What's the issue with wearing leggings?

Last week I wrote about a young woman who wore whatever she pleased as it made her feel happy and sexy and she didn’t care if men looked at her. As far as she was concerned, it was their problem not hers. This week I found a news story where a woman decided to no longer wear leggings as she felt it was making men lust and slide.  What she didn’t expect was the level of backlash from other women who told her that she was promoting rape culture, some were saying that it’s not my problem to cover up my body because a man is always going to look.

Veronica Partridge wrote a blog post: “Why I chose to no longer wear leggings”:

Was it possible my wearing leggings could cause a man, other than my husband, to think lustfully about my body? I asked my husband his thoughts on the matter when he got home. “I appreciated his honesty when he told me, ‘Yeah, when I walk into a place and there are women wearing yoga pants everywhere, it’s hard to not look. I try not to, but it’s not easy...’ “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.”

I strongly dislike leggings and believe they are very inappropriate in public. In many instances these leggings are no different to wearing black tights and reveals a woman’s every curve. I have seen younger women wear these to work with a blouse or t-shirt which do not cover the backside in anyway and it’s a very ugly look, leaving nothing to the imagination. They are also far from suitable for a workplace, there is no way of sitting in a lady like fashion, its often a very casual look and I am certain it does create a stumbling block for some men.

I don’t believe what women wear necessarily leads some men to rape — those men who rape will find victims regardless of what a woman is wearing. I do think though what we wear does affect the average man on the street and I do believe that women have a responsibility to help men not to struggle. That doesn't mean dressing in sacks, but it does mean being aware of the length of our skirts, the tightness of our jeans and not revealing everything when wearing blouses and T's. As one comment said: "You're correct in that we can't control how people will react, but we can control what message we send out in the first place!"

As for young girls, I also don't like seeing leggings younger girls (besides babies and toddlers) without something covering their bottoms (such as in this photo). Once again, it comes down to common sense and protecting our girls from the wandering eye of some men and for them to have an understanding of modesty at a young age and what message they are portraying to others. 

However, we aren't going to change the views of many women in society - their minds are made up: "If my wranglers are viewed as sexual by someone that is THEIR problem. I refuse to censor myself and walk around in a granny sack because of someone else's warped view of modesty. Women don't deserve that burden and unnecessary guilt, no matter what they're wearing. If you can't control your eyes, that's no one else's problem but your own." (comment from Veronica's blog post)

However leggings are great under dresses and skirts in winter - they keep legs warm and cosy. They are a great around the home with a jumper/tunic or pinafore as they are very comfortable. We just need to think a little more before stepping outside. 

I will end with this comment from a male perspective from debate.com:  "No. I encourage you not to wear them. As a man, leggings seem send a sexual stimuli to my brain each time I see them that tempts me to think improper thoughts. While I control my mind the best I can, it is much easier to do so when I am in the company of those who dress in a less revealing manner."


But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (Matthew 5:28)

*****

Comments

  1. I am a recent member of your blog and have enjoyed looking through your posts. I too believe in modesty and as the mother of four girl's I take the issue of dress seriously. I do not believe leggings equal pants, but I don't feel that yoga pants and leggings with longer shirts are immodest. Depending on the dress or blouse that is worn with them, the outfit could still be considered immodest though. However, if a man is going to find a women attractive just because of her leggings, he is the one with a deeper issue. We can not take the full responsibility for lustful thoughts on the part of another. For example, many women are attracted to men in cowboy hats, that is a personal issue not the man's. Please, lets not make every fashion statement a legalistic one in reference to religion.

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    1. Penny, I agree that leggings with a longer tunic, skirt or dress are fine, but I still think they are not suitable in an office. Leggings are warm in winter so I am not saying no to them at all. However I so often see women (young and old) wearing leggings with a sweater to the waistline or a blouse hardly covering the bottom and its not an attractive look at all and one that Christians should think twice about.

      Whilst we can’t be responsible for a man having lustful thoughts when he sees a woman in a particular outfit, we can help our menfolk by not showing too much flesh.

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  2. Great post. I also believe that how we dress affects the thoughts of others, and those of us who are Christian are commanded not to cause another to stumble. Recently, on a tv program, they showed a young woman who agreed to have her lower body painted to look like skin tight jeans and then she walked about the city wearing nothing but shoes and something on her upper body. Someone followed along with a video camera to see the reactions of others and apparently no one noticed; our culture has been so saturated with inappropriate clothing. However, I bet there were people who noticed, and watched, but did so without pointing or audibly gasping. I know I have inwardly cringed when I see women wearing clothing that is too tight, too low cut, etc.

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    1. I really liked the quote by someone on Veronica's blog: "You're correct in that we can't control how people will react, but we can control what message we send out in the first place!" I do think we need to be aware of our influence over others and take care, it doesn’t mean we have to only wear a strict set of clothes, we just need to think.

      I was very interested to read about the girl with the painted legs - I watched the Youtube clip of this and you are right, no one cared at all and yes, that is what leggings look like, in particular from the behind! Not only are tight clothes immodest, they don’t look nice or elegant anyway and I much prefer feminine outfits.

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  3. What really makes me laugh (and yet it's not funny - it's ridiculous) is the people who think that the only answer to not wearing revealing clothing is to wear a sack. Hello? Have they never seen the clothes in clothing stores that come in the range between whore's clothing and sacks????? Like, really? And that's what immodest clothing comes down to - people dressing like whores. I know most people will be horrified to hear me say it, but let's not deceive ourselves. Showing off our bodies (devaluing and debasing our own private parts) is all part of whoredom. I don't even understand why women need to show off their body parts with clothing that is disgustingly revealing anyway - they must be extremely insecure, and they must see their bodies as being very cheap. Perhaps it's even worse than whores, because these people who don't cover their bodies aren't even making people pay to see their body, they don't even value their body THAT much (there is actually a Scripture that discusses the fact that women who give the use of their bodies to men without payment are worse than whores - which women do when they don't cover up - they give their bodies to men in the sense that they stimulate a sexual response without any payment... I just can't recall where that verse is in the Scriptures)! It's disgusting and very pagan and should be something Christians never even consider, let alone DO. It's something we can EXPECT from pagans/unbelievers - they are not required to live in godliness... but that Christians are just as bad as unbelievers is so shameful - especially when they know better but find all kinds of excuses as to why it's not their responsibility - eg. they say that a man who looks and allows it to become lust has a deeper issue. That is just a good way to "pass the buck" - blame shift. We are responsible for our part in this, and we must claim it.

    This topic DOES involve men - the gender who God created to be very visually stimulated... but even without adding men into the equation, I don't understand the level of undress/revelation of body parts that Christians will often descend to. It's just nasty! And it comes back to an issue that is often the REAL issue in many matters of life - a lack of separation to God. Christians want to *fit in* to the world, rather than being separated to God. They don't want to be a "peculiar (special) people" for God... they want to have the best of both worlds... and yet it doesn't work like that for God. He asks for full obedience and submission, not just the bits we WANT to obey or submit to. People are hard in their hearts, prideful and conceited.

    Of course it's all a journey we're all on, and we all sin and we all disobey in varying ways and to varying degrees... but if we can't draw close to God and obey Him on some of these simple matters, how will we ever obey on deeper issues?

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    1. Clara, when I was writing this I was thinking about the way prostitutes wear to attract “customers” and they do that by the clothes they wear. They wear tight pants (to show their shape and their behind), they wear low cut tight tops, lots of makeup, high heel shoes etc… What was once worn by prostitutes (or what was otherwise called trailer-trash) has become common street wear and now considered “normal”. You are correct, many women are dressing no better than a prostitutes who are selling her body for money.

      Yes, there are so many Christians who want to fit into the world and it can be very difficult to tell them apart from the world.

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  4. I totally agree with you on this one. Leggings in our house are worn under skirts for extra length and warmth. I wear them nearly every day under my skirts but my skirts are knee length or longer. I don't get it how people can wear them by themselves, they are so revealing. As women we wear skirts or dresses, I don't wear pants and my daughters only wear them when necessary (riding horses etc). this is our own heart decision that we made years ago. For us it is to combat the lack of femininity in women when wearing pants. I'm not saying that everyone should do this, it is only what we do. I don't wear tight tops or low tops, if my top is a bit low I wear a scarf. We need to be modest at all times and this is what I am teaching our children. Thanks for sharing this excellent post with us at Good Morning Mondays. Blessings

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    1. Leggings have their place and they are great under things!! Glad to hear you are bringing up modest girls :)

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    1. I wish more people would:)) Just imagine if modesty was fashionable again!!!

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  6. I personally wear leggings all the time..I am wearing a pair right now...but I always make sure that I wear a top long enough to cover my bum, especially if I am going out in public. I like this blog because I consider myself a liberal woman and I think it is nice to hear a conservative view on things such as this. There is more than one way to look at anything and while my first impulse on things such as not wearing leggings is to say "That is just ridiculous".....after reading some of the very good points made here, I can understand where you are coming from and agree to a certain degree.

    One thing that I 100% agree on is that a little more modesty would be a wonderful thing in our world. Not just for "adult" reasons but also because I think its a shame what has happened to women's fashion. Class and elegance and being a "lady" is sadly, a thing of yesteryear and I wish I could live during such a time, when importance was placed on those things by society as a whole.

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    1. Hi, thanks for your message - I agree, there is more than one way to look feminine and whilst I choice to wear skirts/dresses, there are other ways and we mustn't get legalistic about these things. Thankyou so much for popping by and adding your views on this rather controversial topic amount Christian women:)

      It would be nice to see more class and elegances in the way women dress, but times have changed and I doubt we will see it any time soon.

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