I never thought I’d have to defend my choice to wear yoga pants. Or to wear expensive yoga pants. Or to wear thong underwear beneath my expensive yoga pants. But the day has arrived. I will and I shall.
With all this hullabaloo about Lululemon recalling a bunch of their yoga pants because they were too sheer, everyone suddenly seems to have an opinion about how women should or shouldn’t cover their asses while doing Downward Dog.
Charlotte Cowles, a regular yogi, weighed in on the Lululemon recall in New York Magazine, attributing the problem to thongs rather than pants:
“The problem with sheer yoga pants isn’t so much that your butt cheeks are visible, but that your thong is. Still, I don’t see why this is a terrible concern, since lots of ladies’ thongs stick out during yoga anyway.”
Keep reading »
The always-inquisitive Jada Pinkett-Smith recently posed a question that has many people scratching their heads and some folks outright upset. In short, she’s wondering if black women ask to be represented in mainstream media, on the covers of magazines like Vanity Fair, shouldn’t white women be represented on the covers of traditionally black magazines like Essence, Ebony and JET?
The answer? Yes and no. Keep reading »
I don’t have to tell you that Steubenville is all over the news.
I don’t have to tell you that the fact that Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmond, the two teenagers convicted of raping a sixteen year old girl, were only sentenced to a combined three years in juvenile prison, is a fucking joke. Each will serve a year for the rape itself; Mays will serve an additional year for “illegal use of a minor in nudity-oriented material.”
I probably don’t even have to tell you that the media treatment of this trial has been a perfect, if utterly sickening, example of rape culture, with its focus on how difficult and painful this event has been for the rapists who raped a 16-year-old girl then bragged about it on social media.
And I almost certainly don’t have to tell you that the world is full of seemingly nice, normal people who want to go to bat for the convicted rapists. I’m quite sure that you already know about the victim-blaming that’s been happening since this case first came to light. You know about the fact that people have actually come out and said that the real lesson to be learned here is that we need to be more careful with social media (i.e. go ahead and rape but make sure you don’t get caught). You already know that people seem to think that being a sports star and having a good academic record should somehow make up for the fact that you are a rapist.
I don’t have to tell you any of that because it’s all par for the course.
What I do want to tell you is that you need to stop using the “wives, sisters, daughters” argument when you are talking to people defending the Steubenville rapists. Or any rapists. Or anyone who commits any kind of crime, violent or otherwise, against a woman. Keep reading »
There’s no defense for rape. And there’s no defense for defending rape — be that minimizing the crime, blaming the victim or focusing so exclusively on the perpetrators that the victim is rendered invisible, as in CNN’s coverage of the Steubenville guilty verdict. As I read over the case, the verdict, the media response and the backlash to it, I feel sick and I feel sad. Like the rest of you, I want these boys to be made to understand exactly what they did. I want everything that was taken from the victim to be restored to her, somehow. There is no defense for the crime of rape.
There is, however, a good argument against sex offender registries. Keep reading »
When I started writing personal essays on the internet, I was half embarrassed, half proud. Even though I grew up in a generation that’s supposedly all about oversharing and Facebooking and nonstop blabby social connectedness, I’d still learned that privacy is a virtue, modesty is preferable, and you shouldn’t air your dirty laundry. But I also wanted to talk about things that felt relevant but had been kept quiet. And I wanted to share those things with other women, because I had a sneaking suspicion that I might be facing some of the same challenges that girls and women all over the world deal with, even if those challenges at times felt intensely, well, personal. Even if they felt too small and mundane for the news. I came into personal essay writing open-minded, scared, and determined.
And then I read the comments. Keep reading »
Pediatric dentist Dr. Misee Harris of Kentucky is petitioning to become the first ever Black “Bachelorette.” This prospect means a lot is surfacing for me regarding the harmful stereotypes reinforced by women of color on reality television. How would she be received? If she did get an opportunity to be on the show and chose a non-black man, what would the social implications of that be? But more than that, I feel disheartened because I know that this reality reflects how America feels about who deserves to be happy and who doesn’t. Keep reading »
Insult comedian Lisa Lampanelli has made headlines again – for all the wrong reasons. Last week during the Writers Guild Awards, she shamelessly tweeted a picture of she and HBO “Girls” producer and star, Lena Dunham captioned “Me with my Ni**a @LenaDunham of @HBOGirls – I love this beyotch!!”
The interwebs erupted with rage as yet another privileged white comedian made a “joke” at the expense of the Black experience. The ubiquitous nature of racism means while we see and hear it everywhere, we’re rarely given the opportunity to understand the motivation behind it. Lampanelli’s entire shtick is to exploit the sensitive nature of race and homosexuality and to make money from abusing the art of comedy, not taking responsibility for the social implications of her “work.” Keep reading »
Poor Nathan Graziano. He has an obsession and is surrounded by temptation all the time. He can’t stop thinking about women in yoga pants, especially now that us ladies are wearing them in places outside of yoga class. “Yoga pants have brought out my worst chauvinistic characteristics — the characteristics I’d like deny exist inside me,” he writes on The Good Men Project. “But when it comes to yoga pants, I can’t.”
Huh. I’ve never thought about it before, but I guess I get it. Yoga pants are tight. They hug hips, thighs, and butts. If they’re too small, they may even give you serious camel toe. (I will happily size up to avoid showing off my labia.) But, as the female friends Graziano talked to explained, yoga pants are also ridiculously comfortable. It’s why we have started to wear them outside of yoga class or the gym. I wear yoga pants basically all weekend, to run errands, to walk my dog, around the house, and sometimes to go to brunch. Yoga pants! They’re the best! Apparently some guys find them drool worthy — I’ve yet to be hollered at while wearing mine, but maybe that’s because I have no makeup on, my hair is unwashed and I’m in a rush to get home to eat my footlong Subway sandwich. The best thing about yoga pants is they stretch while I eat all the food!
But Graziano isn’t buying this whole “yoga pants are so comfy” excuse. They’re so tight, how could they be?! Therefore, us ladies must be wearing them because we want to turn guys like him on. Keep reading »
I’ve been doing my utmost to debate less, but it’s hard when you’re as naturally opinionated as I am. This is compounded by the fact I come from a highly opinionated gene pool. Our family dinners sometimes spiral into debates. And when I say “sometimes,” I really mean 90 percent of the time.
Usually my mother plays referee, and when I say “referee,” I mean she’ll eventually shout, “Will you all be quiet!” My father plays the contrarian, opposing whatever view I hold. And my sisters may or may not be on my side.
I thought everyone did this — debate over dinner, as an expression of love and then pretend like nothing happened. Apparently not! Dinner is for small talk. So I’ve been trying to reprogram myself whenever I go out, because my opinions can be a bit disruptive. Keep reading »
Magazines seem to love writing about women’s choices, particularly if they can inspire readers to conclude that we’re making the wrong ones. Just before the new year, a much-talked about New Republic cover story focused on women and men becoming parents at an older age. The piece was written by an author who is herself an older mother and was concerned about a steady increase in birth defects and autism in recent years, although it’s been difficult so far to prove a direct correlation. Meanwhile, one of Boston Magazine’s cover stories that same month was about a growing breed of women who believed that it’s okay to have an “occasional” drink while pregnant. Yes, that was the language — “occasional” 00 yet the subject was so provocative that it warranted top billing. Let’s not forget the May Time cover of the woman breastfeeding her three-year-old son (she didn’t appear to be drinking wine at the time). Soon after came the story in The Atlantic by Anne-Marie Slaughter that blared: “Why Women Still Can’t Have It All.” (The Atlantic has published at least three stories since 1995 about women facing diminishing marriage and pregnancy prospects if they wait; one of the most famous such pieces, “Marry Him,” from 2008, urged women to settle for “Mr. Good Enough” rather than waiting to have babies.)
It isn’t these stories themselves that are frustrating as much as the fact that they appear to blame women for waiting to have children – as if it’s impossible to fathom that they didn’t find decent or willing men to date at the right time. Some of the stories blame the feminist movement, as if having more freedom is simply so confounding to women that they just can’t figure out what to do with themselves. There’s a wide swath of people in this country who appear to resent the idea of women having leeway in making life choices, and hope we’ll get our comeuppance if we don’t marry the first person who holds a door for us. Keep reading »