Yoga Pants Nation

Yoga pants aren’t just for the yoga studio anymore. And if the trend doesn’t die soon, Nathan Graziano may be doomed.

I’m obsessed with yoga pants. There, I said it. I can’t stop thinking about those damn yoga pants.

While I realize there is nothing shocking or revelatory about a heterosexual male saying that he has become captivated by a female fashion-trend that has obliterated the need for imagination, I like to think my obsession transcends the salacious. I like to envision myself as someone thoughtful and modern and progressive. But when it comes to yoga pants, I’m not.

Yoga pants have brought out my worst chauvinistic characteristics—the characteristics I’d like deny exist inside me. But when it comes to yoga pants, I can’t.

I understand that revealing clothing is nothing novel. For decades now, health clubs or fitness centers—we’ll use the word “gyms” for semantic purposes—have cultivated atmospheres not entirely dissimilar to soft-core pornography.

At any gym, on any given day, one can find both men and women, either scantily clad or in skintight workout clothes, who are in great physical condition, sweating and grunting and breathing heavy, pumping and pushing and thrusting. In microcosm, people at the gym are behaving according to their ascribed gender roles: the women trying to stay trim and sexy and fit and the men running and lifting to stay strong and hard and virile.

For my part, I am guilty as charged.

As a jogger, the New England winter—and my aversion to running on ice—recently drove me to join a gym for the sole use of a treadmill. But try as I may, earplugs inserted and Iron Maiden cranking and dimming my hearing, I have to employ a Buddhist-like asceticism to keep to from glancing at the attractive women and their yoga pants.

In fairness to myself, one cannot dismiss the biological components—the animalistic lure and the firing of pheromones—for both sexes of all sexual orientations, when an attractive person who is provocatively dressed passes the line of vision. It is reflexive, involuntary.

Let me start by saying that women have every right to wear whatever they want, where they want, without having to be leered at and objectified. Intellectually and philosophically, I know this. And the ex-Catholic in me tries his best to recognize the lechery and look away as the minutes and miles tick off on the treadmill’s dashboard in front of me.

Sometimes I succeed. Often I don’t.

My obsession, however, has been exacerbated by the ubiquity of women yoga pants outside of the gym. From supermarkets to bars and restaurants to semi-formal affairs, I can’t seem to escape women in yoga pants.

If the fashion doesn’t die soon, I consider myself doomed.

♦◊♦

I will be the first to admit that I have the fashion sense of an ashtray. I still haven’t moved past the ripped jeans, band t-shirts and flannel styles of the grunge-era. So if it is genuinely stylish for women to wear yoga pants everywhere at all times, I most-definitely missed this.

And when I ask women about yoga pants—hoping they’ll tell me the trend will pass—most women tell me that it isn’t that yoga pants are fashionable, per se, but they are comfortable to wear. As a claustrophobic guy, I couldn’t imagine being comfortable in anything that tight, but I’m going to suspend my disbelief and assume they are, indeed, comfortable.

But baggy sweatpants are also comfortable, so I can only assume there’s more to it. There is an implicit game here—the age-old tease where women flaunt and men look. Again, we’re simplifying ourselves according to a Y-chromosome.

Of course, fashion trends where women leave little to the imagination are not unprecedented. For example, I like to think the emergence of the bikini or the mini-skirt—hell, even the corset— in popular culture caused similar responses from men. And I know I’m not alone here. Websites and blogs, such as Girls in Yoga Pants, affirm for me the one thing I’ve always known about my gender: men are pigs.

But women are also complicit here. Again, I’m not asserting that the egregious rape-mentality of dangerous men—the ones who believe if a woman dresses provocatively, she is “asking for it”—has any validity. It unequivocally does not. However, I have a hard time believing that—outside of the gym or the yoga classes—women wear yoga pants solely for comfort.

Perhaps, the larger issue concerns, collectively, is our own frailties and vanities.

Whether we admit it or not, we all want to be noticed and desired and admired, men as well as women. And perhaps, in a culture blanketed with social media, the looming threat of loneliness has made us so insecure that we can’t leave anything up to chance or depend on another person’s imagination to do its work.

However, if I’m to believe Heidi Klum, one day in fashion you’re in, and the next you’re out. Yoga pants will likely pass, only to be replaced with another, perhaps, more revealing trend.

♦◊♦

And there I am, running like a gerbil on the treadmill. At 37 years old, I’m trying to ward off any impending middle-aged flab, trying to remain strong and youthful.

About ten yards in front of me, an attractive blonde with a high ponytail is doing step-aerobics in black yoga pants.

I stare and fear she knows, so I glance down at the dashboard on the treadmill. It reads, 29 minutes, 3.1 miles. Yet, somehow, I’m still going nowhere.

 

For responses to this article, please read:

Yoga Pants and Unexamined Assumptions by Noah Brand

Father and Son Have “The Talk” – The Yoga Pants Talk by Cornelius Walker

 

 

Read more Advice & Confessions.

Image credit: lululemon athletica/Flickr

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About Nathan Graziano

Nathan Graziano lives in Manchester, New Hampshire. He is the author of three collections of poetry---Not So Profound (Green Bean Press, 2003), Teaching Metaphors (Sunnyoutside Press, 2007) and After the Honeymoon (Sunnyoutside Press, 2009)—a collection of short stories, Frostbite (GBP, 2002), and several chapbooks of fiction and poetry. A chapbook of short prose pieces titled Hangover Breakfasts was recently published by Bottle of Smoke Press this fall. For more information, visit his website at NathanGraziano,com.

Comments

  1. QuantumInc says:

    So yeah, this seemingly innocuous bit caused a s***storm. It seems the core issue, (as far as the original post is concerned) is the idea of believing someone when they tell you something about themselves. He specifically says that he asked women about it, and his briefly states that the women he asked said they wear “yoga” pants because they are comfortable (as opposed to fashion). However a couple of short paragraphs later he insists there is another reason, one that matches sexist narratives that have popped up a billion times before. In the beginning he mentions that these “yoga” pants bring out his most chauvinistic characteristics, it seems these characteristics have seeped into the article itself.

    Fundamentally you just have to believe what people tell you about themselves, about their gender, their race, their profession, hobby, what-have-you. A woman knows more about women than than a man, a black man knows more about black people than white people. Unless that white guy has professional credentials and/or a PhD in race studies he would be an arrogant, racist, idiot to contradict anything a black person has to say about black people. So if the women in your life have an explanation for why women where yoga pants outside of yoga, and you’re just an average dude, you MUST take it at face value. To do otherwise is AT BEST “mansplaining”

    In the comments there seems to be a number of commenters with male user names who don’t understand the difference between respectful sexual attraction and sexual objectification. It doesn’t really anything to do with sex, it’s all about ethics. You’re not supposed to treat people like things. It’s really tempting when you only want one thing from them and/or don’t have any reason to care about what happens to them after you leave, and yet there is tons of non-sexual objectification in the world, but it is still fundamentally wrong for very obvious and logical reasons to treat a person like a thing.

    A person has a right to their own body. Your privilege of observing that body is extremely limited, and can be revoked at any time, barring what’s necessary to avoid collision.

    Yet, lots of women report men who ignore these basic human rights, or get obnoxiously passive aggressive about their bodies, clothing or purported sexiness, or just non-passive aggressive, as if the ethics change when sex enters the equation. See above.

    On the other hand: Our “sex negative” culture has made a lot of people, especially women, neurotic about sex. There is a stereotype that almost all men are rapists. Certain men feel okay actually being rapists as long as you never say “rape”. Meanwhile women are often afraid of men. Slut shaming makes woman afraid of even their own libidos.

    Paradoxically, women are given reason to seek marriage but to avoid sex. So sometimes when a woman receives ANY sexual attention she will promptly freak out and “creep shame” the guy in order to defend her womanly honor. Sometimes many of the nearby men and women, including the police will join her in that freak out if she’s a “perfect victim”. This gives men reason enough to be afraid and angry. Meanwhile a similar behavior from the right guy gets a positive response. She’s internalized harmful messages about sex and romance and will be eternally disappointed when Edward Cullen turns out to be an emotional vampire (really deserves your pity, not your lust). (Not-quite-coincidentally women who don’t play to part perfectly have trouble getting help when they really are assaulted or even rape, because they’re imperfect victims).

    There is a strange and unfortunate synergy between the idea that “sex is a sin!” and some of the sexual objectification rhetoric, (and I’ve seen certain religious writers use “sexual objectification” to describe all pre-marital sex). Some feminists only ever focus on the dangers of sex. I feel that conversations about men ogling women are doomed to lean into sex negative territory, as if there is not right way to do it. Even respectful interactions will make someone somewhere scared, and the subject of sex is still very scary for many people, especially women.

    • Your privilege of observing that body is extremely limited, and can be revoked at any time, barring what’s necessary to avoid collision.

    • Bay Area Guy says:

      Your privilege of observing that body is extremely limited, and can be revoked at any time

      LOL, really? And who do you suppose is going to “revoke” such a “privilege?” I’m curious to know.

      Fundamentally you just have to believe what people tell you about themselves, about their gender, their race, their profession, hobby, what-have-you. A woman knows more about women than than a man, a black man knows more about black people than white people. Unless that white guy has professional credentials and/or a PhD in race studies he would be an arrogant, racist, idiot to contradict anything a black person has to say about black people. So if the women in your life have an explanation for why women where yoga pants outside of yoga, and you’re just an average dude, you MUST take it at face value. To do otherwise is AT BEST “mansplaining”

      Sorry, this is just wrong.

      What I’m about to say will go against prevailing left wing identity politics dogma, but being a member of x oppressed group doesn’t automatically give you great wisdom about that entire group’s experience. Everybody, including members of “marginalized groups,” is full of sh*t.

      Besides, women don’t exactly have a reputation for being upfront and honest towards men.

      • ” Your privilege of observing that body is extremely limited, and can be revoked at any time

        LOL, really? And who do you suppose is going to “revoke” such a “privilege?” I’m curious to know.”

        Well, I dunno…. mebbe the bouncer? the judge? the HR department? the club manager? her boyfriend? the social ostracism of the community? the owner of the body? Who knows.
        Oh, by the way, the quickest growing demographic of gun owners and NRA members appears to be women, so …

        • PursuitAce says:

          And this is why I ignore them. Anything else and you’re in criminal territory. Thanks for making my point again.

          • By ignore them, you mean women? or bodies generally? or the potential enforcers?
            In criminal territory… well no, but is their a risk that outweighs any benefit of looking, – possibly.

            I am not sure if people get that there is a risk involved here. Certainly women recognize the risk to them, but I’m not sure that men get the risk to THEMSELVES. When I was 18, I got a job behind a bar at a hotel that served a lot of truckers. There were a lot of fights, and frequently those fights were over women – we’re talking the kind of place where broken beer bottles were a weapon. The night manager was over 6’6″, and some 300 plus pounds. A real nice guy actually. If one of the women complained, the offender was removed… expeditiously, and no questions asked. I got better gigs, but this pattern was pretty much universal.
            So at work, the risk is HR, in public it is to your reputation, and if it gets nasty, you could well end up in front of a judge.
            Likelihood – probably not that great… but why court the risk. Don;t look, or control, it properly, or don;t put yourself in the situation.
            Is that your point ?

            • So this is an example of female privilege? You see it acceptable to have men beaten for looking at you?

            • Acceptable !!!!!???
              Are you well?
              Come on, this is what can and does happen. Universally – no, but it is a risk.
              And, being male, it is not men looking at me, but men having a conflict with women in various settings.
              A female privilege – I don not subscribe to privilege theory on either side. For some women it might be an expression of power, for others, it leaves them aghast.

              When one approaches a wild animal, does one extend their hand first? Wild animals are irrational, in human terms. ( And no, I am not calling women irrational, the reaction to the situation can be however).

              If you like those risks, be my guest.

      • wellokaythen says:

        “What I’m about to say will go against prevailing left wing identity politics dogma, but being a member of x oppressed group doesn’t automatically give you great wisdom about that entire group’s experience. Everybody, including members of “marginalized groups,” is full of sh*t.”

        I agree. If you think about it, the idea doesn’t leave much room for individuality, so racism wins out once again. If every black man is an expert at being a black man, then any institution will only need one in order to represent the entire black male population. You just need ONE of each underrepresented group and you will have all the perspective you need. Saying “they all think alike” is no better than saying “they all look alike.”

        And, the idea sets up a pretty amazing conclusion, if you think about it. Apparently, people of color have a kind of monopoly on objective reality, they just know the truth in their own lives, while white people are steeped in misperceptions and illusions. That could be entirely true. The fact that I doubt this could be attributable to some sort of white privilege on my part. I can’t prove my way out of it, because this theory has to testability. However, it does call into question how white people ever came to be so powerful if they’re the only ones who are delusional…..

    • SalelakaMokonzi says:

      So how do we bridge the gap between the two perspectives. On one hand there seems to be a prudishness that withdraws from the world and our physical reality while on the other hand rests an idea of excessiveness in pleasure, where every other person is an object for our use, and means to another end. How can we be capable of seeing ourselves as men and women created in the image and likeness of God, not simply as a spiritual being but even in the very physical reality of our bodies, even in the midst of the sexual act?

    • Katherine says:

      GREAT comment QuantumInc!

  2. I can understand why women dont like being stared and ogled. I have experienced being uncomfortable stared by women at the beach ( yes I caught them “ogled” my body ) , so I know how it feels like. ( whats different is maybe I felt more annoyed than threatened ) . I dont know why its so hard for guys here to understand that.

    If I met a gorgeous woman ( strangers ) , the longest time I could stare her is like 5 seconds. When I was single, staring really gorgeous woman longer than that actually didnt make me feel good because I felt like shes too gorgeous for me and woman like that won’t like shy guy like me . And thats even make me felt more lonely. Yes sometimes I’m really shallow.

    • I dont know why its so hard for guys here to understand that.
      Because most guys simply don’t experience being checked out much less stared at or ogled.

  3. I can’t believe this has generated so much controversey. Or that one man feels so guilty about looking at girls in yoga pants as to apologize for it.

    Wear what you like. I’ll look if I like. I couldn’t care less if you think I’m a creep, or if you cry on your blog about the guy who eye raped you. In fact, I don’t care at all. If you’re some girl I meet in passing, with no connection to me and who I don’t know in the slightest, I don’t care about you or if my line of sight is making you uncomfortable. Learn to deal or cease the behavior that causes you to feel uncomfortable. Ya know, like an adult.

    • Or maybe YOU could act like an adult and respect the people around you.

    • “I don’t care about you…” < — pretty much sums it up. You don't care about others, and this article wasn't intended for sociopaths, so you really don't have a place here.

    • “Learn to deal or cease the behavior that causes you to feel uncomfortable.”
      Oh my gosh, you victim-blamer! D:

    • It is not chauvinistic behavior for a man to look at an attractive woman. It is perfectly natural for men to look at women, just as it is perfectly natural for women to look at men.

      We all understand that, right? Except for the insane women who think that a man looking at them is akin to rape, but men, please ignore them. You are doing nothing wrong with a quick glance. Or two. You are being a jerk by staring or doing weirdo elevator eyes, but women will simply avoid you if you do those things, so end of problem.

      Seriously, wear q baggy gray sweatpants with elastic around the ankles and an oversize t-shirt and no man will so much as notice you.

      What is especially galling are the women who dress provocatively and then complain that men stare or hit on them. No one is suggesting you wear a burkha, but do not pretend you are wearing a tight, short, lowcut dress and men are the pigs to stare at you! Most men are not pigs, they just like to look at women, so enjoy it, if that is your preference (it certainly is mine). And if you don’t enjoy and you do not want too much attention, show a little less skin. But do not pretend that when you go to a public beach and take off your bikini top that the problem is the men. Women, you do not live in a vacuum, so stop being so full of sh*t!

  4. wellokaythen says:

    The argument is going in circles here because it’s a subjective point of view versus another subjective point of view, but each one is acting like an objective point of view. A little more owning one’s own sh*t would go a long ways here.

    First of all, something is creepy because it *feels* creepy, not because it “just is” creepy. A perceived threat is a perceived threat. And, no matter how attuned one is to the universe, one cannot actually feel eyes looking at you. You can only see someone looking in your direction, you can’t detect it otherwise. Feeling eyes on you is an act of imagination. (It may be an accurate conclusion, but it’s still an act of imagination.) Ogling is, ironically, in the eye of the beholder. You are taking a visual input and working up a whole story about it.

    On the other side of things, something is sexy because it *feels* sexy to you, not because it “just is” sexy. An article of clothing has no agency. It doesn’t actually make you feel a certain way. It doesn’t actually do anything to you. It’s your imagination that’s coming into play. If you feel sexually inspired by seeing a woman wearing yoga pants, then accept that it’s your perspective on it. You are also taking a visual input and working up a whole story about it.

    As for the “privilege” of being able to look at someone, I disagree somewhat. In a public place, it’s not a privilege to be able to turn my eyes in any particular direction as I see fit. In the absence of a valid legal restriction, I have the right to move my eyeballs, neck, head, etc., any way I want. Freedom is the default. If something is not prohibited, then people are free to do it. My looking is not only a question of someone else’s body, it’s also a question of my own body. Ultimately if it’s an issue of rights/privileges, then it’s a question of balancing two rights that may be equally valid. I tend to think that my right over my own eyes is bigger than one’s right not to be looked at.

    • If we are all in public spaces we can look as much as we like. And do. If someone does flout or ignore the generally accepted social norms around looking and approaching, they also may get pushback about it. Someone follows me around in a gym, looking at me as if I was a statue, they are gonna get called out and I’ll report the incident to the club manager. Someone follows me in a car? I’ll do what I can to push back against that.
      Someone looks at me in the store and smiles and goes about his day, really not a problem. I’d expect that if I flouted or ignored social norms and cues, I’d get push back too.

      • wellokaythen says:

        I know a look that seems inappropriately long can feel like a threat, but I would make a distinction between looking and approaching or between looking and following. The slope isn’t entirely slippery. There is a real difference, at least in my book. I don’t think of looking as an action, but I do think moving towards someone or following her is an action.

        It’s unfortunate that Nathan in his mind makes a really fast slide from noticing to attraction to obsession to blaming to potential harassment to going to Hell in a split second, but that’s blending a bunch of things all together. A look that is slightly longer than is generally socially acceptable is not simply a gateway to sexual harassment, however that may feel at the time.

      • @ Julie 2:52 PM
        “generally accepted social norms around looking and approaching . . . I’ll report the incident to the club manager”

        You should do whatever you decide to do.
        Generally accepted norms vary from place to place, and they vary between groups of people. There is no clearly defined generally accepted anything. If you doubt that, see GAAP, which IS written down and published, and still not applied everywhere – see court cases.
        As for the reporting to the club manager, here is how this will play out. The club manager will evaluate the cost of taking action against the person you complain about ( they might lose one patron), and the benefit (they can avoid bad publicity, and continue to keep women coming to the facility). You can see this dynamic everywhere – from bars, where a complaint made by a woman results in the bouncers removing the guy, to the courts, where judges award non-contact orders and other restrictions based on a person’s (generally a female applicant) allegations of abusive contact, or even fear. The judge decides that they do not want to be perceived as having failed to grant the application, should something happen, and so the respondent is removed from home, and children, often without notice. NO, I don’t see any solution to this, by the way.

        SO the sensible solution, is to simply stay away from people who DO have such power.
        ______________________
        I sat in a class of 70 people, doing an HR course in my MBA. I was running on 6 hours sleep over 2 days, wrestling with my daughters health problems. As I sometimes do, I was so immersed in what I was thinking about, I was simply not processing any visual inputs at all. I eventually became aware that the professor was glaring at me from the front of the classroom, making faces at me, and then making comments about my stare. She was a feminist professor, and advocated feminist policies and feminist theory, even when they were not relevant to the material being covered.
        For the rest of the term, I got verbal abuse from her, my papers were the minimum pass ( and they were good papers), and was told that my actual hands-on experience in implementing HR programs in actual companies was irrelevant, and that I lied about it.

        Would you do that kind of thing – I really doubt it. Would Joanna – same thing. But this woman did. Over the 3 required courses I had with her, the same treatment, and it came close to costing me my degree.
        Sorry, I don’t spit into the wind.

        • Not talking about looking or breaching eye contact etiquette. Talking abou being followed touched or verbally harrassed. I’d confront the person and if they didn’t stop yeah then I’d talk to management.
          I e been stared and looked at and haven’t ruined anyone’s life. We are not talking about looking but being physically invasive.

          • @ Julie 6:07
            “Not talking about looking or breaching eye contact etiquette”

            Ahhh,
            I guess I misread this ?
            “If we are all in public spaces we can look as much as we like. And do. If someone does flout or ignore the generally accepted social norms around looking and approaching, they also may get pushback about it. Someone follows me around in a gym, looking at me as if I was a statue,”
            I should have ignored the “we can look… norms around looking…,looking at me…”, and the fact that the original post and most of the discussion has been about looking, leering, ogling, and making presumptions about intent as invitation to look, leer, and ogle. I missed the part about touching and verbally harassed… actually, I’m still missing it !!

            Deeply sorry about that…

            • So what is it you believe you are not allowed to do? Look at a woman? Smile? Say hello? Who is saying you can’t do that.

              I’ll give you some examples-in the last city I lived in I went to a gym. I had a friend who went there, a man, and he went through an ugly divorce. She went to the gym too and she would follow him around and say weird shit and bother him (and others). He complained (as did others) and they asked her to leave, which I think was the right thing to do.

              At my current gym, where I was tonight as a matter of fact, there are people from about 20-60 going there, gay and straight, in all kinds of shape. Some in incredible shape, wearing clothes that shares that shape. I see dudes and chicks in yoga pants, shorts, tank tops etc. These are both men and women I’m talking about. In fact, there was one fellow today. Golly, he was something and I looked at him several times. I see people looking at each other all the time. Sometimes flirting. Mostly, just working out. The world doesn’t end.

              I don’t see weirdness hardly ever. Which is why when it happens, most people react like it’s weird. Some person following someone around or just hard core staring for long periods? Seems out of place. People react and not just women.

              The last time I got stared at was in a coffee shop, and I was sitting in work clothes with my kids. The gentleman staring was really staring, like point blank, no blinking, intense look. So I looked back at him for awhile and he never changed expressions. It was odd. Finally I went up to him, said hello and asked if we knew each other and he just looked at his computer without saying a word.

              I didn’t call the cops, I said hello and tried to determine what was up. But if he had tried to sit at my table or said sexual things to me, I’d probably assume that he was having some kind of emotional or mental troubles and act gently, unless he wouldn’t go away and then I’d call for the manager.

              People look at each other all the time.

              Can you describe for me what it is you (or any of the other posters) seem to want to do? What is it that we women are denying you?

            • I want to stipulate a couple things before having another whack at answering your questions, Julie. First, I don’t think you specifically have been vague or inconsistent about looking being okay and the kinds of things that go beyond looking that aren’t okay. (Same with Alyssa Royse when this thread was younger.) So, I have no beef at all with you on this. Second, whether or not other women are attempting to be more restrictive about what’s okay and project shame on any looking that gives them the slightest discomfort, that doesn’t mean that I feel shame for looking or go around making women uncomfortable and not caring if I do.

              Can you describe for me what it is you (or any of the other posters) seem to want to do? What is it that we women are denying you?

              It’s not just what I want to do, it’s what I’ve done for a long time with no problems, and will continue to do. I gave a pretty specific and detailed example in my “Eye Candy” piece, which involved short glances, and later some extended looking (use whatever synonym for “look” that you want) when I could do it discreetly and without causing discomfort. I did not follow, harass, touch, cat-call, or otherwise cross any of the boundaries that seem not to be in dispute here. All I did was look. Recognizing that “you women” aren’t a monolith, I don’t believe every woman who read that story thinks my looking was problematic. However, in both this discussion and the one that followed the article when it ran, there have been women saying that I did something wrong, that I objectified, disrespected, and dehumanized the woman whose beauty I appreciated. All with my look. When I shared evidence of how I *knew* I never caused her any discomfort, I’ve been told she may have been lying to protect her job, I ought to consider that she may not feel safe enough to tell me, and so on. All because of my look. Some of these same women will say elsewhere that “It’s okay to look” and express exasperation when we men don’t believe they mean it, but their reaction to looking-only examples betrays how they really feel about “just looking”, even if they can’t see it themselves. I think those women (not you) would deny “just looking” because they object to any look that might make any woman feel uncomfortable, and since people aren’t monoliths, every look could make someone uncomfortable, so the only respectable way to behave under that standard is to not look. Ever.

              Can you, Julie, or any of the other posters, describe for me why, if looking without making the looked-upon person uncomfortable is totally okay, my example of doing exactly that is cause for concern? Why do I get lectures and reprimands for doing it right, when there was no trace of any of those things women are saying *are* the problem, like touching, harassing, ignoring body language indicating discomfort, and so on? To be clear, I’m not seeking validation to assuage latent guilt about how I acted, because my conscience remains clear. I’m saying as a matter of logic, if someone tells me they’re okay with X, and I share a story of me doing X, and they object, then I’m going to conclude they’re not really okay with X, no matter how many times they said otherwise.

            • I was actually responding to Rezam. Ill try to reapond tomorrow to you.

            • Marcus, I would have to go back and read your eye candy article but I think maybe what caused the negative reaction was not the looking itself but your attitude toward the woman you looked at, your idea that she sort of existed for your pleasure to look at. I’m not defending or advocating the negative reaction, I’m just trying to explain why some women have such a strong emotional response to it. Like she was a painting in a museum.

              Women are raised being told over and over that out physical beauty is our most important and valuable quality, and many women feel a level of sadness and anxiety about their bodies and appearance that is impossible to explain to men. Even women who are young and attractive compare themselves to others and they also know that their beauty won’t last anyway. There is a sense that we get from the world that men only value us for our beauty, and once that’s gone, we’re like dirt. We’re nothing. So while it is nice to be admired at times, it doesn’t come without emotional pain. It is hard to feel good about being admired without also feeling bad that the man admiring us only cares about our physical appearance, and once that’s gone, what’s left? Or what will happen if we gain 5 pounds or how would he feel if we weren’t wearing makeup or he saw us in a less flattering outfit? Of course I’m not saying any of this consciously goes through every woman’s head when she sees a guy looking at her. But those feelings are there.

              Imagine if I wrote an article like “eye candy” but it was about how I met a really rich guy at the pool and how much I just loved being around rich guys because, you know, they are so amazingly RICH. And I went on and on about how much I love guys with money. And then when readers complained that I was objectifying the man for his money, or expressed concern that I was only valuing men for wealth over other qualities, I said it was all in my head so what’s the problem? Or if I defended my love of rich guys by saying that it’s normal and healthy for women to love rich guys more than poor guys, probably something in my genes, so get over it?

              So, let me be clear, I’m not saying it’s wrong for men to admire beautiful women, just that like a lot of women, it makes me sad knowing that my youth and physical appearance (both of which have waned) is so important in the world. It’s a little demoralizing.

              Awhile back I was looking at some PUA websites, out of morbid curiosity, and there was one PUA school that advertised “never date ugly women again!” As a woman who is not a “HB10,” that made me feel pretty crappy to think that maybe the men I’ve dated in my life thought of me that way, as an ugly girl, but they couldn’t do any better. If they had PUA training, maybe they would have dumped me. The opposite of appreciating “eye candy” is NOT appreciating people who aren’t eye candy. If you follow me. Am I saying men should be attracted to ugly women? No, of course not. That’s the world we live in. That’s how men are built. I get it.

              Anyway I’m not saying these feelings are right or wrong, just trying to explain why when I read an article like “eye candy” I have some negative feelings, or why even when a guy admires me (not that it happens that often anymore, but I have largish breasts so I do get stares depending on how I dress, even though I’m 46), it is not really a completely positive experience.

            • I think its silly you compared men love beautiful women with women love rich men. Please women love attractive and hot men as much as men love attractive women. I never heard women declaring their love for rich men but I often hears they crazy for handsome celebrity and celebrity guys. Many men do insecure with their appearance just like women, but we dont buy makeup and dress instead we go to gym and buy protein shakes. Its basically the same thing.

            • John, you totally missed my point which was to try to explain to Marcus why many women had a negative reaction to his “eye candy” article. I’m not realky interested in debating whether men have their own concerns about their appearance, of course they do, but that’s not my point. Also, my hypothetical article abt loving rich men is simply to try to illustrate something that might cause men to have a similar kind of reaction, if I wrote about it.

            • Is it enough that I can acknowledge and sympathize with those negative reactions without feeling responsible for it? Because that’s how I’ve felt all along, even without multiple explanations.

            • … was not the looking itself but your attitude toward the woman you looked at, your idea that she sort of existed for your pleasure to look at.

              This is the part that’s in women’s heads, not mine. I’ve never had an idea that women sort of exist for my pleasure to look at. I take pleasure in looking at beautiful women as I take pleasure in looking at anything beautiful, but there is nothing in this universe that I think was put there for me, or that I’m entitled to use because I saw I liked how they or it looked. If I’m a guest in your house, I will no more feel entitled to you if I happen to think you have a nice ass, than I will feel entitled to take a painting off your wall to carry out with me because I think it’s pretty and would look great in my home. If I notice you at a gym, I’m not going to have my way with you any more than I’m going to steal the iPod I see plugged into the sound system because I find the music pleasing to my ear.

              If the test for objectification is what I do in my mind, then that’s no different from saying “You can’t look”, because you’re already assuming that looking must mean those other bad things about thinking you exist for my pleasure so I’m a risk to start crossing boundaries right and left. The test has to be in how I treat you, and however disgusted someone might feel that I could experience sexual attraction based on sight alone, I did nothing to the woman in that story that made her feel uncomfortable. If someone is demoralized at how I *could* have treated someone, then scolds me as if I *did* treat them that way, that still doesn’t amount to me having done anything wrong. I’m sympathetic to the circumstances that lead to that feeling, without feeling responsible for it or that I need to change my ways.

              As for your rich guy at the pool…Did you just notice Mr. Wallet Candy from afar and daydream about the lifestyle he could accustom you to, or in this hypothetical, do you start hanging around him hoping for free stuff, gushing about how attractive you find successful men, and yelling “Ka-ching!” every time he’s in the vicinity? I don’t find that daydreaming from afar part remotely bad on your part, so if you told me about a cruise story where it happened, I wouldn’t explain to you how you’re thinking his wealth exists to provide you with a lifestyle you feel entitled to. If you did those other things, they would be more analogous to the following, harassing, cat-calling kind of behavior we keep agreeing is wrong, and which was absent from my “Eye Candy” story.

              Lots of things have been debated in this discussion, but the jumping off point was that Nathan was wrong to blame women for an unpleasant feeling he had. That is, he experienced fleeting lust as shameful, and laid the responsibility for that on women for “causing” his lust. I don’t think that lust (which he didn’t act on) was cause for shame, but to the extent he felt that way, ownership of that feeling resides within him, not women for making him feel that way. What has happened repeatedly in the discussion that followed has been women expressing how objectified they feel, if attractive, and demoralized, if not, and laying the blame for that on men. The initial feeling is not the same as Nathan’s, but they commit the same error of automatically blaming an unpleasant feeling on the opposite sex, based on a presumption of their state-of-mind even in the absence of problem behavior.

            • I’m not blaming men for my feelings, I’m just saying that it doesn’t feel particularly GOOD to think about how men think about women. There are many things in life I suppose we all have to accept even though it sucks. But you were wondering why women didn’t like your article and I’m trying to explain why. Not that men are at fault for my feelings, but, I guess, just to say that I have those feelings and this is why. Likewise, if you or someone else feels ashamed of your desires to look at women because you know some women react negatively, is that the fault of women who after all, are entitled to feel what they feel? (creeped out, dehumanized or whatever)

              So many guys in this discussion seem to be saying that women are “wrong” to feel badly about being looked at, and similarly women are saying men are “wrong” for wanting to look. I think I said in another comment that all of our feelings are valid. People can’t help how they feel. If a woman thinks you are creepy for staring, or feels bad about it, then don’t be surprised that she’ll express those feelings when the topic is discussed.

            • It’s like there is a moebius strip of shame cycles. Some women hear men being honest and then reply about their feelings honestly and then the men feel shamed and the women feel defensive about being told they are shaming and it’s gross.

              Sometimes I read threads here and other places and I think, if that’s how most men think about women I’d like to be invisible. But then my real life encounters don’t validate what I’ve read and I don’t know. Or maybe I’m not attractive in the way that inspires the way many men think about women.

            • I’m just saying that it doesn’t feel particularly GOOD to think about how men think about women.

              That sounds very close to me to saying “lusting in your heart” is bad, because you’re talking about thinking, not treating. That would make Nathan’s original sense of shame for thinking about women that way justified, which I thought we’d already agreed we don’t believe.

              But you were wondering why women didn’t like your article and I’m trying to explain why.

              No, I was wondering why they told me I was doing it (looking) wrong and should consider that maybe I made her uncomfortable and she was too afraid for her job to be honest with me about that. But even more, I’m wondering why women have projected that discomfort onto the woman in my story despite clear evidence I’ve given that she was not uncomfortable. That is, they’re not just denying my interpretation (that she wasn’t uncomfortable) but the actual woman’s feelings, because something makes it easier for them to believe I must have been an objectifying creep. Their reaction to misbehavior they imagine me committing isn’t a mystery — the mystery is why they think I committed it.

              Likewise, if you or someone else feels ashamed of your desires to look at women because you know some women react negatively, is that the fault of women who after all, are entitled to feel what they feel?

              If a woman says she thinks I consider women to exist only for my pleasure, she is wrong. If she changes the statement to feeling sad because I think women exist only for my pleasure, I believe her sadness, but that doesn’t make her any more correct about my state of mind. I’m not sure if that’s what you were asking, but I honestly couldn’t figure out the question, having never challenged anyone’s entitlement to feel anything, but also having not tried to blame a shame I don’t feel on anyone who didn’t cause it with negative reactions they didn’t have. (I count 8 negatives in that last sentence, which makes it syntactically positive, I think. I’m not sure of the rule on an octuple negative, but I feel positive about it.)

            • Also, I think if I wrote a blog post about fantasizing about Mr. Wallet Candy, and talking about how much I love thinking about rich men who coukd take care of me and buy me stuff, I’d be crucified in the comments! Seriously, I think the reaction would be resoundingly negative, even if I said it was all a fantasy and actually my boyfriend makes less money than I do and I always split the check. :-)

            • Most definitely, but you could write about your favorite breakfast meal in the gender blogosophere and get crucified in the comments. If you wrote a lighthearted story about Mr. Wallet Candy on a personal travel blog read mostly by family and friends as I originally did, you’d probably get a resoundingly positive response, as I did. :D

            • wellokaythen says:

              “If the test for objectification is what I do in my mind, then that’s no different from saying “You can’t look”…..”

              Bingo.

              This is one big problem with the “objectification” idea. Too often there’s no distinction made between what goes on in a man’s mind and what he does. Critiques of objectification tend to treat thoughts as actions. I think thoughts and actions are different things. Related, maybe, but not the same thing.

              Ultimately, calling you out for objectifying women in your mind is no different from saying you have sinned because you had lust in your heart. You will need some sort of radical deprogramming on the order of a totalitarian system of control or cultic brainwashing. Ultimately, one solution would be some sort of thought police, perhaps some sort of re-education program. Maybe a labor camp where you can work out AND retrain your mind to eliminate perceptions of women’s corporeal aspects? Lots of luck with that.

            • If I said I had racist feelings, but insisted it was okay because my feelings are all n my head and I treat people well, would other people be entitled to call me out about my feelings?

              Anyway, I’m actually not accusing Marcus of having feelings that are “wrong”, just explaining that women don’t necessarily enjoy the fact that men view us as eye candy. Think about that phrase – eye candy – something good to eat. I am not a piece of food for you to enjoy. If you start talking about how you enjoy women as eye candy, some women will call you out on that. They won’t like it. Are that saying your feelings are “wrong?” no, they are saying that your feelings make them feel crappy. That’s all it is.

            • If I said I had racist feelings, but insisted it was okay because my feelings are all n my head and I treat people well, would other people be entitled to call me out about my feelings?

              This is the kind of statement that belies other ones that there’s nothing wrong with looking, because you appear to be comparing “just looking” with “racism”, which strongly implies a belief that “just looking” is a bad thing which people ought be called out for. I disagree that just looking, or “lusting in one’s heart” or “objectifying in one’s mind” or however you choose to phrase it, is a bad, shameful, or sinful thing. So just on that point, I think the comparison is already inapt.

              But let’s say for the sake of argument that lusting in my heart is as bad as racism. If neither one is apparent in how I treat people, then there’s nothing really to call out, is there? If one’s behavior and treatment of other people aren’t causing harm, what is there to call out? Would you prefer someone who says all the right things but acts like a total asshole? This is another case to me where it resembles a religious debate to me, because of the similarity to the doctrinal debate of “faith vs. good works” that divides Protestants and Catholics. You seem to be arguing that it’s what in the mind that counts most, *regardless* of actions, while I (an atheist ex-Catholic) feel deeds matter more. By my reckoning, I can lust all I want, and as long as I haven’t actually misbehaved with things like following, cat-calling, touching, etc., I’m in the clear. But you and others keep trying to convince me that if I so much as lust, it’s as though I’ve already done those other things. We’re arguing “creepy works” vs. “by lust alone”, and probably have about as much chance of eventually agreeing as Protestants and Catholics.

              Think about that phrase – eye candy – something good to eat.

              No, “candy” is something good to eat. “Eye candy” immediately suggests that it’s a metaphor, unless you think eyes are capable of literally eating, or maybe it’s some halloween candy that looks like eyeballs, which obviously hasn’t been my usage. When I think “eye candy”, all it means to me is, “a treat for the eyes”. It’s descriptive, whimsical, and yes, even respectful. So as a writer telling that story, I could have chosen more mundane language like, “a really pretty woman to look at”, but that would have been cumbersome and crappy writing. I could have used other phrases that would also describe, but be more objectifying and less respectful than I ever felt, like “tits and ass”, “an incredible rack”, “motor-boatable”, and so on. Instead, I went with a benign phrase that accurately captured what she was at the time: a treat to look at. The only way to have a problem with that is to have a problem with “just looking”, because in every single interaction I had with her, from looks she was never aware of, to conversations, to showing her a story I wrote about her, I was considerate and respectful. This took no special effort on my part, no struggle to try to see her as more than tits and ass, because I never saw her as simply a body that existed for my enjoyment. She was a whole person like any other and I treated her that way, *even when* appreciating her as eye candy. My eye candy feeling is not incompatible with respect, which is the piece so many women seem unable to believe. Doesn’t that say more about the importance they place on their looks than it does about how much importance I attach to it?

              If you start talking about how you enjoy women as eye candy, some women will call you out on that. They won’t like it. Are that saying your feelings are “wrong?” no, they are saying that your feelings make them feel crappy.

              I don’t have to start thinking about it, because I’ve already thought about it. This is like being told I should educate myself and “do the work” about some dogma I disagree with, as though no one who has gotten educated or done the work could possibly disagree and reject it *because* of what they know about it. I still feel no guilt about enjoying women as eye candy, because I’ve never thought their appearance defines who they are or has anything to do with what I’m “entitled” to. It’s my belief that regardless of my eye candy habits, women define themselves in terms of their appearance or attractiveness far more than I ever do, and while men aren’t a monolith, either, I’ve seen more than a few men express the same thing, and I believe them. When women call me out for enjoying eye candy (i.e, for just looking), I very much think they’re telling me my feelings are wrong, and if they tell me my feelings (the ones they think I have, not the ones I have) make them feel crappy, I again think that’s a way of telling me my feelings are wrong. When they do that, they’re wrong.

              The “entitled to our feelings” thing doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. Sure, we’re entitled to them, but that’s like saying birds are entitled to feathers. It’s not really a right that can be either protected or taken away – it’s just part of being the species we are. We don’t just have feelings, though, we often process them and that’s when we start ascribing reasons and causes to them. A raw feeling isn’t right or wrong, it just is. Those explanations, however, can be some mix of correct and incorrect, and it gets especially dicy when it comes to assigning motives, like “I feel X because you intended Y.” So sure, in a trivial sense, everyone is entitled to their feelings and you can’t rebut a feeling, but on the processing side, feelings don’t entitle anyone to declare themselves correct just because they feel like they’re right. (That’s like what Stephen Colbert so cleverly called “truthiness”.) So, women can feel crappy about something I say and tell me why, and I don’t dispute their right to feel that way, but I can still dispute whether they’re right to feel crappy given that my attitude and actions aren’t the ones they keep saying really bother them.

              That’s all it is.

              All it was was women telling me my [imagined] feelings make them feel crappy, you say. So the parts about me objectifying women in an unacceptable manner, and I should consider how uncomfortable I may have made “20 Seconds”, and how maybe she was too afraid to say so because of her job and my position of power over her, ignoring my evidence that she was authentically comfortable with the story because she shared it with friends and colleagues…that was all just women telling me they feel crappy? Didn’t feel like that to me.

            • I don’t have to start thinking about it, because I’ve already thought about it.

              Whoops, I just realized I totally misread what I thought I was responding to in that part, and mistook “start talking” for “start thinking” and gave it a totally different reading. My bad on that section. Sorry.

            • Sarah says: ‘…explaining that women don’t necessarily enjoy the fact that men view us as eye candy. Think about that phrase – eye candy – something good to eat. I am not a piece of food for you to enjoy. If you start talking about how you enjoy women as eye candy, some women will call you out on that. They won’t like it…’

              You do understand that you are speaking for yourself, not all women, don’t you?

              I enjoy men seeing me as ‘eye candy’ and I enjoy looking at men and seeing them as ‘eye candy’. It is not the only way I see them, but it is the first thing I notice about an attractive man.

              Candy = Sweet and delicious. How can that be a bad thing? It is a compliment, not an insult.

              The fact that you or any other woman does not like what someone else is feeling about you is irrelevant, as your feelings do not trump anyone else’s. You are entitled to them, as is everyone else. Even men.

              You seem to want to reserve the right to feel a certain way only to yourself and if you do not approve of the way someone else feels, they are somehow ‘wronging’ you. A male friend of mine jokes about women like this, always looking to be offended: ‘He assaulted me with his opinions!’

              Many women see themselves as professional victims (such an attractive personality trait!) and what professional victims is to use guilt and shame to try to control others. What they are really just bullies in a passive-aggressive disguise. Very ugly stuff, that.

            • Marcus, you are expending a lot of time and energy trying to defend yourself here, and you don’t seem to be really considering what anyone has said to you. Several people have tried to explain why your “eye candy” piece bothered them, but instead of trying to understand, you’re taking a “Whatever, y’all are stupid! I’m not wrong!” approach. Why is it that you’re being so defensive? Could a part of you be unsure about whether you’re right about all of this?

              Obviously I only have your piece and your comments here to draw from, but from what I have seen, I do not believe that the way you see women, and the way you seem to feel about and express your sexuality, is healthy. You’re not alone in this; our society in general is very confused when it comes to sexuality. Of course this is only my opinion. But I suggest that you try to open your mind.

              Consider not only that you may have some past experiences or feelings that influence the way you approach your sexuality, but also that everyone else does too.

              All the best. Peace, I’m out.

            • Jeana, you have spent a lot of time and energy trying to shame me over feelings and behavior that don’t trouble me, and don’t seem to be really considering what I’ve said. I’ve explained several times why my “eye candy” piece and the behavior I describe in it did not violate any of the guidelines several women have described as the “right” way to look, but instead of trying to understand, they take a “Whatever, you’re still a creep! We’re not wrong!” approach. Why is it that you and others are in denial about being okay with “just looking”? Could it be that you’re unsure whether you really are okay with being looked at or not?

              Obviously, I only have your comments here to draw from, but from what I’ve seen, I don’t believe the way you perceive men, and the way you seem to feel about looking as a threat to your sexuality, is healthy. You’re not alone in this; our society in general is very confused about sexuality, as you noted. I suggest, however, you try to open your mind to the possibility that men – at least some of them – don’t think the way you think they do.

              Consider not only that you may have some past experiences or feelings that influence the way you feel about being looked at, but also that everyone else does too. Women are a varied bunch who don’t all react to looks like you do, and men are another varied bunch, who don’t all pose a threat to you just because some have in the past.

              Namaste.

            • What exactly bothers everyone about your piece?

            • Have you considered that if so many different people are getting the “wrong” message from your article the clearly you didn’t communicate your ideas well?

              The more you talk to more it sounds like you don’t understand the difference between being attracted to someone and objectifying them – and every time someone tries to explain the difference too you, you just answer back “well, you’re just imagining it!” – even though they’re basing their opinions on what you said.
              If you talk like you’re objectifying women, why *shouldn’t* we assume you’re objectifying women?
              (Also, I think you’re very, very naive if you think you can have all sorts of objectifying thought without it leaking out into your actions – peoples unconscious biases are revealed all the time in ways they don’t even think about – you’re no different.)

            • …you don’t understand the difference between being attracted to someone and objectifying them – and every time someone tries to explain the difference too you, you just answer back “well, you’re just imagining it!”…

              Not a single person has tried to explain that difference to me. Including you. Many have said that “just looking” is fine with them, and that’s the context I brought my story up in. The only way there’s any logical consistency to accusing me of objectification in the example related in the story is to have a problem with “just looking”. I still would disagree, but it would at least be logically consistent.

              Instead, you and others keep attempting to shame me for thoughts. Not behavior – thoughts. And how is my conscience so clear on this? Because my good behavior and non-creepy impact was confirmed by the woman you’re so convinced was objectified by me, and I did not do things like make her uncomfortable with staring, dehumanize her, act like I was entitled to anything, or even publish the story without first making sure she was cool with it and wouldn’t feel disrespected. *She* then circulated the story among co-workers, further confirming my impression that neither my looking nor actions had crossed any boundaries. If looking at someone attractive without them even noticing, and then taking the extra step of checking her comfort level later because I happened to write about it and didn’t want to publish if it would make her uncomfortable doesn’t show respect for the person, then what the hell does? I not only respected her as a whole person, but treated her as such each time we interacted.

              As I said, no one has come close to “explaining” how I could have been any less objectifying or polite in finding her attractive, while *still finding her attractive*, so as far as me having objectified her — yes, you’re imagining it.

            • One of my favourite articles about female objectification: http://www.afterellen.com/movies/how-much-female-objectification-is-too-much-female-objectification-transformers-dark-side-of-the-moon

              I’m not delving into the exact instance you all are talking about…but the article I linked to examines how you can be attracted to someone but not objectifying them.

            • I’m not sure people can really explain it fully as feeling objectified is a subjective feeling based on how she feels at the time, what she has learned, how she was raised and quite a lot of women are raised I think to feel objectified some to the point where harmless looks are seen as objectifying.

              If you don’t feel you have objectified them, then stand your ground and don’t let them say you have, that is your right, and only you know what goes on in your mind. If they give tips on how to make women feel less objectified I’d say take them into account as I do but don’t let some try shame you into never looking at a woman.

              As for a woman feeling uncomfy if you look at her, that is harder to avoid but you can help avoid it. Don’t stare, don’t look for too long but that’s mostly a universal body language thing that makes others uncomfy, animals especially get nervous when someone stares at them as it’s predatory behaviour. A few glances here n there, smile if they see you, a genuine friendly smile, don’t say or act creepy and you can help avoid them feeling uncomfy. But if they are a victim of abuse or were raised on dogma of men being badddddd then it may be a lot harder to avoid but as long as you are not trying to act creepy and are aware of your behaviour I think you’ll be fine (at least that is the advice I’ve gotten from other women).

              @Mika
              “If you talk like you’re objectifying women, why *shouldn’t* we assume you’re objectifying women?”
              Is it possible that some women are raised to see objectification where it doesn’t lie? Or is it possible that objectification in other areas of life could bleed over into feeling objectified by things others don’t feel objectified by? I’ve been in situations I’ve felt very threatened but others didn’t, because of my previous history with bullying and abuse, I felt under threat but it doesn’t mean I WAS under threat. Is it possible people are seeing too much into Marcus’s article?

              Some people above dislike the words eye candy, they see it as something to eat, whilst Marcus see’s it as being good. Who is right? Some will feel objectified by it, others won’t. If someone calls me eye candy I won’t feel objectified by it unless they mean ALL I am good for is to look at. 1 term that has a different meaning based on who reads it, it’s subjective in this case but it doesn’t mean he is objectifying women. What would be a more appropriate way to describe what he wants to?

            • Jeana says: ‘…I do not believe that the way you see women, and the way you seem to feel about and express your sexuality, is healthy…’

              If this article bothered me (it was very enjoyable) I would not continue reading it, just as if a movie bothered me, I would not continue watching it.

              The women who took offense at this article are the ones who have something wrong with them. They are the kind of women who are always looking for offense and, if (heaven forbid!) it is not there, they make something up to justify their hatred and distrust of men.

              They obviously have had bad relationships with men (not to mention some serious Daddy issues) and that led them to be bitter and mean, but when a person has problems with romantic relationships all of their lives, they have to look at the common denominator.

              Men, take heart! Ignore these horrible women and if you meet one like that, run away! Most women, like most men, are decent and kind.

            • Julie @ 8:39
              I am not perfectly sure I understand your problem with my post from 5:10. I commented on your remark that you would register a complaint with the facility manager. My clear reading is that you were talking about looking. You appear to say not. I accepted that
              ________________________
              I explained what the likely outcome of a complaint to the manager would be. To me, this is clear support for simply NOT looking. In my experience, complaints by women in almost all public facing services, is that women’s complaints are acted upon to her satisfaction – irrespective of the underlying facts, which the decider frequently assumes they cannot determine satisfactorily. So, if you (a guy) have a problem with controlling your looking (and I do, just not the typical one with ogling, as I explained elsewhere), then you should go somewhere else. Remove yourself from a situation that you don’t handle well.

              ____________________________
              I am certain, having read your material for several years now, that your actions would be sensible and appropriate. I am far less confident of any given person (and that includes women) that I may encounter at any time. You do realize that a lot of people are not as sensible as you are? Sometimes I wonder if a large percentage of people are really all there – as an ex-bartender, my experience says many aren’t. I actually HAVE experienced that kind of over-the-top reaction, as I explained. It is almost surreal.
              ____________
              Lastly, my interest is solely in the looking, which is frequently being broadened into approaching, verbal harassment (your example above w the guy and the divorce), physical intimidation (by following around), or being touched. To be clear, my interest is actually more in the neurological underpinning of the looking – the pattern and shape recognition. I am actually curious about the impact on men of that pattern recognition process. I am not sure that men are fully aware of why that happens, and how to manage it. I am mentoring quite a few young men. They could use some help with this, I think.

              I don;t expect women to do anything about this issue. What on earth could they possibly do?

            • I have no idea if there is a neurological underpinning. I’m distracted by people all day and not sure if it is based on shape or just…well, adhd.

              As for the rest, sorry, I misread you and thanks for clarifying.

            • Not a problem.

              On the neurology, you can ignore this, feel free …
              There are certain shapes that in many people trigger rapid reactions – for many people, snakes are a visual cue, and the reaction goes straight to the limbic system before it is moderated by cerebral cortex systems. Eyes in the night. Amorphous mists. Uncontrolled rushing water. Some sounds have the same effect – a crying child, a scream.
              I think that some of the visual cortex columns are tuned tor the same kind of rapid recognition of body shape, within pretty broad parameters. For example, consider the golden ratio in architecture (Fibonacci numbers), which is closely matched in body shape.

              What I am having trouble figuring out is whether this is a component of the masculinized brain ( the strength of those columns in terms of number of neurons per column), a difference in the dendritic development differentials between men and women that might modify the effect in women, or something else entirely…

              This is another understudied area. I think it underlies a considerable part of the ogling, leering problem. Together with a lack of training in men to manage those tendencies.
              We know almost nothing, so we are like witch doctors staring at the inexplicable, and sometimes inventing the supernatural as an explanation. Only now, it seems to me, we call the supernatural a ________ Theory, and create ideologies, and it serves the same purpose.

        • It’s pretty obvious usually when someone is lost in thought like that, their eyes don’tmove much nor do they notice you see them looking at you. The extreme of it is the 1000yard stare. As a daydreamer (adhd yay…) I would stare off for quite some time whilst mentally I was focusing on my daydream then suddenly awareness snaps back to reality and realize I was staring in the direction of someone.

          Your teacher is/was terrible btw.

      • PatRiarchy says:

        What if they weren’t looking at you as a statue? What if they were looking at you like you were some human female they would like to fk? Does that make a difference?

        When a female dresses sexy why does she do it? What does a female get out of it when she dresses “sexy?” Why are the same clothes on a 13 year old cause raise hackles?

        If men completely ignored her, would she still feel sexy or does it take the compliance of men to make a female feel sexy?

  5. To be honest most women usually are not offended if they catch men “appreciating the view” so long as he doesn’t make a nuisance of himself doing so (your brain can register an image in less than 5 seconds, so there’s no need to keep looking, or look multiple times. She saw you looking the first time and if you’re not going to approach her and talk to her like a human – which includes letting her shoot you down if she doesn’t reciprocate the appreciation of the view – you’re being a creep.).

    That being said, every time men start to formulate a thought like “Women do ____ because of sexual attention from men” they need to revise; go back, replace the ‘because of’ part of the sentence with the word DESPITE, then they will be making an accurate statement.

    (BTW: Won’t be checking back on this comment, so troll away.)

    • “She saw you looking the first time and if you’re not going to approach her and talk to her like a human – which includes letting her shoot you down if she doesn’t reciprocate the appreciation of the view – you’re being a creep.)”
      Was that you’re a creep if you look after 5 seconds, or if you look at her under 5 seconds, she notices, and you DON’T approach you are now a creep? If the latter than every shy guy is now a creep?

  6. First of all- to argue that you are by no means implying that women are to blame for this fad and then to turn around and say that we are merely eager for attention from men, is completely ridiculous. Men wear shorts to the gym, sometimes wear sleeveless shirts, sometimes they wear bike shorts- now for me to turn around and say that you are wearing those so that the women in the gym can ogle at you while lifting weights, all the while straining to look at yourself in the mirror- would again be wrong. You are basically saying that women cannot venture out into the world without dressing to impress someone other than themselves? Your arrogance really impresses me because I believe that I can wear whatever I would like while running errands, lounging on my patio or even walking around the mall. What you’re insinuating is that of the same mentally one might apply to situations related to rape culture- that women are asking for whatever they are given due to how they dress or how they speak. I do not comment on the ridiculous outfits that men wear, because I assume that whatever their attire is, they are most comfortable in it. And while I can agree that we live in a world that bases almost everything on our own judgements, I highly suggest that you do not advertise that as a grown man, you cannot seem to comprehend that women perhaps find some articles of clothing more comfortable than you might. Perhaps before you condemn all women to pathetic, simplistic and materialistic cookie cutouts maybe you should open your mind to the concept that it is 2013 and whatever we decide to dress is has nothing to do with what you consider as attractive.

  7. wellokaythen says:

    I’m trying to imagine a related scenario, to see if maybe there could be some double standards here. Let me try this one:

    Imagine if I was someone who got into fights with other men because I didn’t like the way they looked at me. Suppose I just got out on bail for punching a man who I thought looked at me funny. He looked at me in a way I didn’t like, I took offense, so I did something about it. I wasn’t going to let him get away with it, so I confronted him and taught him a lesson. One time long ago a guy who looked at me funny tried to pick a fight with me later, so I learned my lesson and now I hit first. All very logical from my point of view, of course.

    Now, consider the criticism I would face. First of all, people would rightly say I have a problem with anger and that I need to find nonviolent ways of operating in the world. If the problem was just the violence, then they’d stop there, but they wouldn’t.

    They would also tell me something about how I should not let other people get under my skin, that I should not treat looks as physical threats, that I am over-reacting to what is just an innocent look in my direction. They might even tell me I’ve got some serious boundary issues if I think of a stare as an assault on my person. They would tell me, especially the women in my life would tell me, chill out, it’s just a look, it doesn’t mean anything, don’t jump to conclusions, don’t let your imagination run wild, a look is not an action.

    Or, let’s say I don’t get into fist fights, but any man who looks at me in a way I don’t like I verbally confront with a “whatta YOU lookin’ at?” Presumably most people here would think I’m in serious need of psychological help, or I have way too big of a chip on my shoulder about other people.

  8. I am so utterly and unbelievably tired of the notion that whatever I do to my body is for male benefit. I dress up – it’s for men to ogle me. I put on make up – it’s for men to ogle me. I do my hair – it’s for men to ogle me. According to men, everything I ever do revolves around their whims and their pleasure. Newsflash, boys: Whatever I do I do it for myself, not for you. You, your needs and your pleasure are all an irrelevant afterthought. And if I choose to do something for a specific male individual I am not doing it because he’s a man, I am doing it because I found him to be a worthy person – being a man is not part of that. The world does not revolve around you and your dicks and time for you to wrap your silly, little, egotistical minds around that notion.

    • Robin (Female) says:

      I dress for myself *and* to get male attention. I like male attention because, hold on, I am a heterosexual female. I dress as appropriate for work or for a date, but I am never, ever offended at an admiring glance from a man. I know the difference between harmless flirting and sexual harassment and that gap is very wide.

      Why have women thrown the baby out with the bathwater? And why does it always seem to be the younger women who are so hateful and angry at men?

      Here’s the truth: The vast majority of men are decent human beings, they love women, and will go out of their way to be polite and helpful to *all* women, not just the women who they want to have sex with (granted, that is almost all women, but hey, DNA is DNA). For some bizarre reason, many women not only do not appreciate these gestures of kindness and respect, they go around in a constant state of resentment and bitterness about it. They are totally bonkers.

      Men, I apologize for all these crazy women. We are not all like that and if Darwin’s Law prevails,over time there will be less and less of them.

  9. I wear them because they are so freakin’ comfortable and I am always on the go — work, school, recreation. They are versatile in that I can wear a skirt over them or not, wear a sarong…whatever. If a guy thinks that it’s any more than that, as this author has made pretty clear, that is his own screwed up thinking, plain and simple.

  10. I find sad that Good MEN Project’s comments are often flooded by “femi-nazi” stances.
    It makes this place much less men-friendly and more like the rest of the world: tense, gloomy, conflictual and makes me say… whatever.

    BTW, “nazi” = “the whole world must behave MY way”. No exceptions, no leeway, no irony at all. “May the Goddess hit you with lightnings if you dare to slightly annoy a woman, ever”. It sounds like The First Female Reich.
    So long to compassion, tolerance and mutual acceptance.

    Ok, so now go ahead and bash me. ;-)

    • Because women wanting to be treated differently then they are currently being treated is so totally like the Holocaust, right?

    • Joke:

      Q: How many feminists does it take to change a lightbulb?

      A: That’s not funny.

      I do not understand these bizarrely angry women. I am free-spirited and independent, yet I very much enjoy looking at attractive men.

      Does that make me less independent? Nope. Am I ‘objectifying’ them? I suppose so, in that when I see an attractive man and briefly think of him as a potential sexual partner (what fun!) and then go on my merry way.

      I just do not see how I have harmed him.

      I very much doubt that I am the only heterosexual woman who does this, but it seems that I am the only women here.

      • @Robin: “I very much doubt that I am the only heterosexual woman who does this, but it seems that I am the only women here.”

        I agree with you, most (healthy) women appreciate men’s attention and their (respectful) desire for them. Thus, I’m glad to read your positive comments.
        You’re not the only one here who is supportive and understanding of men, but – alas – it seems the GMP is “occupied” by many angry and passive-aggressive man-haters females. :(
        Thank God for women like you. :)

        • And most men appreciate women’s attention and their (respectful) desire for them.

          I can assure you that if an attractive man at the gym is wearing tight biker pants and working out near me, I will be glancing at him. Politely and discreetly, but I will be checking him out. I would be a bit embarrassed if he caught me at it though.

          On the other hand, if a man with a buff body is wearing a tight t-shirt and biker pants, it is safe to assume that he wants to be noticed by (hopefully) the opposite sex.

          • I find it more or less impossible not to notice and even intentionally glance at attractive men dressed in revealing clothing, but it signifies nothing more than that I have eyes that function and that I was born with same biological imperatives that every organic life form on this planet. Let’s not feel shame at biological imperatives, it does no one any good whatsover. Nor should we pretend that women are somehow different than the female of every other species on this planet, and that we can miraculously rise above our procreative impulses because we are better creatures. Although I have to admit, I don’t notice nor care when people look at me, since I live in a big city and I’m surrounded by hundreds of fellow pedestrians and commuters every day, it’d be impossible to get vexed about other people staring or checking me out or whatever – they’d have to cross the line into verbal harrassment or physical touching or otherwise disrupting me in order for me to notice or care. I’m not the Thought Police, and am too focused on my own life and my own thoughts to have time to be concerned with what other people are thinking or seeing. Unless, of course, an attractive gent is checking me out, in which case, I do feel flattered.

  11. Nathan got it right except for the whole guilt thing about looking. They get to wear it, we get to look. Full stop.

  12. Gint Aras says:
  13. I had no idea yoga pants are regarded as sexy but then again I don’t go to the gym or yoga class. I practice martial arts, so I’m mostly covered up, but I can understand that certain garments are convenient for exercise and happen to be sexy because they reveal more – this has been true since the Victorian era when bloomers and singlets were considered racy (even today, women’s day wear is called “sportswear” in the fashion world). If you can’t look away from the yoga pants, why not read a book, listen to music, or a book on tape? Focus on your workout and zen out instead of gazing at the people around you. Exercise is often the only form of recreation that I have due to my busy life with work and school. I’d be peeved if someone ruined that, so don’t leer, be respectful of other people’s workouts, obey the gym rules, and think about yoga pants on your own time. If you can’t do that, well, find some form of other form of exercise for which people do not wear yoga pants – rock climbing, for example – or jogging, or bicycling, martial arts, but definitely not yoga.

    • Even better, why not gouging out one’s eyes…?
      That way, there won’t be any temptation of staring or leering, lest not – God forbid! – that a woman might feel a little discomfort somehow.
      After all, aren’t men on this planet to submit, serve and obey?

      • Mark Neil says:

        One of the things that is bothering me the most about this discussion is how many people refuse to acknowledge the author’s position is addressing OUTSIDE THE GYM. Those arguing against him always seem to drag it back into the gym. Now, I could make assumptions about motive, such as it’s an easier position to defend, that yoga pants are not worn for “the male gaze” when you pretend they’re only worn in the gym, or doing exercise, but I’ll leave the projection of motive to the ideologs.

        But, of course, the sense of entitlement is a close second.

        • Martin Nash says:
        • I’m the wrong person to comment on this – my only concern is that the author does not ruin someone else’s workout by acting like a perv, or otherwise act creepy towards women who are just going about their business outside the gym. Of course, my definition of “acting creepy” is biased since I live in a large city. I don’t even notice staring – it’s just a part of big-city life that I disregard along with every other irritation. Then again, I am certainly not buff like some twenty-something avid yoga practitioner, also, admittedly, I dress conservatively for everyday. Yet any time I wear tight clothing that reveals my derrriere, I find that men stare at it, especially if they are behind me on the street or a staircase. Likewise if I wear short skirts and high heels, a low-cut blouse, short-shorts, a cocktail dress, etc. Since my office’s dress code prohibits that type of clothing, and it’s not practical to wear them for the particular kind of exercise that I do, and in fact I only dress like that for special occassions, I have no idea how widespread this staring-at-yoga-pants problem is. I only know that I would not intentionally do cardio near a pool in which many buff guys are practicing dives and walking around in skimpy Speedos, because even if I tried telling myself not to look, I’d be unable not to look – in fact, I’m sure I’d be staring slack-jawed, since I am not a competitive swimmer who is accustomed to the sight. So if yoga pants are that kind of trigger, avoid places in which you have a good view of women in yoga pants. If you can’t even walk down the street without leering at women in yoga pants, then you must work on that, because it’s not impossible to rein it in. Every summer I see men quietly sunbathing or reading or swmming at the beach, surrounding by gorgeous women in bikinis, who still somehow manage to act courteous and gentlemanly even if they cannot avoid seeing nearly-naked women, and yet they can rein it in to socially-acceptable levels, so it can be done, you just might have to work on it a bit.

  14. I think this was a pretty good article (you seem to have a good handle on human fault and objectification), but with some serious faults. Assuming that women are lying to you or not understanding their own actions when they tell you “we wear them because they are comfortable” is pretty telling. I experienced heavy shame and insecurity when I started wearing yoga shorts to the gym to lift weights, because I knew there was a stigma surrounding ‘women who wear yoga pants’. Truth be told, they are incredibly comfortable, breathable, and give me a full range of motion when I squat, deadlift, etc. When I started getting strong and had more confidence in the gym, I really just stopped giving a f*&k what men might think about my ‘intentions’, because goddamn these pants are comfortable.

    This confidence extended into real life, where I could now understand the appeal of simply pulling on yoga pants and a sweater to get groceries, lunch, etc. I think the fact that men find yoga pants sexually appealing means that they project this onto their intentions – “Her ass looks fantastic in those pants. She must know this, and is wearing those pants so that I will notice.” No. While some women may find this a pleasant or exciting side effect, the assumption that (all) women dress themselves to inspire boners is ego-centric and actually pretty damaging. The display of the bum and male appreciation of the bum are usually incidental.

    Appreciation isn’t BAD. Looking isn’t BAD. Assuming women are dressing themselves for your sexual pleasure or to flaunt their own promiscuity IS bad.

  15. Hah- I guess it is about comfort
    Shunning Plus-Size Shoppers Is Key To Lululemon’s Strategy, Insiders Say
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/31/lululemon-plus-size_n_3675605.html

  16. I am a heterosexual male. Because of this, when I see the human female form, my pulse quickens a little, and I think about sex. There is nothing anyone can do about that. However, I am also a gentleman, which in my case means that I always exercise good manners and try not to offend or be rude. I do not stare, because that is rude. I am not a potential rapist, because my desire for sex does not equate to the desire to harm anyone, The fact that seeing an attractive woman makes me think of sex does not make that woman less of a person to me. Far from it. I find women endlessly fascinating. way beyond the sexual attraction, I find women graceful in movement, and mostly pleasant to be around. Because women and men are individual human beings, I find some of them have personalities or habits that irritate me, or viewpoints that I strongly disagree with. On the other hand, I find many females completely adorable. Not so much as sexual objects, but just endlessly fascinating in every way. If a pretty girl wants to be seen only for their intellect, they are going to be disappointed. But they will also have the great advantage that no matter where she goes, people will be super helpful and want to do nice things for her. No matter what social changes we make, 100 generations from now, male humans will still think about sex when they see the female human form. Unless you completely avoid men and boys, you are going to be thought of in a sexual way. I admit that it seems kind of creepy. The blunt truth is that if you are a pretty girl , virtually every male past puberty who sees you, will be imagining you naked. There is nothing any of us can do about that. However, virtually none of those men or boys would ever wish to harm you. Most would aid you if they thought you were threatened in any way. The problem with this article is that the author has been taught that it is dehumanizing and wrong to see women in a sexual way. Then he encounters the real world. Unlike him, I am comfortable with my sexuality. I also am perfectly comfortable working for women, or with them. But sexuality is part of life. You are not going to change that. If you do not wish to have men picturing you naked, wear shapeless clothing and a veil. That certainly does not mean that provocatively dressed women deserve to be assaulted or addressed in a vulgar manner. It is my job as a civilized person to treat you with dignity and respect no matter how you look. But you do not get to tell me what to think about. toad

  17. Ugly, disgusting, fat old-looking trash…you really think that all women in gyms are there to get trim and sexy? I guess you want to diminish all the real female athletes who’re way stronger than you ever dream to be, wuss. I’d beat you to a pulp in you tried to run your sh*t little coward mouth to me in person.

Trackbacks

  1. […] the rounds today, a blog post about one man’s angst over yoga pants, as worn by women, and many, many responses to that […]

  2. […] has some sharp criticism of Nathan Graziano’s piece here at the Good Men Project, “Yoga Pants Nation“. Ms. McDonnell-Parry writes: Newsflash Nathan Graziano: Not everything women do is done with […]

  3. […] yoga. Even though some of you ladies have decided to make yoga pants an every-day thing, most men (with a few exceptions) around the world can appreciate. Let’s all take a stretch and see what Tumblr accounts are […]

  4. […] yoga. Even though some of you ladies have decided to make yoga pants an every-day thing, most men (with a few exceptions) around the world can appreciate. Let’s all take a stretch and see what Tumblr accounts are […]

  5. […] yoga. Even though some of you ladies have decided to make yoga pants an every-day thing, most men (with a few exceptions) around the world can appreciate. Let’s all take a stretch and see what Tumblr accounts are […]

  6. […] yoga. Even though some of you ladies have decided to make yoga pants an every-day thing, most men (with a few exceptions) around the world can appreciate. Let’s all take a stretch and see what Tumblr accounts are […]

  7. […] day or so ago, The Good Men Project published a post about women wearing yoga pants called Yoga Pants Nation. It was a fun, tongue in cheek-y kind of piece about a man, Nathan Graziano, who has found some […]

  8. […] inaccurately-named “120 Strength Training Tips for Women”  and once while reading “Yoga Pants Nation” by Nathan Graziano over at the Good Men Project (which really, can they just rename it to the […]

  9. […] this post as a result, you need no introduction to the argument. As for the rest, you should read Nathan Graziano’s essay, Yoga Pants Nation, on the Good Men Project. It’s generating a lot of attention, some of it negative. A heated […]

  10. […] think that yoga pants are just a bit too sexy for everyday wear. Nathan Graziano even commented that yoga pants are part of an “age old game, where women flaunt and men […]

  11. […] week, The Good Men Project published an article called Yoga Pants Nation, in which the writer, Nathan Graziano, confesses how much trouble he has existing in a world where […]

  12. […] me all throughout my yoga class one night this week. I had just come across the Good Men Project post on yoga pants and for some reason, though it didn’t surprise me in any way, it was unsettling to […]

  13. […] Yoga Pants Nation @ Good Men Project […]

  14. […] man comes clean on how he feels when looking at women in Yoga pants (not me the author). goodmenproject.com/featured-conte… via @goodmenproject — Thomas Matlack (@TMatlack) February 20, […]

  15. […] man writes. He says all women in your whole county wear sexy pants for their exercising, and “all…men…are….pigs”. This, perfect for us. You pigs like the sexy women. Please click for more sexy women. We send. […]

  16. […] author makes reference to a hypersexualized website called Girls in Yoga Pants and then to an article on The Good Men Project to make her point about the sexualization of yoga pants. She mentions two […]

  17. […] Good Men Project’s piece on how hard (no pun intended) it is on men when women wear yoga pants. (Okay, pun intended, a little bit. But seriously, Graziano’s piece is idiotic. I […]

  18. […] Most recently the fashion police have turned their disapproval towards yoga pants. Apparently some men think women wear yoga pants outside yoga class because they like to turn men on. The entire problem with this whole assumption is that strangers wear clothes for no reason to do […]

  19. […] a blogger on our site was so brazen as to admit that this yoga pants thing for women was kind of problematic for him as a man because it…. The response was swift and lethal: get over yourself. Women wear yoga pants for comfort and if […]

  20. […] line is it does not matter what a woman wears. It does not matter where she is. It doesn’t matter what she tweets. It is her body, not […]

  21. […] for super sexy sexiness here, so get yourself some yoga pants – because we all know that yoga pants equal insta-boners for miles around – and squeeze your boobs into a tiny tank top.  The more skin showing, the better, because […]

  22. […] should be filed under “when keeping it real goes wrong.” It is doubtful the Good Men Project op-ed on how guys feel about women in yoga pants will be counted among the must-reads of early 21-century […]

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