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Yoga Pants and Accountability

Schools across America are changing their dress code policies when it comes to yoga pants and leggings, but after one North Dakota school even went as far as to ban skinny jeans, I’m speaking out against it.

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There are few things in this world that fill me with a righteous indignation.

However, on the top of the list of things that do: the objectification of women.

For over 100 years, women have fought to be on equal terms with men, but even after all this time, women and young girls across America are being told to cover themselves up to prevent men from being distracted.

Recently, a high school in North Dakota began cracking down on its dress codes by banning leggings, yoga pants and skinny jeans.

Apparently, the vice principal of that high school made the girls sit and watch clips of the movie “Pretty Woman” and compared their wardrobes to the main character’s, despite the fact that she is a prostitute.

Their decision was based on the ignorant belief that those types of clothing would make boys “focus on something other than schoolwork.”

This idea makes me furious for two reasons:

This forces the mindset that it is a young woman’s job to keep her male counterparts’ thoughts pure.

It teaches young men that they are not responsible for the thoughts that run through their minds.

The media has taught women that they are objects to be looked at and used and it has taught men that there is nothing wrong with leering at women.

With the idea that women are responsible for the wayward thoughts of men, there is almost no accountability when it comes to movies, music or the Internet.

For example, the nude photo scandal that involved some of my favorite Hollywood starlets, namely Jennifer Lawrence. The main problem with that situation is that two grown men thought it was their place to hack into someone else’s photos and steal personal property.

The other problem is Lawrence’s statement about her photos, “Either your boyfriend is going to look at porn or he’s going to look at you.”
There is something so wrong with this thought process.

I would like to believe that if I was away from my boyfriend for a long period of time, he would be strong enough in who he is in Christ and in our relationship that he wouldn’t need either of those things.

This standard basically compares men to starving dogs with a piece of meat dangling in front of them: uncontrollable, unmannered and inexorable.

The Internet was not created for young men to share nude pictures with the world.

It was created for the purposes of searching the World Wide Web for useful information, catching up on thousands of news sources and for watching funny YouTube videos.

The point is, when schools put limits on what girls can wear because it distracts the boys, they put much more pressure on these young women’s shoulders than they should.

They teach girls to look in the mirror each morning and try to dress for the boys in their class instead of just being able to dress for themselves.

Some might argue that girls dress for guys every day but it’s actually a fact that most girls wear what they wear because they like it, not because they want attention from guys.

There are several styles now that guys don’t even like but women wear them anyway.

It’s just a fact.

We don’t wear yoga pants or leggings so that guys will stare at our butts, we wear them because after years of feeling like we could only leave the house if we looked like Barbie, we decided to be done with it.

As I write this now, I’m sitting in the floor in an oversized sweater and leggings because I want to be comfortable.

That’s my No. 1 priority, not making sure I secure a husband because my butt looks good in yoga pants.

It’s not my responsibility to make sure my brothers in Christ keep pure thoughts.

Yeah, I can help them out by not getting too carried away with my clothing choices, but ultimately God calls us to keep our own thoughts clean and motives pure.

When I see a guy with a sweet beard, I don’t ask him to shave it off because it makes me stumble.

If a man walks past wearing a well-tailored suit, I don’t march myself over to the Dean of Students’ office and demand that he ban all suits because I can’t keep my mind on my studies.

I look at that person as what he is: a person.

A beautifully made, intricately designed and deeply complex person.

We are more than the clothes we wear.

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Chelsie Bartley

Chelsie Bartley

Chelsie Bartley is the Creative Editor and a staff journalist for MBU Timeline. She majors in journalism. Chelsie is a student worker for the Office of Alumni Relations and is a Community Leader on campus. After graduation, she hopes to pursue a career in a non-profit doing events, marketing and design work. Apart from writing, she enjoys eating new foods, exploring St. Louis and being outdoors.

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