watch scary movies and I look away during the gory parts. Sometimes when I’m driving, the sun gets in my eyes and I put the sun visor down. You get to decide where you look and if leggings bother you, you could consider looking at something that doesn’t. I haven’t asked Hollywood to stop making gory movies or asked the sun to go somewhere else so it isn’t in my eyes.

No one is claiming that every situation is an okay time to wear leggings (or anything else for that matter).

We know what we’re doing. Most women probably would not wear leggings to a wedding. If an employer decides that leggings are too casual for work, that employee gets to decide if it is worth it to her (or him or them) to go against their employer’s wishes. If a school has a legitimate uniform for both girls and boys it is understandable if there are consequences when anyone breaks it. But, it is when people start zeroing in on specific garments and claiming that women should not be seen in them during their everyday lives that they start appearing sexist, juvenile, and generally disrespectful.

By trying to decide how women dress, you are propagating a culture of dramatic sexism.

Victim blame? Efforts to ban abortions? Ridiculously insufficient maternity-leave policies? All of these things are a result of someone deciding what a woman can and cannot do with her body, often so that men can avoid facing their thoughts, actions or responsibilities.

Body shaming is a huge issue in this culture, and leggings-shaming only increases that problem.

If you tell a woman that certain parts of her body, while completely covered in fabric, are unfit for public eyes, there is a good chance this will breed insecurity.

If she’s old enough to dress herself, she’s old enough to make her own decisions.

Any responsibility to help decide what a woman should wear ends roughly at the age of three. If the woman has the motor skills to put clothing on her own body and the mental development to understand which clothes go where, she should be allowed – and encouraged – to make her own decisions when getting dressed in the morning.

Disclaimer: this article is specifically focused on women and leggings because of the recent Fox News clip, however it is not to say that other people wearing leggings are not targets of unfair treatment, or that telling ANYONE what to wear during their everyday life is acceptable.

Cover Image Credit: w.b./l.f.

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2. Trying to work with Democrats

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3. Lowered unemployment

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4. Made it easier for military veterans to access therapy

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5. Counterterrorism

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6. Got us out of school Monday!

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1. Like, every tweet.

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Hey, Do You Even Know What The Feminist Movement Is About?

If you don't think you need feminism – you are entitled to that opinion, but I will keep fighting for us both.

I keep seeing a lot of articles from women claiming that they don’t need feminism. If you think that, fine.

You are entitled to your own opinion no matter how wrong I think it is, but so am I. You may not see all the ways that feminism has touched your life, but I do.

I can use my vote to have a voice in my government. I can choose what’s best for my future in terms of education and career. I have rights over what happens to my body. All outcomes of the fights feminists have fought for women in our country. If you choose not to honor those fights, that is up to you. All choices, however, come with consequences.

What we conceive as our rights have not always been so, and could cease to be so at any time. The last year has proven that the unimaginable can in fact happen and that there are individuals in high stakeholding positions of our country that can make unconstitutional decisions at the drop of a dime.

I need feminism because there are people out there who want to defund health institutions focused on providing necessary services to low-income women, who would otherwise suffer without.

I need feminism because there are people out there who think that a woman still has a certain role to be filled based on their own preconceived notions of what it means to be a woman, rather than an individual woman’s hopes and dreams. I need feminism because there are people out there who think women have an obligation to abide by certain rules that have no standing in the lives of men.

I need feminism because there are people out there who are offended by women using their breasts for their natural, biological intentions but find it perfectly acceptable to use breasts to sell their products by sexualizing the female body in advertisements.

I need feminism because my little brother is six and already thinks there are certain toys he can’t play with because they are “not for little boys”. I need feminism because our criminal justice system cares more about the future of sexual assailants than their victims. I need feminism because there are people out there who find it appropriate to scream out profanities to women on the street and find no issue with making women feel uncomfortable as they go about an average day. I need feminism because when I bring up any of these issues or even claim myself as a feminist I am responded to with rolled eyes and tightened facial features. People are literally rolling their eyes at the idea of equality.

Oh, you don’t like feminists because you think they are extremists? There are extremists in literally any identifiable group of people you look at. There are conservatives, and then there are alt-right neo-Nazi white supremacists. There are Muslims, and then there is ISIS. There are Christians, and then there are Westboro Baptists. None of these groups are defined by those who take their definitions and doctrines into their own hands and mold them into identities to hide behind while they fulfill their own agendas. The same is true for feminists.

Feminism is about equality of all people (regardless of their gender, sex, sexual orientation, ethnicity, race, religion, or whatever other categories by which we can further define people). Feminism looks to alleviate inequality as it relates to and is caused by patriarchal norms and misogynistic attitudes. If that sounds anything like hating men or just being too lazy to shave or whatever other stereotypes you can think of, then you are grossly missing the point.

This is why I need feminism. I need it for myself, my mother, my grandma, my brother, my niece, my nephew, my neighbor, my community.

So if you don’t think you need feminism I am truly happy for you that you haven’t yet felt the oppression that women all over the country are facing, but I strongly urge you to really re-evaluate what you think feminism is and why you don’t think you need it. If you still feel the same way – you are entitled to that opinion, but I will keep fighting for us both.

Cover Image Credit: The Anti Feminist Bank//Facebook

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