In Defense of Yoga Pants and Nihilism

Every so often I read an article that makes me say a little prayer to the Cosmos: “please let this be satire, please let this be satire, please let this be satire.” Today that article lumped together two completely unrelated topics: yoga pants and nihilism. So I took the bait and read the piece, which was posted on the The Washington Post‘s site Post Everything, which apparently means they will let people literally post anything, even classist, whiny commentary about how affordable, comfortable clothes are immoral.

Disclaimer: I fucking love yoga pants. I wear them every day. Not only am I a yoga instructor, runner, and busy mom, but I am fucking pregnant. Yoga pants and leggings fit my lifestyle, and are comfortable, warm, and make my ass look great. I haven’t had to buy any maternity clothes this pregnancy and that makes me smart, not lazy or nihilistic (I am so confused at her logic).

The author, Kerry Folan, a writer and teacher living in the Washington, D.C. area, seems to confuse things like thin, well-dressed, rich, and elitist with values or morals. She has internalized the patriarchy so deeply that the mere sight of running shoes outside of the gym causes panic for the fate of her beloved Louboutin heels or Hermes handbag as symbols of wealth, luxury, sex, and power, as if those things are the most important values to hold or promote.

The fuck?

This offends me as a woman and a mother trying to raise small humans. I want my kids to develop values like kindness, generosity, social justice, and empathy. Literally the last thing I would hope for them is that they value appearances, wealth, and social status instead.

Moms choosing to value comfort over style is apparently vain, while this author’s commentary about people not appreciating her four-inch heels is social activism.

Oh the humanity!

What is this Dystopian future that we’ve created, by deigning to be comfortable, as we do important things like raise children and practice self-care? In a world where people are literally being executed for existing, someone please hold her, but only if your clothes are expensive and well-made.

And she describes the most terrible moment of her life as having a under-privileged, male client telling her she looked comfortable. I mean, she knows what it’s like to face challenges. She lived in New York where everything is hard. In her words:

“The moment shook me up. When did I stop bothering to get dressed every day, I wondered? I lived in New York, where everything is hard, for almost a decade; at what point did I start buying into the idea that easier and more comfortable necessarily means better?”

Easier and more comfortable is better. Where does the idea that people, especially women, need to suffer to be good come from? Holy mother of fuck. And yoga pants and leggings seem to be hated for a variety of reasons. For instance, misogynistic school dress codes ban them for being too distracting to boys and men. So are they sexy or frumpy?

I am so confused! 

And then the author equates being wealthy and dressing nicely with having a strong work ethic, and wearing yoga pants or leggings with being lazy and soft. Make it stop. This sort of crap is so pervasive in our culture as people stare down people buying snacks with their EBT card at the grocery store check out or comment about their iPhone or manicure. Rich is not a value. And being poor doesn’t make someone lazy.

The thought of a future where everyone wears the same comfortable, Lycra cotton clothes doesn’t really sound that bad to me. As long as they come in a cat or unicorn print. The thought of a future where women are expected to dress a certain way and at a certain dollar point for the male gaze or to impress others makes me feel sad, mad, and a little like vomiting.

I have to believe that her piece is satire, or something planted to make women in my generation look like selfish elitist assholes. As a mother, I want to believe that there is good in the world and a there is a bright future for my kids, but shit like this makes me lose all hope. One might even say that it makes be seriously nihilistic.

“….our great depression is our lives, we’ve been all raised by television to believe that one day we’d all be millionaires and movie gods and rock stars, but we won’t and we’re slowly learning that fact. and we’re very, very pissed off.”
Chuck Palahniuk, Fight Club

Featured Image: Stuart Grout

Image Credit: Steph, all rights reserved


Steph is a mom, stepmom, freelance writer, and advocate. When she's not busy writing, chasing kids around, cleaning up messes, and trying to change the world, Steph enjoys snuggling, making pies, politics, reading paranormal fiction, yoga, and fitness. A fully recovered natural parent, Steph now trusts science, evidence, and common sense to lead the way. She has been actively involved in the reproductive and women's rights movements for more than 20 years and is a passionate pro-choice feminist. Her writing can be found on Grounded Parents, Romper, The Cut, and other print and online publications

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