Theresa found a post, “Why I Chose To No Longer Wear Leggings”, and updated our Facebook wall with it yesterday. The gist of the post is that the writer had a coming to Jesus moment about wearing leggings. After a conversation with friends this question came to her, “Was it possible my wearing leggings could cause a man, other than my husband, to think lustfully about my body?” She decides that is the case and swears off leggings unless she is in the comfort of her own home or she has a shirt that covers said leggings. I am all for her making choices that work for her. I don’t agree with them, but I am not here to judge her. What she does is up to her and only we can make ourselves happy.
That said, the message the post is sending to our sons and daughters is alarming to me. The message that boys are by nature untrustworthy with their thoughts and actions is alarming to me. The idea that women and girls are somehow welcoming evil by wearing tight fitting pants is alarming to me. This directive that it is a girl’s or woman’s responsibility not to “entice” (as she says in the article) boys and men seems to be coming up a lot lately. It needs to be eradicated from our brains. Boys and men are capable of behaving like gentlemen no matter how a woman or girl dresses and women and girls are not responsible for those who aren’t.
I am raising three boys. I have no doubt that when a girl or woman walks by in leggings, if they are not otherwise distracted by their 1,254 close friends sending them Snapchat selfies, they will have a glance. I know this, because I have watched my father do it, my husband do it, all of my boyfriends along the way do it and now I watch my teenage sons do it. It does not bother me that they do it. You know why?
I can assure you what does not happen, when the boys I have raised, the father that raised me or the husband I have married look at women in leggings, is chain reaction of lustful and lascivious thoughts. Admiration of beauty, yes. Evil thoughts? No. Leggings are not an invitation to them. Nor are bikinis or anything else a woman wears. Clothing, tight fitting or skimpy, does not make boys and men turn into demented beasts who cannot control their thoughts. They are simply admiring something for it’s beauty, much as they would artwork or a really cool X Games competition or a Snapchat of their friend lighting their farts on fire.
I would also like to address the part where her husband admitted he looked at women in leggings because it was, “hard not to look”. The writer said about her husband’s confession, “I instantly felt conviction come over me even stronger”, to not wear leggings. I remember being her age and feeling that same instant conviction. Perhaps hers is truly religious guidance. Mine was called jealousy.
There is nothing wrong with men looking at women. Just as there is nothing wrong with women looking at men. It doesn’t mean we want to have an affair with them. It doesn’t mean our first thought is of the two of us naked together panting in some cheap hotel room. It simply means you are admiring something because you find it to be attractive. It’s ok to find other people attractive. They are. Go ahead. Look. Just because you find something attractive doesn’t mean you want it. It just means you are admiring it.
There is no harm and should be no shame in looking. Boys and men have the ability to look innocently at girls and women. Just as women and girls have the same ability to look at men and boys. Boys should NEVER be sent a message that suggests they are weak and need girls to cover up or hide their bodies in order to prevent them from behaving like the volcanic savage animals they are deep down inside just waiting to erupt. They should never be shamed or made to feel dirty or wrong for admiring the beauty of girls and women. We are beautiful. Every single one of us. God made us that way. It’s ok to look. We do, you can too.