Men are astoundingly fragile, delicate creatures.

It is incredible. You would never guess it. But they are so vulnerable, so beautiful. They are like butterflies, with gossamer wings. Their psyches are flimsy and frangible as bird-bones.

We must do all we can to protect them from this world.

It is not enough to shield their bodies. It is their minds that are most vulnerable. At least, that is what one Christian blogger recently concluded. There were certain blizzards that these frail, delicate flowers could not possibly withstand. Namely: the sight of a woman wearing leggings as pants. (She wasn’t saying that all women had to do this, of course. Just that she, personally, had chosen to do this, to make it easier on them.)

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She writes that, when faced with Women In Leggings:

If it is difficult for my husband who loves, honors, and respects me to keep his eyes focused ahead, then how much more difficult could it be for a man that may not have the same self-control? Sure, if a man wants to look, they are going to look, but why entice them? Is it possible that the thin, form-fitting yoga pants or leggings could make a married (or single) man look at a woman in a way he should only look at his wife?

(Italics mine.)

What a verb, that is. “Entice.” What a sneaky, handy, devious verb. That’s what it is, when you wear leggings as pants. You’ve enticed. You’ve incited. The men in question were mere butterflies crushed on the wheel of your outfit. It was inevitable. They could not contain themselves. What were you wearing? It was up to you to wear something different, not up to him to think something different.

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And at that moment, I made a personal vow to myself and to my husband. I will no longer wear thin, form-fitting yoga pants or leggings in public. The only time I feel (for myself) it is acceptable to wear them, is if I am in the comfort of my own home or if I am wearing a shirt long enough to cover my rear end. I also want to set the best example of how to dress for my daughter. I want her to know, her value is not in the way her body looks or how she dresses, but in the character and personality God has given her.

Hear, hear, on that second part. Your value is not in how you look or how you dress. Nor is it, though, in what men think of how you look or how you dress. I’m not sure that is coming across as clearly.

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I don’t mean to give her a hard time. Whenever you go viral, you have a million nuanced things to say afterwards but it is just the one bald controversial boldfaced statement that echoes. But it’s the principle of the thing. Are we kidding us?

I had no idea that men were having such difficulty functioning that we needed to stop what we were doing to put bubble wrap on life for them. Is this really so? How have they ever managed to accomplish anything during their lives, when we wield such power over their every thought and action?

Look, people can wear or not wear leggings, as they see fit. But the Impact it will have on Men is really not the rationale anyone should be using. Reasons for not wearing leggings as pants include:

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  • they are not pants
  • they are leggings
  • why are you wearing them as pants?
  • they are not pants
  • here is a diagram

There is a tiny elite who can wear leggings as pants and incite lustful thoughts. And then there are the rest of us. When I wear leggings as pants, Nicki Minaj feels a great disturbance in the Force, as though a thousand voices cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. She staggers and reels. “This was not my aim,” she murmurs.

What this is, is my taste. What it is not, is a hard-and-fast rule according to which anyone should conduct herself in public.

I would say, “If Not ‘Enticing’ is the standard, next we’ll be covering ourselves in opaque fabric from head to toe to avoid any unintended thoughts” but — men have been known to take ideas like that and run with them.

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Look what happened on the state visit to Saudi Arabia when Michelle Obama opted not to wear a headscarf and Twitter broke loose, accusing her of “immodesty.” And we all remember the Victorian Era.

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For the last time, men: No one is responsible for your thoughts but you. (And Professor X, possibly.) I am not. My leggings and/or pants are not. You are.

Please, ladies, dress how you want. If you want to wear pants, wear pants. If you want to wear leggings, wear ’em. If you aren’t comfortable wearing leggings, don’t. If you want to wear skirts every day or dress up in grandma sweaters or do the Taylor Swift thing where every day you don what appears to be a bathing suit from the 1950s, as SNL quipped — that’s up to you.

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It is not up to you to account for everyone’s responses. You can only be responsible for yourself. You cannot be responsible for how people respond to you. It is not your responsibility to make certain that no one around you is uncomfortable.

And this goes beyond what you wear. As Amy Poehler once said, “I don’t [expletiving] care if you like it.” You aren’t responsible for being “cute.”

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As a woman, dressing and thinking and talking — as a person, dressing and thinking and talking — it is not your responsibility to ensure the comfort of everyone around you, to rush around sanding off life’s edges and securing foam padding around ideas that might be discomfiting or muffling bodies that might meet with lustful glances. Nope. Sorry.

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It is not your responsibility to protect men from themselves. Or to protect people from themselves. It is your responsibility to be yourself, as beautifully and fully as loudly as you wish. That should include being considerate, of course. That should include being polite, sure. It would be lunacy never to take anyone’s possible reaction into account. That’s the essence of politeness — making allowances for others. But you are not answerable for the thoughts and reactions of others. They are.

You are not here for their convenience.

The world is full of temptations. If men cannot cope, they do not need to leave the house. If they find it so difficult to be around women who are wearing leggings as pants, then they can put paper bags over their heads whenever they go out. They will trip and bump into things, but, well, it will serve them right. How they have managed for all these centuries I have no idea.

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