To Women Everywhere, Regarding Yoga Pants

Yoga Pants

Dear Women of the World,

Here’s what I have to say about you wearing yoga pants:

Ladies, please, take note. You can wear yoga pants. You can not wear yoga pants. It’s up to you. It’s none of my business. And honestly, I really don’t care.

And yes, I am a male. And yes, I am a Christian male. And I believe that your body is a wonderful and beautiful thing, one that bears the imago dei. And I hope you know that you are wonderful and beautiful as well.

But women don’t cause men to lust. Lust is not forced upon anyone. If you are intentionally trying to seduce me, that’s one thing. But I don’t interpret your ordering a vanilla latte in front of me in Starbucks as an attempt at foreplay.

And it’s not your fault if I see you, in whatever clothes you are or are not wearing, and hold you in my mind as a sexual object the sole purpose of which is fulfilling my desires. None of that = your fault. 

Can I be honest? Sometimes I think men are just jealous. Should I chose to don leggings and stroll through the mall with my buttocks firmly, thinly clothed- the only thing I’d be enticing women into is spluttering giggles. Maybe a few vows of celibacy.

The female body is-generally speaking- more appealing to the eye than the male body. And men are also more visual creatures on a physiological level. That’s not an accident. That’s creative design, God’s design. And I’m frustrated with purity movements that attempt to shroud the beauty of that connection, to stifle it. This is not to say that I- or any other husband- should have eyes for anyone other than my wife. Nothing is further from my point. Rather, I should have eyes for my wife, eyes that behold, eyes that absorb, eyes that witness her beauty in a way that prompts worship of her creator. But those same eyes should be able to look into those of another woman and see her as a woman. Not a sexual object. Not an object of lust. Not a threat. A woman, made in God’s image, made with the intention that one day she and I would live in perfect, heavenly community.

The answer to lust is not unplugging our computers, putting on blinders and demanding that all women wear sweatpants in public. Such denial of beauty is akin to burning poetry and shattering priceless paintings. Nothing could be less Christian. For the only god who demands such things is the one named “Decency.” And he would have felt pretty awkward in Eden.

Rather the answer to lust is looking at women, in whatever they’re wearing, and acknowledging their beauty in an attitude of worship for their Creator. Is this natural? No, because we are fallen creatures. Do most men act as such? Heavens, no. But- going back to my previous analogy- don’t burn the novel because you can’t grasp the plot.

And so I say that we, as Christians, have a higher calling than prudishness, covering and hiding anything our evil nature could possibly corrupt. We have a calling to worship. Within this calling we must learn, accept and believe that the beauty of a female body is not ours to possess (which is what makes pornography so vilely unChristian while nude depictions in Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel is of the highest art). And sometimes God grants it that one woman’s beauty may be a man’s to behold, intimately and in a wonderfully exclusive and heightened manner. That’s sex. That’s marriage. And it’s the physical foundation for love, love that foreshadows a new creation, a new Eden, in which yoga pants won’t be allowed because of everything they’d hide.

Men need to learn to see that beauty. And we ought to all be striving for the ability to see beauty without lusting for it’s possession. The gospel is not about denial of the goodness around us; it’s about adopting the proper eyes with which to see it.

So women, hear me you, if you want to wear yoga pants then it’s between you and God. Personally, I’ll spare the world. But I don’t care what you wear. What I care about is growing in my ability to see you not as a thing to be owned or possessed, not as an object or means of arousal, but to see you as beautiful, wonderful and sacred.

I hope and pray that Christian communities can focus on exposing beauty, not hiding it. I hope that men pursue the eyes to see the beauty in women. Eyes not for pornography but humanity. Eyes for neither lust or puritanical purity but for the imago dei that’s in all of us. Yoga pants or not. 

It probably won’t happen in this life. But hey, a guy can dream.

a

Sincerely,

The man in the Starbucks line

a

 

 

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10 thoughts on “To Women Everywhere, Regarding Yoga Pants

    1. Which Eden are you talking about here?

      The pre-fall Eden, when the humans were very unlike ourselves and unlike anything we’ll ever experience in this world and therefore, not a very good comparison to our lives?

      Or the post-fall Eden, when the humans were very alike to ourselves and a very good comparison, and when God felt so “awkward” (since that’s the word you used) at their improvised leaf bikinis that he had to kill some innocent animals for skins with which to “prudishly” cover up the human nakedness?

      This article is about an ideal world in which none of us live. You could make the same argument about the nudist lifestyle. We don’t live in that world anymore. We haven’t since Eden. Therefore, we should wear proper clothing.

  1. Thank you so much for this! I have been part of a group that has very conservative views on dress for the very reason of not tempting men. I have always found issue with this but was completely discounted when I debated the same things you wrote here. My friends always responded with “you just don’t understand you aren’t a male”, I also have a heard time drawing specific lines since it is all subjective. The things we consider conservative would be considered risque in other conservative friend circles, or cultures, or in the same culture but a previous time period. I really believe there is no “one size fits all” to this issue. Women are taught in the bible how to dress and we must let the scripture and our conscience guide us in our decisions about what we wear.

  2. I think when it comes to modesty, it really comes down to our intentions. Are you wearing leggings/yoga pants for comfort and exercise or are you trying to flaunt your body? Sometimes it takes being brutally honest to answer that question with our wardrobe. OUR intentions, not someone else’s, will be what we are judged for in the end. As adults it’s less of a big deal, but I still feel like it’s very important for teenagers/college age to dress and act modestly when they are more likely to be tempted to flaunt their bodies and boys are less mature and on the prowl. Modesty is wonderful, and a great thing to strive for in dress and action, but we shouldn’t get caught up in stupid details and passing judgments, What you feel comfortable in and what you have discussed with the Lord is OK for you could be different than Sally’s. There are other, more important things to be worried about in the gospel and in life. 🙂

  3. While I am not a Christian, for reasons of my own, I absolutely applaud you for this post, and for your convictions. It’s so nice to see a man who understands that women’s bodies aren’t evil and meant only for the purposes of having children or tempting men. The only person I want to temp is my husband. If other men happen to find me attractive, that’s on them, not me. No matter what I wear, it’s not my fault if someone finds me attractive. I wish everyone felt as you do, and I truly wish everyone would read this post. Thank you so much for writing it, and for being a truly decent and understanding man.

  4. Ah I missed it all along! I can view pornography and so long as I just tell myself “Look at the beauty of God’s creation!” and firmly ignore the discomfort below my bellybutton under my pants, then its all good.

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