But I wonder why no one thinks it’s strange that the fashion industry has caused women to voluntarily expose their nether regions in this way. I was ashamed for the young women at Mass.
Leggings and yoga pants are the most comfortable clothing item one could probably own, but now it seems like that's also something one should be ashamed of to wear. Women have been scorned and shamed for their choice of clothes, and recently, it came from a truly unexpected source. It came from a Catholic woman, mother to four boys. In a letter penned by Maryann White, she addressed the "leggings problem" and emphasized that figure-hugging, butt-defining leggings were the reason for the male gaze, rape culture, and all of its unsavory implications. Needless to say, many people were rightly pissed off.
She wrote: I’m just a Catholic mother of four sons with a problem that only girls can solve: leggings. The emergence of leggings as pants some years ago baffled me. They’re such an unforgiving garment. Last fall, they obtruded painfully on my landscape. I was at Mass at the Basilica with my family. In front of us was a group of young women, all wearing very snug-fitting leggings and all wearing short-waisted tops (so that the lower body was uncovered except for the leggings). Some of them truly looked as though the leggings had been painted on them.
Leggings are hardly slave girl outfits. And no one is forcing them on the countless young women who wear them. But I wonder why no one thinks it’s strange that the fashion industry has caused women to voluntarily expose their nether regions in this way. I was ashamed for the young women at Mass. I thought of all the other men around and behind us who couldn’t help but see their behinds. My sons know better than to ogle a woman’s body — certainly when I’m around (and hopefully, also when I’m not). They didn’t stare, and they didn’t comment afterward.
But you couldn’t help but see those blackly naked rear ends. I didn’t want to see them — but they were unavoidable. How much more difficult for young guys to ignore them. I’ve heard women say that they like leggings because they’re “comfortable.” So are pajamas. So is nakedness. And the human body is a beautiful thing. But we don’t go around naked because we respect ourselves — we want to be seen as a person, not a body (like slave-girl Leia). We don’t go naked because we respect the other people who must see us, whether they would or not. She actually had the audacity to compare leggings to being naked.
These are not just my sons — they’re the fathers and brothers of your friends, the male students in your classes, the men of every variety who visit campus. I’m fretting both because of unsavory guys who are looking at you creepily and nice guys who are doing everything to avoid looking at you. For the Catholic mothers who want to find a blanket to lovingly cover your nakedness and protect you — and to find scarves to tie over the eyes of their sons to protect them from you!
Apparently, her problems with leggings exist because: Leggings are so naked, so form-fitting, so exposing. Could you think of the mothers of sons the next time you go shopping and consider choosing jeans instead? Let Notre Dame girls be the first to turn their backs(ides) on leggings. You have every right to wear them. But you have every right to choose not to. Thanks for listening to the lecture. Catholic moms are good at those!
What I don't understand here is why she expects women to change the way they dress because she's not sure how the men in the society would treat them for wearing something as comfortable as leggings. Irrespective of a woman's choice of clothes, men have no right to touch them without their consent. However, speaking of clothes, rape was an issue long before leggings became one. What do you have to say about that, Maryann White?