Jul 23, 2015

Leggings are Just Leggings - Letting Go of Oversensitivity

This is another "response to ridiculous Internet thing."  Well, ridiculous might be too strong of a word.  But I disagree with it.  So obviously the mature way to handle that is to say nothing and retreat to my own blog to write about the issue.

I read a post that claimed to solve the issue of whether or not leggings should be considered pants.  I was expecting something light-hearted and funny, as I fail to see how anyone could take this "issue" seriously.

I mean, people express strong opinions for or against leggings as pants, sure, but strong opinions in the same way that some actor is the "worst ever" or your "spirit animal."  It's not real feelings, right? (Right, guys?  Right?!?!)

Apparently I'm wrong.  It's not only serious, but quite relevant to many current social issues.  How DARE you try to body shame people by telling them leggings aren't pants?  How dare you try to enforce your own standards of propriety on other people?  And so on and so forth.

This makes me tired.  To me, it seems like far too much emotion being attached to an article of clothing.  I haven't seen a single argument against leggings as pants that body shames people or that says thing people can wear them and fat people can't.  Anti-leggings-as-pants people seem to believe pretty universally that leggings are never pants, on anyone.  I'm sure there are some exceptions, but let's not judge the entire side of the debate by those people, who probably say that about a number of things, extending well beyond leggings.

As for pushing your own standards of propriety on other people... there's only so far that argument can go.  I mean, I'm never going to see a woman in a bikini in my grocery store and not notice.  No!  I'm going to think, "Wow, that's an awful lot of skin for you to be showing anywhere other than the beach."  Because that's what's culturally acceptable.

It's not a sexist reaction - I'd think the same thing about a man with his shirt off (or wearing a bikini - though I'm much less likely to see that).  I don't think, "Oh that person must be a [whatever insult you want for promiscuous here]."  I think, "That person doesn't seem to understand what social expectations are."

And yes, I understand that society can be really oppressive with forcing cultural expectations on us, and not everyone should have to fit tidily in the box that they had no say in building.  BUT there's always going to be some sort of guideline.  Or else there's just chaos.  Maybe it's not terribly important that we prevent people from running around naked.  But is it that terrible that we do?

I'm perfectly happy with having a dress code for work.  I don't think it's particularly restrictive.  It gives us a structure to build our work interactions upon.  Dressing more formally reminds us to be more formal and diplomatic with the others in the room.  I'm not saying that if we allowed leggings into the work place that everything will blow up and everything will turn into anarchy.  But I am saying that I think it's up to each workplace to determine what guidelines they want to set for their interactions and their atmosphere.  Your workplace might have more leggings-as-pants supporters and mine might not.  That's ok - we can each go work in a place that feels more comfortable to us.

I think it's already hard enough to understand other human beings, and to some extent, having a common culture helps to bridge that gap.  Removing that culture entirely would make it much more difficult to understand A) What's going on at any given time, B) How to interpret the way others are acting and C) How to best form our own actions to express what we want to express.

Does our culture need to change?  Yes.  It's not perfect and I've talked quite a bit in the past about gender roles, and some of the social issues I feel need to change.  BUT is leggings one of those issues?  No, I really don't think so.

So let's continue to debate light-heartedly about it.  I thought we were having fun.  No need to make it more than it is.  Here's my favorite article on the topic from The Snarkist, way back in 2011.  Please enjoy and feel free to share yours.

What's your take?  Are leggings a social issue or are they just leg-wear that may or may not be pants?

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  1. Not a social issue but still shouldn't be worn as pants no matter what your shape or size. The only thing it has to do with is my desire not to see women's private areas all on display. My undies don't even fit like leggings, yikes.

  2. I don't really feel like it is a social issue but I am with Kelli and think that leggings shouldn't be worn as pants by anyone. For the same reasons she says....I don't want to see any woman's privates on display.

  3. I definitely don't think its a social issue but I don't think it deserves a debate either. I live in a place where 99.9% of the year its hot. Really hot. Leggings can be worn as pants here with no hate because what else would you be wearing them as? We certainly are NOT going to wear them under anything. - I think once done correctly its fine.... and I can see why folks wont like it as well. To each their own I say.

  4. oh jeepers, i can't stand when people overreact about things like this. i think leggings are 'pants' as long as your area is covered and that's because i don't want to see your junk. i don't think you have to wear a tunic to your knees but cover your butt at least. the only reason i think this is because most leggings have zero support and you'll be flopping everywhere (skinny or fat) and because camel toe. i mean, whatever, wear what you want but yes, people are going to notice. will someone say something to you? probably not. are they body shaming you? jesus people, get off your high horse. lol.

  5. Leggings can be pants if done properly. In that sense I mean wear them with a tunic, or a long sweater. Don't wear them with a crop top. Personally, I'm just not into that look at all. And like Kristen said, you flop everywhere - so not cute.

  6. I think as long as your ass and vagina is covered I think it can be cute. But I am not a fan of looking at people's camel toe.

  7. Leggings are not pants. Or at least, I agree with Michael - if your ass is covered, fine. It's certainly not about body shaming anyone. They aren't pants on skinny men and they aren't pant on bigger women. And everything in between. But it's my opinion, same as it's my opinion that dogs are better than cats, that taco bell is the best fast food, that everyone should be a vegetarian, etc etc. I don't expect everyone to follow my personal guidelines.


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