She’s got a right to worry that her husband might look at other women and be moved to lustful thoughts. That other men might look at her own derriere with sex on their minds.
She’s got a right. But she may have it all wrong.
There’s a whole world out there she and her ilk want to ignore. It’s a world moving beyond the idea that yoga pants are even an issue.
See, there’s this thing called sports. Additionally there are these things called cycling and running and swimming and triathlons. There are a whole lot of women wearing a lot less than yoga pants doing these sports. They’ve learned to appreciate their own bodies not just for what they look like, but what they can do.
It’s a rather “in your face” moment for any man when he realizes that the gal in the bikini bottoms just dusted his ass during the run portion of a triathlon. Or a 10k. Or a local criterium for that matter.
At that moment a guy can certainly admire the shape of a woman and have lustful thoughts. But he must also reckon with the fact that he is not the one who controls how that woman views herself.
That’s true for other women as well. The very competitive world of female appearance has a lot of variations. There are skinny models and plus size models competing for ownership of female body image. There are movie stars like Jamie Lee Curtis going honest about the ruse of being a sex symbol.
Recently a friend of mine posted an image of a Dancing With the Stars model on Facebook. She classily encouraged him in his appreciation at meeting her. See, he’s long been facing a life-threatening disease. His male friends and some female friends picked up on the lighthearted thrill of an encounter with a beautiful dancer. But a few jumped in to defend his wife from any perceived jealousy at the idea of her husband ogling the comely dancer. She wore a sexy dress. And omigod there’s a body in there!
In truth the world is finally coming to grips with the fact that having a body and even showing it off is not a sin. While the world of pornography is not exactly a happy place in some quarters due to human trafficking and abusive behaviors, there’s also a whole world of people out there snapping pictures of themselves naked because its fun. It teaches us something about ourselves and body image.
In many respects this widespread exhibitionism is performing an important role for society. In Europe where nude beaches are both legal and practical, public nudity is no big deal. In that context of body honesty, yoga pants are not anything prurient at all. It’s the taboo perception that they are revealing that is the real problem here.
Which is why women wearing running bras in public is no longer a problem at all. The taboo with such apparel has been removed by the practical necessity. It’s rather like society is saying, “So women have boobs. So what?”
We all have parts. Some people consider them naughty. That’s their weird little problem. Just go to a triathlon transition zone and watch whether people are concerned about their genitals. Quite the opposite. And while women may behave a bit more discreetly in such situations, while men still tend to be naked like pigs, those are issues that have their own rules and decorum. It’s not about the nakedness, but how you carry it.
Hang around enough female athletes and you’ll find a patent honesty in their regard for the bodies of other women. You’ll hear things like, “I wish I had her ass.” Or, “She’s got nice boobage.” To the credit of so many women, they realize that appreciation is not always sexualization. Soon enough, that model (no pun intended) becomes adopted by men as well. Pretty soon men and women are working out together wearing whatever they want and sex is not at the forefront of their minds.
Sure, there are always hormones flying around. Women aren’t immune either. Far from it. Where else did the term Man Meat come from?
By the time any one of us views enough selfies in all their forms, we come to realize that there are far more banal similarities between us than prurient definitions. Even the celebrity Fappening in which the iCloud accounts of stars like Jennifer Lawrence and Reese Witherspoon (to name a couple) were hacked, it all pointed out that even these famous people aren’t all that creative or compelling in their body explorations.
That’s the real message here. That making yoga pants into some symbol for lust is not some great insight. What’s the alternative, dressing women in burkas? There was a time when just the sight of an ankle sent men’s heart’s racing. But an ankle truly is no different than a breast if you build enough maturity into your viewpoint. It’s one of the tarsnakes of existence that we have these bodies and have to figure out what to do with them. We work to make them better and what, go into hiding?
So rather than take this naively childish approach to biblical interpretation in which we’re supposed to tear our eyes out rather than consider the shape of another human being, let’s stop and think for a moment. Could “pluck out your eye” just as easily mean remove the source of lust at its root? Perhaps, God Forbid, it’s really intended to convey that pleasuring yourself may be an acceptable way to pluck lust out of your eye and out of your heart.
I once had a doctor tell me that frequent sex was good for my prostate. “Great,” I responded. “Want to write me a prescription for that?”
He laughed, but he was also serious. “Take care of yourself if you have to,” he admonished.
This whole repression thing never really works out the way it is supposed to anyway. All those preachers and self-righteous politicians decrying sex while secretly engaging in all sorts of shenanigans prove the point over and over again. Dealing with sexual outlooks in a healthy way is far better than trying to keep it all in, only to succumb in some massive way.
The great Coming Out of the human body both male and female needs to continue. It’s time to stop with the immature approach with regard to what’s underneath our clothes.
“Omigod there’s a body in there!” How many billions of times do we have to say that before it’s no longer a surprise? That’s insane.
Athletes are truly leading the way in this regard. Building a healthy image also helps you regard others in a similar way. So strip down, work out and stop worrying about what’s underneath the yoga pants. It’s a body. Get over it.