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. Fred Peters says:

    Why is this even an issue? It’s not about the pants. If a woman is attractive to a woman, he’s going to look and vice versa. It’s human nature. However, be respectful. It’s only becomes an issue when someone crosses the line. Liking a fashion trend should not be a crime.

  2. Fred Peters says:

    Correction “man attracted to a woman” sorry about that

  3. Revo Luzione says:

    To: Nathan
    Re: Yoga Pants Obsession Guilt

    Steps to Removing This Obstacle

    Strategy: Immersion Therapy

    1. Go to a yoga class at a hip gym in peak hours. Situate yourself at the back of the class. Follow along with the class, but remember your real purpose: Releasing the guilt.
    2. Notice, but don’t leer, all of the various shapes and sizes of gluteal clefts, shapely thighs and pudendal mounds encased in LuluLemon and Prana all around you.
    3.Notice any feelings of arousal that arise from the looking exercise.
    4. Appreciate the arousal, for you are a man, and your man parts are working, and it is good.
    5. Notice any feelings of guilt that arise from the looking and the arousal. Do not identify with these feelings of guilt. Do not judge them, do not become attached or form further opinions about them. Simply breathe through those feelings, allowing them to dissolve, until all that remains are feelings of appreciation, for yourself and for women and the female form.
    6. Go back to step 2 until you feel free to compliment, without expectation, the next woman you see whom you appreciate.

    • Tom Matlack says:

      Revo that is laugh out loud funny man. Well said.

      Here’s the thing for me. I have practiced yoga for over ten years now off and on. When I go to yoga I am there really to let go of my mind. Distractions of any kind are not what I am looking for, they are what I want to release. For years I set up my mat at the front of the room for the very reason that I didn’t want to be distracted by women, men, or roving dogs in the class. Over time I moved back and realized the idea that to practice yoga is to be on my own mat in my own breath. The very idea of yoga and leering at some woman next to me are about as opposite as any two things could be. That is not to say that I haven’t at times had to struggle with all kinds of distractions. I have. But the goal is to breath and to experience my own body on my own mat.

      • Revo Luzione says:

        Yoga is great. Eating is great. Laugher is a gift. Sex is amazing. Snowboarding is like flying on a fluffy cloud. Surfing is salty communion with the omniverse. Even changing a light bulb can be transcendental, with enough focus and appreciation. (how many humans who have ever lived, in the several million year history of humans, have ever even seen a light bulb, much less swapped a broken one?)

        Their common thread, an ineluctable and total commitment to being in one’s body, here and now. Our eternal nowness need not be on a yoga mat. It’s everywhere. If we can only hold onto that, and not lose consciousness to non-now externalities like shame, guilt, worry, then we are free to experience the moment with not only maximum clarity, but also maximum joy and succor.

  4. “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.”

    How old was the blonde? Probably younger than the author. A lot of men don’t seem to even really like women their own age.

    I never realized yoga pants where so sexual to men. I wear them because they are easy and comfortable. During the day I can wear them with boots and then when I am ready to go to the gym I just take my boots off, put on sneakers and change my top. They also hold in that part of my tummy that I don’t like very much without a button from my jeans digging into my skin.

    Although I suspect it’s not really the yoga pants that is the issue. It’s simply all the attractive women the author wants but can’t have that happen to be in Yoga pants. We get it. Women are sexy to men. Of course, I am sure that the women the author notices fit stereotypical ideals of beauty.

    I’m not really sure what to make of this piece. While not offensive, it doesn’t seem like we’ve come very far between men and women.

    • “Although I suspect it’s not really the yoga pants that is the issue. It’s simply all the attractive women the author wants but can’t have that happen to be in Yoga pants.”

      No I can definitely say that for some of us guys its absolutely the yoga pants. For me personally, I’d rather see a woman in yoga pants (certain athletic shorts are nice too) than a mini skirt or even lingerie, and I see theres at least one other guy in this comment’s section who feels the same way. Now, not every guy may be into them as much as we are, but I can definitely say that a lot of the guys I know specifically like to see women in them, and the comments section here seems to reflect that as well.

    • Also just want to be clear in saying that I feel women should wear what they want and I understand why people are offended that the author is assuming that all the women that wear yoga pants do so to tease men.

      Though I do think its somewhat ironic that you are assuming that Nathan isn’t being honest when he says its specifically the yoga pants that he likes, just like Nathan is assuming women aren’t being honest when they say why they wear them.

    • Of course, I am sure that the women the author notices fit stereotypical ideals of beauty.

      Which is bad how? If it turns out his favorite “type” to see in yoga pants are 200+ pounders over the age of 40, would that make him nobler or a man of greater integrity than if it’s more of a visual treat to see toned 20-somethings? If the point is about how we treat people, and how even people who don’t fit those stereotypical ideals are whole people who can be attractive in other ways, then I’d agree, but I don’t think that being turned out by what lots of people are turned on by is a character flaw.

    • Revo Luzione says:

      “How old was the blonde? Probably younger than the author. A lot of men don’t seem to even really like women their own age.”

      How tall was the blonde? Probably shorter than the author. A lot of women don’t seem to even really like men their own height.

  5. Thinking about this thread earlier, and others on the “men and women and clothing” topic.

    To be honest, yes, I think many women dress in ways specifically designed to turn men on. However, I don’t think the point of them dressing that way is to turn men on. I think it’s because being sexually attractive has social value. I certainly don’t imagine a woman putting on a pair of yoga pants and thinking “These make my ass look great, a bunch of guys are going to want to have sex with me!” I do imagine a woman thinking “These make my ass look great, I feel confident.”

    I just don’t think its possible to separate the social value from the fact that men get aroused. If men didn’t get aroused, they wouldn’t start treating a woman better for dressing sexy, and women wouldn’t treat them better for looking like a sexy woman. There would be no social value, and hence no feeling of confidence. So, as far as I can tell, turning men on isn’t the goal, but the goal is something accomplished through turning men on.

    Which got me thinking – if a woman feels powerful and confident when she dresses in a way that makes her look sexy, isn’t she playing into the “women are valued for their looks” idea? Isn’t it just a way of saying “How sexy I am determines my worth, and since I look very sexy right now I feel like I have a great deal of worth and therefore feel confident”? And if it is, what culpability does she have for carrying on such a harmful narrative?

    • Alyssa Royse says:

      Not that you’re wrong about any of that, BUT, you (and lots of other people) seem determined to avoid the idea that we wear yoga pants because they are both comfortable and functional. I live in them. Seriously, 7 days a week. Because they’re really comfortable, allow me to workout – whether I’m doing CrossFit or Pilates – and I can put on a nicer shirt and a decent pair of sandals and look totally presentable. Kinda perfect. I have not once thought to myself, “I bet other people will think I’m hot” in these. The most I do is a Camel Toe check, and I am pretty sure I’m not alone in any of this. At all.

      It is entirely possible that women do things because they want to, for their own reasons, and honestly don’t give a damn how anyone else reacts to it. Let’s at least allow for the fact possibility that women do things for their own comfort and convenience, not to to turn on, manipulate, attract, crush or otherwise cause anything to happen in the brains or bulges of men.

      And MediaHound, you kill me. And I suspect you’re right. Yay, the noble man who can objectify women’s bodies for his own sexual pleasure in a way that bucks media trends. Nothing specious about that kind of equality. ;)

      • I don’t doubt that personal comfort and function are the main reasons many, if not most, women wear yoga pants. I’m not determined to avoid the idea – I just refuse the idea that something with so much obvious social value is done with absolutely no regard to that social value. I’m flatly skeptical that young toned women “just happen” to enjoy wearing the clothes that “just happen” to make them look good which “just happens” to result in everyone around them treating them just a little bit better on a day to day basis.

        • “I’m flatly skeptical that young toned women “just happen” to enjoy wearing the clothes that “just happen” to make them look good which “just happens” to result in everyone around them treating them just a little bit better on a day to day basis.”

          Drew – see here’s my issue with your comment: each “just happens” reduces the sample size significantly… young toned women —> flattering clothing —> treated better
          We’re down to a pretty small portion of the population to the point where generalized conclusions based on that exact scenario might be highly suspect.

    • Your logic is flawed. Men don’t inherently treat women better for “dressing sexy”. Attractive people are treated better, sure, but dressing “sexy” actually only has “benefits” in certain situations. And honestly– HONESTLY– I wear yoga pants because they are damn comfortable and great for DOING YOGA and Pilates and yes, even grocery shopping! I see yoga pants in my drawer and I think, “Pants.” I don’t think, “Oh, if I wear these, men will be aroused. And maybe then I will get “preferential treatment” (like, uh… someone will let me go first in line at the grocery store? Riiiight…). Do be honest, I’ve never even actually thought of them as sexy before. Is it really that unbelievable to think that yes, I feel confident because I look good and feel comfortable with out thinking that I am intentionally playing into a harmful narrative?

      But beyond that, the culpability in any given situation lies with the people who have the power. In our culture, men hold the power: women hold less than 3% of clout positions in all media-related fields, which I think is pretty clearly reflected in commercials, movies, songs, tv shows, magazines, billboards, etc. So women don’t creative this narrative. What should they do? Intentionally dress “un-sexy”? What would that do? If this harmful narrative bothers you, stop viewing women as objects. Stop assuming everything they do is somehow for the benefit of men or to manipulate men to get some sort of benefit. Correct harmful sexist assumptions, vote in some capable women leaders, support the women in your life. Support media that shows women in diverse, complex roles, and that doesn’t objectify them. Quit looking for ways to put the blame on women regardless of the situation. We aren’t villans in yoga pants.

      • “But beyond that, the culpability in any given situation lies with the people who have the power. In our culture, men hold the power: women hold less than 3% of clout positions in all media-related fields, which I think is pretty clearly reflected in commercials, movies, songs, tv shows, magazines, billboards, etc.”

        I seriously doubt your 3% proposition here. And also, media pander to what their public wants. Don’t like the magazine, the video, the movie, the song? Then you don’t buy it, they get less profit, and change their ways, because they want you to spend on them. See how they can’t truly impose their view?

        Most women’s magazines are headed by women, they decide what goes in the magazine, what articles, and when, how, etc. Maybe a man owns the parent company of the magazine, but he probably has no word on what goes in the magazine, because he lacks any experience about it. He can’t dictate his way, he knows his high ups and shareholders would lose money over it (because it wouldn’t sell), and blame him.

        “So women don’t creative this narrative. What should they do? Intentionally dress “un-sexy”? What would that do?”

        If you don’t like the narrative. Ignore the narrative. It’s really that simple. And women have that power more than men. Since its choices women do that make the narrative even exist.

        It’s easy to choose clothing not based on what magazines or fashion shows tell me is “in”. I just use my internal sense of aesthetics, and pick clothing based on its looks, not its effect on people. Heck, I might intentionally not pick certain clothing I like because it has a negative effect on people (you try wearing lolita fashion dresses – very cute stuff…if you like being stared at).

        ” Support media that shows women in diverse, complex roles, and that doesn’t objectify them”

        Since women are the ones deciding to dress or not in certain ways, it’s their role to not pander to the media, and thus the media will change to reflect that, or become obsolete and useless (and not making money).

        • “It’s easy to choose clothing not based on what magazines or fashion shows tell me is “in”. I just use my internal sense of aesthetics, and pick clothing based on its looks, not its effect on people. Heck, I might intentionally not pick certain clothing I like because it has a negative effect on people (you try wearing lolita fashion dresses – very cute stuff…if you like being stared at).”

          Good point. If women are dressing the way they do 100 percent because it just happens to be what they like, how do fashion trends occur? Millions of women, by crazy random totally chance happenstance start to have an entirely independent proclivity for the same type of clothing?

          I think its funny that I’m told I treat women like objects when I say I think women dress a certain way because dressing that way provides them with social value… considering the fact that I’m saying they dress that way based on their own agency which is something an object could not do.

          • It’s no different with men ether. men dress in suits to look more professional, which gives an air of success and wealth. This helps with many social interactions, from business to relationship. Am I being hateful or controlling of men acknowledging this point? Am I treating men as objects for pointing this out? Of course not. It’s a foolish argument to dismiss the impact our appearances have in social scenarios, or to pretend that influence plays no part in how we dress, men and women alike. If sexual appeal wasn’t a factor, women’s suits would not have taken on the cuts they have.

      • “If this harmful narrative bothers you, stop viewing women as objects.”

        And this here, the part where you accuse me of viewing women as objects, is why I’m not going to reply to you anymore. You are not worth my time to engage with.

    • Drew – you raise an interesting question about the link between dress and social value, but inserting sexual attractiveness and confidence between those two is problematic. I had a professional mentor who was the highest ranking woman in a Fortune 100 company. She said over the course of her career she had learned that being (thin and) sexually attractive actually undermined her ability to be taken seriously (as did being overweight). She extracted the highest value from her professional encounters when her body was relatively invisible and unnoticed. (Perhaps just like the men she was dealing with.)
      My point is, there most probably is a strong link between dress and social value but the dynamics of that link are highly variable and depend heavily on circumstance and the individual woman (I would love to be a single-digit size and might feel more attractive and confident if I were, but other commenters have mentioned that same size makes them unattractive.) People (women and men) use their bodies and the clothes they put on their body for all sorts of purposes, sometimes it is to increase their social value, other times it might be the utility of staying warm or comfortable.

  6. … How is this even a conversation still?! They are pants. PANTS! Not even short, skin revealing pants. Can’t be tighter than most skinny jeans. So women can’t wear pants that are tight or things that make your butt look good by happensstance because some guys can’t handle it? What turns me on most is a guy in jeans and button downs, or a nice v-neck. Should they stop?? I just can’t control my emotions and I might become harmfully obsessed with them because of my lady-hormones… Puhlease. Honestly, men who are complaining, GET OVER IT!

    • I’ve seen very few people imply that women shouldn’t wear what they want. Almost everyone here, including the author agrees that women should wear whatever they please. One of the main points of the article is the temptation and later guilt men feel when they want to check out women wearing something they find really appealing, but that women are just wearing for comfort or other practical purposes. You say, “Not even short, skin revealing pants.” as if thats what men “should” find more appealing, but a lot of us think yoga pants look particularly attractive, sorry but we do. Thankfully most of the women here have said they don’t mind a quick glance as long as you don’t stare and many have admitted to doing the same.

      The big controversy is over his statement that most women wear yoga pants to be attractive to men, which is being largely criticized.

      • Well the point is that’s what YOU find attractive, but most of my life, I’ve heard people speaking out about girls who “show too much skin”. So it’s just getting ridiculous… what am I “allowed” to wear?! Girls who wear baggy sweats are “frumpy”. Girls who wear tight pants are “asking for it”. People assume that women should dress depending on what guys do or don’t find attractive, or that it’s a women’s responsibility to control a man’s impulses. This leads to a rape apology culture… that somehow, men simply can’t overcome their biology, or than women are somehow “asking for it” and should expect it.

        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.” … Actually yes, yes you are. “However, I have a hard time believing that—outside of the gym or the yoga classes—women wear yoga pants solely for comfort.” (Clearly, female brains don’t work the same as male brains, because I, for one, do). This article is hugely problematic, and I can’t believe it was allowed to be published by a website that’s trying to form “good men”.

        • But again almost no one here is saying your “not allowed” to wear anything. As you say, no matter what you wear theres probably some group of guys out there that have a thing for that, and based on your tone it almost sounds like this fact bothers you and I’m not sure why. The fact that a man expresses his guilt and conflict over what women are wearing doesn’t automatically mean hes trying to shame them or tell them what they should wear.

          Like I said before the main controversy over this article seems to be over Nathan’s assumption that all women wear yoga pants specifically with men in mind, and I agree that this is not something he should have said. However I don’t think it was fair of you to make the leap you do in your second paragraph. The article expresses the sentiment that all those women are teasing men, which again I agere is wrong, but that doesn’t automatically mean hes falling in line with rape-mentality. Its a huge leap to go from “Women are teasing men,” to “that woman was asking for it so I raped her”, and I don’t think it was fair of you to make that leap for the author. The fact that you think someone is teasing or toying with you doesn’t mean you think they are “asking for it” or that you think rape is ok.

  7. Ok, so here’s what we do. We replace all the references in this article to yoga pants with “pizza”, and sweatpants with lasagne, and women, with “you” (as in the author), and the author with “me’ (the person commenting).

    What do we end up with apart from some odd mad libs. We end up with a situation where I start out with a bit of false self deprecating humour about me having this crazy obsession with pizza, but very quickly we degrade into how everywhere I go you just happen to be there, eating pizza. But I’m obsessed. I want me some o’ that good greasy food of the gods. But I can’t. I have to try real hard not to rip that artery clogging food crack out of your hands and devour it whole.

    Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it’d be your fault if I just pounced on you and devoured your pizza.

    But… I kinda am. Just a little bit. Because, I mean, you could be eating lasagne. I don’t like lasagne as much, it’s not nearly as sexually attractive. Wait. Tasty. Yeah, we’re talking about food here. You probably like lasagne, I’m totally right in assuming that I know your tastes. And for that reason, I’m totally right in gradually sloping towards saying that you wake up in the morning, and decided to eat pizza, because you know I like pizza. That’s just the kind of tastebud tease you are. You just like to dangle that slice of saturated fat, gluten and misc organ meats in front of my face because you know, you just know that I want it. You love seeing me fight the urge to rip that melted rotten breastmilk slathered bad boy right out of your hands. Because that’s how you roll.

    It’s totally impossible that you just like pizza, for your own reasons, and you have a right to enjoy it, without having your motives questions, and most importantly, it is entirely impossible that your pizza, is your pizza, and not something that I have a right to police, control, or lay judgment on.

    Because, you know, if I laid judgment on your pizza, that kinda displays an attitude where I kinda think I have a right to tell you what to eat and where to eat it. And I’m not talking about you waving that pizza in my face, I’m talking about you just sitting on the park bench I happen to walk past, or after the gym. Thing is, if I have a pizza problem, that’s on me, I should stay away from pizza places. If you come into my house and eat pizza and rub it on my face while I’m asleep – that’s different. Why should what you choose to eat, which doesn’t hurt me, or even actually cause you to interact with me, give me right to write this article that basically reduces you to a grease mongering pizzacrack dealer?

    Or hey, how about this. Straight gentlemen wear nice jeans sometimes right? Well, those jeans give certain other gentlemen boners. Clearly, you wear them for those gentlemen, because you know they like it, and because you like to tease. I mean, why else? You could wear sweatpants. They’re comfy after all.

    • “Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying it’d be your fault if I just pounced on you and devoured your pizza.

      But… I kinda am.”

      Yup, we’re all just rape apologists. What an incredibly fair assessment.

      • You took that out of context. You forgot the rest of the sentence, which included “just a little bit”. And there is a major element of slut shaming and “well, you COULD dress more modestly”, with associated implications of blame, going on in there.

        The author complains about the temptation being dangled in front of him, and places the blame for that on women because they obviously dress like that to tempt him. That, like it or not, is in the same vein as rape culture. It’s not nearly as pronounced, but it is an attitude that needs to change, both for the sake of women and men. Clearly there is an unhealthy attitude of guilt around sexuality, when really that guilt should be around reducing individuals to nothing more than a vehicle for one’s desires.

        I’m not going to say men in general have this issue, but what I’m seeing here is an individual who believes appreciating sexy posteriors is bad, and because he feels guilty about that, he’s trying to blame it on the women with the sexy posteriors, assuming that they’re wearing tight pants just to tempt him. He’s mistaking sexuality for objectification, feeling guilty about what he likes, which isn’t wrong, while perpetuating something that actually is harmful – slut shaming.

        • The author is speaking about the temptation to LOOK, not to take by force. Your adding the element of taking by force converts it from something which should be harmless, but for some reason, the author clearly feels noticable guilt and shame over, into the realm of assault. So no, I don;t think Drew was out of line for what was said. you’re the one that changed the context from looking to taking by force.

        • “You took that out of context. You forgot the rest of the sentence, which included “just a little bit”.”

          Yes, entirely out of context. We’re “just a little bit” rape apologists.

          I get it. It’s difficult to respond to the actual point being made (that being sexually attractive is one of many factors that determine the way women dress), so you’ll just go ahead and build up the slippery slope strawman of “If you think she’s wearing those pants to look sexy, you must think it would be okay for you to rape her! She’s just asking for it, isn’t she?”

          That’s right up there with “if you think it’s okay to get an abortion, you must think it’s okay to murder anybody you want at any time for any reason!” Not buying it.

          • Like it or not, the attitude of blaming women for male lust is in the same vein as rape culture. It blames women for men’s lust and behaviour. There are other factors, yes, and I dealt with those too. But you chose to pick on one particular thing, ignoring the whole issue. You could perhaps try to consider how you would feel in the situation I outlined – the whole situation. If it wouldn’t be good and happy, then perhaps you should consider the parallels to it in the article.

            Rape culture isn’t just about blaming women for rape, it’s about blaming women for things they can’t control, like how men react to clothing. And it’s worth noting that in cultures where women’s clothing choices are most strongly controlled, rape is horrendously common. That tells us that the attitude of blaming women’s clothing choices, or hair colour, or how they smell, or where they workout, for the behaviour of men, whether it be leering, objectifying or actual assault, is harmful. It’s part of a greater attitude that degrades women to little more than walking bags of flesh. It’s wrong, and hopefully one day it will stop.

            You’ll also note, that the article used words like ‘age old tease’ and ‘implicit’, and talks a lot about guilt and piggishness (I personally don’t like that term, pigs are smart and clean and loving), and then puts the blame for that on women. What the author may want to consider is that arousal is not intrinsically shameful, and nor is noticing. Leering, open staring, and harassment are not cool.

            Maybe then he wouldn’t feel the need to blame women for his own issues.

            • ” That tells us that the attitude of blaming women’s clothing choices, or hair colour, or how they smell, or where they workout, for the behaviour of men, whether it be leering, objectifying or actual assault, is harmful.”

              And who in holy hell did here, on this thread, say that leering, objectifying, or assaulting a woman is okay, under any circumstance?

            • Ya know, I really love the whole “well you think it’s okay for a man to look because a woman is dressed sexy, you must think it would be okay for a man to rape her because she’s dressed sexy. Its the same concept!”

              Just like “If you get an abortion, you’re ending an innocent human life. So you must think any kind of murder is okay. It’s the same concept!”

              Or “You support taxation for fire, police, and EMS services for everyone? You must be a socialist who thinks everyone should share everything equally! Rob from the rich and give to the poor who have done nothing to earn it, right?”

              Or “You say it’s your body and you can eat what you want? You must think you can eat someone else’s food or eat a human baby if you want, because you can eat ANYTHING you want, right?”

              Or “You think spanking is okay? You must think it would be okay for a parent to starve and mercilessly beat a child, since it’s entirely up to them how to raise it! Right?!”

              …see, there are plenty of other bulls**t ways we can play the “Well if you think X, and we expand on the concept of X to a ridiculous extent, we can infer that you must believe Ridiculous Conclusion Y!”

              The “slippery slope fallacy” is a well known fallacy for a very good reason, Rave.

    • That’s either pizzandrist or lasagynist, or maybe both, but I’m too hungry now to tell. That’s your fault.

  8. Yoga pants are extremely comfortable AND make my butt look good. It’s great we can have dual purpose clothing.

    Like it or not, the Yoga bum is a fashion accessory and is marketed as such.

    http://www.womenshealthmag.com/yoga/butt-muscles

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/globe-investor/lululemon-goes-to-court-to-remove-calvin-kleins-pants/article4482297/

    “Lululemon’s skyrocketing popularity has been built on stylish athletic apparel – especially its bum-accenting yoga pants. Its success has fuelled competition, however, and this week the Vancouver-based retailer filed suit against rival Calvin Klein Inc., launching a war over a waistband.”

  9. Alyssa Royse says:

    Under this all, I feel profoundly sad that we still live in a culture in which people of either gender have to take their sexual arousal with a heavy dose of shame. And take other people’s feelings personally. I get turned on and aroused by countless things each day. I consider myself lucky.

    • Under this all, I feel profoundly sad that we still live in a culture in which people of either gender have to take their sexual arousal with a heavy dose of shame.

      Me, too. I suspect, though it hasn’t been framed as such in this discussion, that there’s a religious component to this. Not in an intentional way, but if you’re trained to believe that lust is a sin (and a deadly one at that), and even lust “in your heart” makes you guilty (so you don’t even have to act on it for it to be evil), that’s going to mess with your ability to enjoy or accept lust. I shed the religion and faith that taught me that a long time ago, but I still haven’t completely shed the feelings of guilt and shame about how much I want sex or enjoy looking at attractive women.

      I was Catholic, and if you ask priests or devout Catholics about whether they think or teach that sex and sexual thoughts are shameful, I guarantee the answer will be no, that sex is a beautiful gift from God and absolutely should be enjoyed and treasured, it’s just that God wants it to be unitive and procreative. Any other kind of sex is a departure from that and therefore sinful, but godly sex is a beautiful wonderful thing. That sounds really sex-positive, right? It makes all sorts of sexual thoughts and activities shameful to someone who goes along with that, though, like masturbation, oral sex, birth control, and homosexuality, to name but a few.

      I get that same vibe from much (but not all) of the feminist blogosphere and discussions like these, that swear feminism is sex-positive, and replace “unitive and procreative” with “enthusiastic consent”, and “sin” with “rape culture”, but the logic of it leads just as inevitably to shame and guilt, and more Don’ts than Do’s. Like Catholicism, a thought or reflexive desire is frequently treated as no different from having acted on on it. Unlike Catholicism, the lust-negativity isn’t as unisex, so it manages to get celebrated or justified for women, but men ought to be ashamed.

      There are exceptions, as I consider you to be, Alyssa, or also Julie G. to name a couple, but such exceptions are shunned so consistently by self-declared “real feminists”, that I don’t find the exceptions characteristic of feminist thinking any more than my prototype for a Catholic is a liberal priest or nun who would get the smackdown from Church higher-ups if they’re caught doing things like advocating for birth control or women priests.

      • I agree with you Marcus. The tone of the piece and much of the conversation has a very puritanical edge to it.

      • wellokaythen says:

        I’ve noticed that, too. The social crime of “objectifying her in your mind” sounds awfully similar to the sin of “lusting after her in your heart.” Sounds like we’ve just swapped out one invasive, repressive clergy for another.

  10. My yoga pants are also my maternity pants….I don’t think I look attractive at all in them with my sweaty t-shirt and my hair in a messy topknot (but hey, the fact that I made it to 6AM yoga class is a miracle in itself)….

    While I go to yoga class just to do yoga, I cannot deny that the yoga instructor is really hot (think Johnny Depp crossed with Donny Osmond), but I’m a married woman so yoga and no talking is all that goes on in class….[BTW, he does not wear yoga pants...just sweats, I think]….there is some hint of sensuality or sexual sparks…or maybe there isn’t….when I am doing “downward dog” and he corrects my position by putting his hand on my lower spine or touches the sides of my hips to remind me to lift a little higher….read into this (or don’t read into this what you will)…I guess it depends what kind of Desperate Housewife you are….

  11. I have a question for Nathan, if he has followed the discussion his piece prompted and hasn’t been scared shitless about ever saying another word about it. Nathan, have your thoughts about women intentionally flaunting or teasing men with yoga pants changed at all as a result of this discussion? I’m not asking if you’ve been convinced yoga pants aren’t sexy, because that part hasn’t caused all that much of a stir, but the part about the “age-old tease” and flaunting has.

    I ask for two reasons. One, I’m really curious to know. Two, because I recall a GMP article from a while back where a woman wrote something that she believed to be true about men and cuddling (it’s only a prelude to sex, etc.) and after quite a bit of pushback, sincerely changed her mind. Maybe my memory has sanitized the way that discussion went down, but my recollection is that the pushback was more “you’re wrong and here’s why” than “you’re an obvious male-bashing example of why feminists hate men”, so she came around and everyone including her was happy about that.

    I wonder if that’s even possible for Nathan, who made himself vulnerable by sharing some uncomfortable feelings of lust and where he placed the blame for them, and hasn’t just been “set straight” but has been characterized as an obvious example of Rape Culture and entitlement. I don’t see where Nathan has been left much room to grow or be believed if he said he had, and *this* is why there aren’t more men who feel allowed to express feelings. If you think a man’s worried about looking “girly” for crying, that’s nothing compared to looking “rapey” if he’s honest about what turns him on. I find the reactions of women (feminists in particular) to men making themselves vulnerable way, way more of a deterrent to “expressing feelings” than any fears of what other guys or my father will think.

    Tom Matlack ruffled quite a few feathers a while back in a piece about what happens when men are honest about male lust (or a title to that effect) and a huge shitstorm ensued about the phrase “ruined tits” a friend of his had used. That and shitstorms like this one prove Tom’s point, which was that men are conditioned not to talk about lust or sex openly and honestly – especially to women – because doing so is more likely to cause shitstorms than to foster mutual understanding and respect. That’s different from saying men are never wrong, but if there is no safe haven to express a “wrong” thought without being cast as an objectifying, rape culturing, entitled misogynist, then men will mostly continue keeping those thoughts to themselves.

    • I think you’ve hit on a very important aspect: Fear. Men’s fear that they will be figuratively shit on if they’re honest, and women’s fear of being literally attacked. Both are genuine, and both are legitimate. I, too, am curious about Nathan’s opinion. Really, genuinely, respectfully curios.

      • Both are genuine, and both are legitimate.
        Yes.

        All too often these “discussions” end up devolving into one side pitted against the other in mortal combat to decide which one is more legitimate and genuine than the other.

    • I think you’ll find that a lot of themwomen reacting with exasperation and frustration to this article are doing so because they’ve (we’ve) heard it all about a million times. There really isn’t anything that thoughtful or brave about what Nathan said here. He’s just regurgitating the same crap that women get fed all the time about how our clothes and bodies are always somehow a problem for men and their lustful urges. This is nothing new and we are tired of it. No one is blaming Nathan or any man for being attracted to women or even being attracted to women who wear a certain type of clothes, but it’s the assumption that women are wearing these clothes in order to titillate men or tease men that’s the problem, because 99% of the time that’s not even true. We do not exist for your pleasure.

      • *I think you’ll find that a lot of the women, not themwomen

        Whoops

      • Yeah, for me and many of the commenters, its most certainly not about whether men look or not, its about being blamed for causing men discomfort on purpose and it sounds really Victoria and familiar. We don’t exist for people’s pleasure and the tone of the piece is, “all these women doing this thing to me.” And yeah, that kind of gets old.

        The “ruined tits” thing was heartbreaking to many women who read and commented, myself included. Mostly due to the callous nature of the remark and context, as if women can’t themselves see the difference in their “young” or “old” bodies (not like we are blind to the changes that hit us) or as if women can’t also look at their partner and see changes too.

        It was more like…”So they really do feel that way. I guess I have no real hope.” that’s how the ruined tits thing made me feel, personally. Like, why work at staying pretty and youngish, when my aging body is honestly a disappointment. In fact, I thought why shouldn’t women then just say to their men the same things if that’s how its gonna go.

        Men are free to say whatever they want about women (and many many do). Women are free to react positively or negatively to those statements. People who hold similar values about sex and aging and yoga pants are free to find each other and enjoy life.

      • You’re supporting my point, Sara. There’s a lot of lip service about men being more in touch with and expressive of their feelings, but reactions like this condition men to realize that their feelings – especially about sex – will be perceived as “the same crap” by women, who find it tedious, an imposition, and threatening, not something thoughtful or brave. So for the most part, we keep that shit to ourselves or save a version of it for guy-talk, which we’ll also catch shit for.

        Nathan was wrong about women intending to tease men with yoga pants, but he was also expressing a feeling that seemed to spring from the part of his piece a lot fewer people thought was problematic, which was his shame and guilt over even feeling lust in the first place. I think in an authentic “men can express their feelings” kind of environment, he would have been disagreed with, and with a bit of empathy, perhaps shown a different way to process that lust and think about when it’s okay or too much, and who’s responsible for all that. That has happened a little (more so in the later parts of the discussion), but especially in the early going, there was a ton of just calling him out as yet another misogynist, and follow-up articles published elsewhere have once again criticized GMP for publishing misogynist crap, etc., etc. Contrast that with the cuddling article I mentioned previously, where a woman author who didn’t believe men (even her husband) could want cuddling for non-sexual reasons, was brought around by the comments, and even came back later to comment how much closer she was feeling to her husband now that she was accepting and reciprocating his cuddling needs. She wasn’t branded a man-hater for saying men only use cuddling as a pretense for sex, and the piece didn’t have a ripple effect of articles criticizing GMP for publishing this man-hating crap. Maybe I’m just suffering from confirmation bias with these two examples, but it seems to me that even here on a site that aims to be about men accepting and expressing a wider range of feelings, we see women allowed to express all of them, and men better watch out if they express the wrong ones, and it’s more women than men telling them they’re doing this vulnerability thing all wrong.

        • I guess I’d love to see that article where he breaks down his understanding of guilt and shame and religion. I can totally see your point Marcus. The thing that got picked up on wasn’t his feelings, but a part of his belief system and that caused reactivity. I figure it’s cause the piece was written to be kind of tongue in cheek and humorous (saying things like “I”m doomed” which seems like hyperbole to me) rather than serious and focused on feelings. And frankly, as a comedian I should always be willing to look for the pain under the humor cause god knows I’ve got plenty of it myself. But hey, sometimes when I read humor pieces I figure it’s about humor and hyperbole and not about feelings.

          It’s clear there is a lot of consternation going on. One can only wonder what Nathan is feeling, and I will happily offer an olive branch and move the conversation more towards dealing with our cultural shame around sex, repression around bodies, and frustration with how people communicate about flirting and so forth.

          I don’t want Nathan to feel like a bad person because women’s bodies turn him on. I actually hate hate hate religion for that very thing, more than anything else. I hate that religion has supported that trope that women are temptresses and so forth and I hope he can find his way to enjoying the pants without pressure.

          New meme! Enjoy the pants!

          • Julia, you’ve hit the nail on the head, especially re: women and religion. I think a lot of these articles get written because people can’t distinguish between attraction vs. lust. Religion basically tells men that they are slaves to their lusts and women are the sole cause of that, which is why women’s bodies and clothes are policed so much. It’s damaging for both sexes.

            Marcus, I see your point, but I also understand why women react the way that they do about these things. I think women sometimes have a gut reaction to get defensive when men talk about our bodies and clothing choices because so much of it IS misogynistic. That’s not to say that men can’t be honest about their feelings but please understand that women are very sensitive to these things because it is US that you guys are talking about. It’s our lives. It’s our bodies. Our clothes. Our choices. When we hear men say things like “I think women in yoga pants are sexy so therefore women are automatically wearing yoga pants to turn me on” it just sound like the same sexist crap we hear all the time. There’s really no way around it. The fact that Nathan is attracted to women in yoga pants isn’t a problem in and of itself, it’s just the way that he is talking about it. As if the only reason a woman would ever wear those pants is to turn him on. We both know that’s bullshit. And naturally, women are reacting to that bullshit. Just because he’s being honest about his feelings does not mean that we are obligated to praise his honesty, especially when it affects our lives, as well.

            • Is there a reason why my comment in this thread is not being approved? All my other comments went through.

            • Certain words trigger a mod approval flag. Once a mod gets to it, if there is nothing wrong with it, it will be posted.

            • Ah, I see. Thank you.

            • The problem Sara is that there seems to be a double standard going on that if women are open and honest about men and they get defensive then the judgment is that “his fee fees are are hurt and he is getting defensive” while on the other hand when men are open and honest about women and they get defense then the judgement is that “something set those women off so of course it’s understandable that they went off”.

              Just because he’s being honest about his feelings does not mean that we are obligated to praise his honesty, especially when it affects our lives, as well.
              So the course of action in addressing the pattern of thinking that led to those feelings (because as has been said the problem isn’t that he finds the attractive but that he thinks women wear them to attract men right?) is just rail at him about how misogynistic he is?

            • Plenty of women have addressed the problem with Nathan’s article without railing at him for being misogynistic, Danny. But those women who have called out the misogyny in his article? Still not wrong. Because that bit of his article is misogynistic, even if other parts of it aren’t.

            • But the majority of the responses have been “how dare he think that way”, Sara.

              But those women who have called out the misogyny in his article? Still not wrong.
              I don’t recall saying they were wrong for calling it out Sara.

            • If they weren’t wrong for calling it out, then what is the problem? It IS wrong to think that way. It is definitely wrong to assume that women that you don’t even know are doing something with your penis in mind. That is wrong. So yes, how dare Nathan (or any guy) think that? Y’all need to stop thinking like that. Because it’s wrong and false. Period.

            • The problem is that becomes the entire situation. As in it’s one thing to point out hat it was wrong but it is quite another to try to it out that the only thing that happened was that wrong thing.

              In fact your “Period” is doing just that, as Marcus pointed out above.

              All that calling out wasn’t for the sake of understanding. It was for the sake of trying brow beat the mentality (again I’m not saying it was wrong to call it out, I was saying it was wrong to make that the entire conversation).

              Julie said above, “I guess I’d love to see that article where he breaks down his understanding of guilt and shame and religion.”

              That conversation could have happened in the comments as well. But for the most part it didn’t.

            • Danny – I haven’t seen that at all. Most of the responses I’ve seen have been “I wear yoga pants for my own reasons.”, and some others pointing out the issue with the attitude. I’ve seen a few stupid ones, but not many.

            • Who said anything about having an attitude?

            • “So the course of action in addressing the pattern of thinking that led to those feelings (because as has been said the problem isn’t that he finds the attractive but that he thinks women wear them to attract men right?) is just rail at him about how misogynistic he is?”

              Actually, the problem is that he has been made to feel so ashamed of finding women attractive that he needs to make excuses for said behavior. He so wants to be the enlightened man, but he falters, and he can’t help that, so, in order for him to maintain his enlightened man label, blame needs to be placed outside of his own agency.

              Calling him a misogynist for doing this only compounds the problem. It says he should be ashamed, and he needs to accept responsibility for that shame and guilt, instead of trying to pass it off on women. The idea that he shouldn’t need to feel that shame in the first place, and thus, there is absolutely no reason to try to blame others for said shame, well, that seems to be an unpopular viewpoint, as the few attempts to point it out have largely been ignored by all but a few (those who’ve said it, and Jullie, for the msot part)

          • Why the assertion that it is religion at fault for his shame and guilt? The reasoning for his guilt, what he “knows” is wrong and how he “should” be behaving sounds an awful lot like the standard identify politics of gender, not religion. Read the first half again and note just how much of what he says are how women (and “enlightened” men) are constantly telling men they should behave.

          • “I don’t want Nathan to feel like a bad person because women’s bodies turn him on. I actually hate hate hate religion for that very thing, more than anything else. ”

            The problem is women shame men for women turning them on. There was no religion in that gym, his fear is that women would judge him as a creep for leering at a women in skin tight clothing. Meanwhile the men at the gym wear loose fitting clothing so it’s only logical for men to conclude that women’s intent is sex appeal. If it is not their conscious intent it may be unconscious or it may be what made the fashion trend popular in the first place. There is no doubt that making women look sexy is what gave birth to the spandex outfit.

            • It should also be noted, yoga pants are not limited to the gym. They have become a trend in basic everyday fashion, and THAT can’t be said to be due to how they support muscles while working out. For people to try and claim women don’t dress to appeal to men is foolish (perhaps not the case in the gym, but definitely in general. Spanx and push up bra’s are evidence of that, as they aren’t worn to be seen, and their ultimate goal is to shore up parts that appeal to men, breasts and waistlines. And my understanding is that underwires aren’t comfortable, so that rules out that reason)

            • your understanding of underwire bras is incredibly faulty. maybe they’re uncomfortable for women of certain sizes, but I wear them to sit alone in my apartment and surf the internet because they are the only thing that IS comfortable.

              I don’t think anyone is claiming that no women ever try to dress to appeal to men, just that the mere fact that some man somewhere thinks one specific woman looks attractive in what she’s wearing should not be taken as proof that she is trying to “entice” him. plenty of women think men in suits are hot, but I tend to assume that the men I see wearing suits are just trying to dress appropriately for whatever they’re doing – or maybe trying to look nice for some specific other person who isn’t me.

            • “I don’t think anyone is claiming that no women ever try to dress to appeal to men,”

              Actually, Sarah has made that exact claim.

              “just that the mere fact that some man somewhere thinks one specific woman looks attractive in what she’s wearing should not be taken as proof that she is trying to “entice” him. ”

              As the author noted that he think comfort is not SOLELY the reason yoga pants have become so popular, arguing such a claim is pointless. It;s a strawman.

              “plenty of women think men in suits are hot, but I tend to assume that the men I see wearing suits are just trying to dress appropriately for whatever they’re doing ”

              Even when they wear them out to the club, or to some other non-sports social event? If yoga pants are worn for comfort, why then would men not also dress for comfort and shed the suit outside the workplace? Some do, but the suit remains the peak of socialwear for men. Now, don’t equate this as claiming yoga pants are the peak of socialwear for women, I’m just pointing out that men, too, dress to appeal. They wear suits for their appeal to women, not solely for their professional aspects. Admitting the same applies to women, with a focus on a different appeal (sexual rather than success), is all the author is trying to get out of women. And for that, he was called a misogynist and shamed (which was, ultimately, the reason he needed the acknowledgement in the first place, to help alleviate his shame).

            • Yes, maybe men wear suits to a club because they want to look nice. How many women wear yoga pants to a club, or to a brunch, or to other “social events” where a bit of dressing up is required? How many men wear suits when going grocery shopping, or picking up the kids, or going to the gym? This is when many of us wear our beloved yoga pants. And yes, they are VERY comfortable.
              I DO NOT WEAR YOGA PANTS TO TURN MEN ON.
              I don’t know how many ways that can be said. In fact, up until 2 days ago, I honestly would have laughed at the notion that yoga pants are a turn-on. If men like seeing us wearing them, no problem. If large numbers of men honestly believe we wear them with any thought of turning men into slavering horndogs (which is pretty insulting to men), then there is a serious problem.

            • Alyssa:
              “I DO NOT WEAR YOGA PANTS TO TURN MEN ON”

              Yes, I believe you have stated that several times. Are you all women? Do you speak for all women? Do the dozen women that have given their opinions on these topics, speak for all women? Is the micro-culture you inhabit, the model for all micro-cultures everywhere? Is it beyond the range of possibility that in some micro-cultures, they are worn for that purpose, with the advantage of plausible deniability?

              I am quite sure that much of the time, for some women, yoga pants have nothing to do with inciting sexual attraction. Some other women, some of the time have exactly that intent.

            • I never claimed to speak for all women. And, yes, I and others have said it many times because it doesn’t seem to be getting through to some folks.
              The author used broad terms, saying, in effect, the women he sees at the gym, women he doesn’t know, who don’t know him, are specifically trying to torment him.
              I can only speak for myself and for the women I know and have known in my 43 years. The majority of us do not get dressed with the intent to turn men on. Are there women who do? Yes. But they don’t speak for me, anymore than I speak for them. The assumption many of the commenters here are making is that ALL women in yoga pants know the effect they are having and revel in it and that is patently false.
              I don’t think there is any shame in being attracted to or turned on by someone. But to ASSUME they are TRYING to make you (the general “you,” not you specifically) feel that way, just to torture you, is, IMO, short-sighted at best. My comment was directed at those posters here who believe just that.

            • Alyssa @ 9:20

              It really simply is not worth engaging over this. Once generalizations are converted to universals, and people start speaking for all people in all circumstances, and then consigning people to rape culture and creepy oppressors, there is no discussion left to have.

              I absolutely believe you when you say you do not intend this, nor do the women you know intend this. I also know that my sister does intend to attract, and is blunt about it. I know for a fact that my daughter does this as well, and so do her friends, because they laughed about the effect they had on their boyfriends, and their cousins, and their boyfriends friends. I’m not certain why this is being so adamantly denied – some do, some don;t.

              Experiences and micro cultures DO vary yunno.

            • Yup. They do. Greatly. And we’re all products of those experiences and micro cultures. Which is why generalizations are so polarizing.

            • Alyssa @ 12:08

              Then we have agreement, I suspect.
              To my view, the OP was giving his personal experience, in whatever micro-culture he inhabits.
              To my view, much of the hostile response has been universalizing – women don;t intend to attract, tempt or tease by wearing yoga pants. Therefore he is a creep, and a proto-rape culture promoter.
              His presumption may very well be reasonable, IN HIS SETTING. It may well not be.
              To reject out of hand his assessment, and his experience, is unreasonable. Did anyone ask him specifically what accompanying body language, what cultural setting he inhabits? For all we know, the gyms he has encountered HAVE been used for pickups. Where I am, women largely go to a women only gym called Curves, and the men got to a boxing gym – mostly women don;t go to the boxing gym because, frankly it absolutely stinks. The co-ed gym IS known as a pickup site in this area.

              Everyone perfectly understands that you and others here DO NOT intend to be provocative in choosing to wear yoga pants. However, other women, in other places, DO.

            • You’re judging women based on their choice of underwear now? Something you won’t even see unless you’re intimate with them or peeping in the women’s locker room. Wow.

            • Please, point out where a judgement was made against women. I was merely pointing out that women DO in fact wear clothing for their appeal to men, which was a claim certain people have outright denied happens.

              But if you’d rather play victim than have an honest discussion, say as much and I’ll ignore you too.

        • I read the rebuttal article by Amelia McDonell-Parry over on thefrisky.com. She blasts Nathan for not taking women at their word when they say they wear yoga pants for comfort and that what men like doesn’t even enter into it. Ironically, one of her other articles is titled: “I Really Don’t Care To Know What Men Think About Makeup Because They’re Not Being Truthful Anyway”. Here she claims that all men who say they prefer women without makeup are actually lying. She knows this because every man shes met in real life who said this often didn’t realize that their wives were wearing makeup when they actually were. She even picks out the founder of this very site, who made such a claim and concludes:

          “While I’m sure Matlack thinks his wife is lovely first thing in the morning, before she’s put on her makeup, I would be shocked if he sincerely prefers it over the perfectly polished, “tasteful” and natural-looking makeup she regularly wears when they’re in public.”

          In effect what shes doing isn’t much different than what Nathan did, she can’t possibly believe that any man truly prefers his wife without makeup just like Nathan can’t believe women wear yoga pants without men in mind. Hypocrisy at its finest.

          • Well, no, that’s clearly different. She’s saying that most men who claim to prefer makeup-free women are being perfectly sincere, but are simply mistaken, because they mistake subtle makeup for no makeup at all (an entirely understandable mistake if you don’t use makeup yourself). Nathan is saying that women who claim to wear yoga pants for the sake of comfort are not mistaken but lying (either to him or to themselves). That’s a pretty huge difference.

            • I don’t see a difference. Look at what she says in the last paragraph:

              “The thing is, I don’t actually care if I ever do. I actually believe women should do whatever the fuck they want to with makeup — wear it, don’t wear it, regardless of what men think or think they think or pretend to think about it. So can we stop asking them now?”

              She implies that some men are knowingly pretending or are fooling themselves. Nathan says something similar, that we all want to be noticed whether we admit it or not. Like her, Nathan is also implying that some of those women simply aren’t admitting the truth or haven’t admitted it to themselves.

            • It should also be noted that the specific example she used, Matlack actually said he knew when his wife wasn’t wearing make up and that when she did it was tastefully done. Heres a guy who clearly knows the difference and is saying he prefers no make up and shes not giving him the benefit of the doubt.

            • Of course it’s different. It’s always different when you want to justify hypocrisy. The fact is, she refuses to take men at their word, then moans when she feels men aren’t taking women at their word. try pointing out that the specific details are different all you want, the core problem, that of taking people at their word, remains the same… well, it should remain the same, but for some reason, it doesn’t, depending on who she feels word needs to be taken at face value.

            • But according to Jack she didn’t say that those men were mistaken, she said they were not telling the truth. A mistake would be, “I don’t think she has makeup on. But wait, oh she actually does.” A lie (which is what her accusation is) would be more like, “I don’t care whether or not she has makeup on (but I actually do).”

              Not being able to tell if she has on makeup is not lying.

              And like Mark said it’s hypocritical. She doesn’t like it when women are not taken at their word about why they wear yoga pants but then turns around and declares that men can’t be taken at their word when they say they don’t care about their partner wearing makeup..

              So here’s the lesson. Men need to be quiet and take women at their word when about why they wear yoga pants because a man has no business telling a woman what her reasoning is and men also need to be quiet about saying they don’t care about whether or not women wear makeup because men have no business telling a woman what his reasoning is?

              At best you might be able to say that because a guy may not notice whether or not she has on makeup he might care once he recognizes that is wearing it and didn’t know. But even then who is to say that once he recognizes the difference he will suddenly start caring?

        • Brilliantly put.

        • There’s a lot of lip service about men being more in touch with and expressive of their feelings, but reactions like this condition men to realize that their feelings – especially about sex – will be perceived as “the same crap” by women, who find it tedious, an imposition, and threatening, not something thoughtful or brave. So for the most part, we keep that shit to ourselves or save a version of it for guy-talk, which we’ll also catch shit for.
          Damn straight. We are told to be more open and honest but as soon as we are we’re told its crap or teased or insulted (and attacked at times) about what we are feeling. Based on this I wonder if women want men to be open for the sake of men opening themselves up or do they just want to be nosy and judgmental about what men are feeling but don’t share.

          That has happened a little (more so in the later parts of the discussion), but especially in the early going, there was a ton of just calling him out as yet another misogynist, and follow-up articles published elsewhere have once again criticized GMP for publishing misogynist crap, etc., etc.
          Pretty much. I brought up the shame aspect and sure enough hardly anyone took a bite. And I find those followup pieces almost ironic because again. We are in an age where supposedly everyone (feminists especially) wants men to be more open about how they feel in hopes of helping them. But exactly how much help does it do to just rail off about how what he feels is misogyny this, or how “women are oppressing his eyes with their pants” (and I put that in quote marks because I saw almost this exact phrase on Twitter in reference to this post), or how it’s crap?

          Contrast that with the cuddling article I mentioned previously, where a woman author who didn’t believe men (even her husband) could want cuddling for non-sexual reasons, was brought around by the comments, and even came back later to comment how much closer she was feeling to her husband now that she was accepting and reciprocating his cuddling needs. She wasn’t branded a man-hater for saying men only use cuddling as a pretense for sex, and the piece didn’t have a ripple effect of articles criticizing GMP for publishing this man-hating crap.
          Sure as hell didn’t.

          Maybe I’m just suffering from confirmation bias with these two examples, but it seems to me that even here on a site that aims to be about men accepting and expressing a wider range of feelings, we see women allowed to express all of them, and men better watch out if they express the wrong ones, and it’s more women than men telling them they’re doing this vulnerability thing all wrong.
          Okay read into this what you want but this right here is one specific reason that some MRAs (and probably more men) don’t participate here. Yes most people just tell themselves that its because “MRAs are nasty!” but that’s not the entire answer. It’s a baited trap. “Come over here guys! We have a platform where you can sit and have some eye and mind opening conversation and make some progress on helping yourselves and others. (But what they don’t realize is there are plenty of people watching this place like a hawk and every time they do something they don’t like we’ll jump them for it. ::queme super villain laugh track::).

          • It’s a baited trap.
            Actually let me rephrase that.

            People see that this place can at times read more like a baited trap than an invitation for conversation.

          • Regarding your last paragraph. While I agree with you, I do want to defend the GMP management a bit here, and lay the blame on MRA writer’s themselves. Much of the baited trap part comes from the other writers and from commenters. And while, in the begining, I will say there was some bias in what got posted (such as the “what is the MRA” farce of a week), things have shifted to a more neutral standpoint, from the management side of things. The number of feminist writers is still significant, as is the number of feminist commenters, but this would be the place for MRA writers to get the debate and challenge feminist views on masculinity and men, if they would only stand up and do so. I wish I could write anything more than direct responses, but it’s not in the cards (I’ve tried writing about a vacation, where one of the authors here offered to help me refine it. I couldn’t even get enough down to paper worth sending his way.)

            So to summarize, I agree it’s a baited trap, but it is so because f the writers and the commenters, not the management. And it should be a trap worth springing, as it is precisely what many MRA’s claim they want, a chance to openly debate and challenge those double standards and views. It’s just daunting walking into such overwhelming opposition

            • Mark;
              Does management not decide with which sites to cross-promote (Everyday Feminism, XOJane), in whose hands to place authority to shape discussion, which pieces by which writers to accept, what level of editing to apply to submitted pieces, and what market to target (by identifying the click count of a category of articles.

              Does it not make decisions on what corporate culture to establish by its staff appointments, its regular open staff meetings? Does it have no policy on commenting?

              Surely such things amount to editorial stance.

              Given the articles that draw the most comments, not just from the 3 or 4 who are most prolific, but also from the pool of the infrequent commentors, clearly there is a perception of the community that participates here? Do you think this community is fertile ground for so-called MRA writers?

              In fact, is there any evidence at all that such content would be accorded equitable treatment? If not, why are you blaming such writers for not submitting? Not sure I understand what you wish to have happen.

            • If you can show me they are rejecting MRA pieces in favor of feminist ones, then I will accept the management is fully to blame. But if the management is getting 100 pieces by feminists for ever piece they get from MRA’s, it’s hardly fair to blame them for not posting more MRA pieces. It’s the same problem we have with feminists demanding top jobs for women… not enough women are stepping forward looking for the jobs. Several governments have women only short lists for their ridings and they STILL can’t get equal representation, because there just aren’t enough qualified candidates coming forward, and it’s unreasonable to blame men for this, just as it’s unreasonable to blame the GMP management for not getting enough MRA pieces… unless they are openly rejecting them, in which case I’ll admit I’m wrong. But GWW, Paul Elam, Typhon Blue have all had pieces posted here, and that stopped for some reason. But given Tom’s own pieces that have openly opposed feminists, I can’t believe it’s because they got blocked in favor of feminist writing. Again, if I’m wrong, I’ll admit it, but I’ve seen nothing to suggest I am.

            • ” Do you think this community is fertile ground for so-called MRA writers?”

              I think it wasn’t some time ago, and that gave feminists a strong foothold here. And so I agree it would be difficult to change that now, but I don’t think management is opposed to that change. In fact, I suspect they would welcome a more balanced selection of articles. I just think too many MRA’s have written this place off because of it’s beginnings and because they don’t censor feminist writings any more then I suspect they would MRA writings.

              As to why I blame writers for not submitting, see the short list part of my above comment.

            • Look, have it as you wish. I don;t much care whether MRA writers are represented here. I don;t think writers change anyone’s opinion here, or by and large anywhere else either. To me, this is a progressive site that is strongly prof-feminist, and so is its commentariat, its management, its staff, and its content. Wasn;t that the objective?

              With the possible exception of Matlack, who actually had a central premise that was effective. Stories of that kind are the exception, rather than the rule as matters stand, in my view.

            • Odd request. You wish me to prove that articles have been submitted to this site by so-called MRAs and have been rejected. How do you suggest I do this?
              Do the commentors here have access to internal information on the submission process? Do you?

              I take assurance that the site was founded by a feminist, is managed by a professional woman, has a senior editor whose originating blog was perceived to be anti-MRA, and has prolific contributors who are clearly positioned as pro-feminist.
              You appear to wish to absolve management of any responsibility for the community culture that has been created here, and I just don;t quite understand why? Is this something we are supposed to hide?

              Would you wonder if there were a paucity of libertarian articles on a progressive socialist site? Do you think libertarians are likely to persuade staunchly socialist leaning people of the merit of their views? Why on earth would one expect MRAs to contribute here.
              Incidentally, I don;t know who these people are that you reference – GWW, and Elam…. I did searches for their material, and all I found was an article written in 2011 by Elam titled “Paul Elam: On Misandry: What’s Wrong With Men?”, and the link was dead. I found Typhon Blue posts, 2 in all, both pre-dating the appointment of a new editor in chief, with whom Blue has a banning history, if I recall.

              Here’s a question I have, generally. How many MRA writers are there, anyone know?

            • …but this would be the place for MRA writers to get the debate and challenge feminist views on masculinity and men…
              I’m not so sure about that. Somehow, I’m still working out the details, MRAs have managed to turn this into a hell hole that promotes the rape of women even though they clearly have very little presence here.

              I wish I could write anything more than direct responses, but it’s not in the cards…
              Same here. I’m short on time. But in the time that I have written material I’ve noticed that as soon as most people see MRA they get ready for a fight. And if they see MRA when it’s not actually there they will just declare it is anyway and then get ready for a fight.

              So to summarize, I agree it’s a baited trap, but it is so because f the writers and the commenters, not the management.
              Really? A while back Filipovic called GMP an MRA hell hole and called for other outlets to cut off ties with GMP until they managed to get rid of all MRA presence. Management was pretty quiet on that one and as far as I know they never actually responded. I’ve managed to stick around but I’m truly wondering is it because the management will not give in to the demands of critics that clearly don’t understand GMP (because anyone with half a working brain can plainly see this place is nowhere near dominated by MRA presence) or what.

              as it is precisely what many MRA’s claim they want, a chance to openly debate and challenge those double standards and views. It’s just daunting walking into such overwhelming opposition
              And I’m up for the challenge. The hard part is going to be dealing with people that would rather cry “Misogyny!” at the mere sight of an MRA rather than actually talking things out. For some reason that stuff gets a free pass (but of course once an MRA takes that to heart and stoops to that level THEN suddenly everyone turns 180 and wants civil conversation).

            • “I’m not so sure about that. …”

              Well, my meaning was that this “could” have been neutral group, where both sides could have their say. How ether side chose to use it is outside managements control.

              “Really?…”

              I must be misunderstanding you, because it seem to me what you are describing is precisely what you are questioning. Sounds to me you are describing a situation in which some non-management person made a demand for GMP to take sides, and GMP management flatly ignored those demands… in which case, I don’t see how it’s managements fault over that of the contributors.

              “The hard part is going to be dealing with people that would rather cry “Misogyny!” at the mere sight of an MRA rather than actually talking things out. ”

              Yeah. That’s always the hard part. But I suspect having a place where both sides can have their full say is better than ether an MRA site that will only attract trolls willing to brave the depravity and evils of the MRM, or else a feminist echo chamber where silencing dissent is the primary response to opposition.

      • “This is nothing new and we are tired of it. No one is blaming Nathan or any man for being attracted to women or even being attracted to women who wear a certain type of clothes, but it’s the assumption that women are wearing these clothes in order to titillate men or tease men that’s the problem, because 99% of the time that’s not even true. ”

        I think that is complete B.S. You don’t have to be a genius to recognize the enormous difference in the fashion choices of men and women. Whether or not women at that moment are making a conscious effort to titillate the day they put it on is not the point. It’s whether or not women are choosing clothing based on it’s potential to titillate when they purchase the items. If they go to the store and try on the outfit by looking at their butt in the mirror then it does not matter if they don’t check out the rump every other morning when they put it on. These are the sexy pants the purchased to “look hot” so even when they don’t care about looking hot that will be the effect.

        Women’s fashion choices consist of a wide variety of tight fitting, body revealing, sexually titillating outfits. Men’s fashion choices are mostly loose fitting clothing. There is clearly something going on here. Men should call women on it and women need to stop lying.

        This is all about sex, from the fashion trends, to women’s personal choices, to men’s response to seeing women in it.

        • No where will you find anyone claiming that men cannot look at women. Of course men will look at attractive women and vise versa. We are attracted to each other (assuming we’re all heterosexual). But women do not get up in the morning and think “Gosh I wonder what all the men in the world will think of me in this outfit” It might just happen that what we wear on a certain day does attract male attention and that’s totally fine. But that’s still not always necessarily what we are going for. Women do not revolve all their choices around men, I’m sorry. And men need to get used to that. If you see an attractive woman and you look at her for a few seconds, I mean, cool, whatever. But try to remember that she is still a person, not a piece of meat for you to devour. Look, but please be respectful. Is that too hard?

          • “No where will you find anyone claiming that men cannot look at women.”

            Funny, because I see it right there in the article. I see the author crowing about the guilt he feels for looking at women in yoga pants. And I see those in the comments section telling him he’s wrong to be putting the blame for that guilt on women, that he should accept responsability for that guilt himself. In other words, the guilt he feels for looking is rightly justified… AKA he’s supposed to feel guilty for looking at women, he just isn’t allowed to blame women for it. This whole “it’s ok to look at each other” defense has only come up since it’s been pointed out the guilt he’s feeling is what’s wrong.

            “But women do not get up in the morning and think “Gosh I wonder what all the men in the world will think of me in this outfit””

            As another commenter pointed out (think it was Ed, if mistaken, my apologies), it may not be thought first thing in the morning, but it very likely is thought when the item in question is purchased. And to deny this is, at least sometimes the case, is to be incredibly dishonest.

            “Women do not revolve all their choices around men, I’m sorry”

            Who said anything about “ALL” their choices? But some choices in some area’s are clearly done for the purpose of attracting men. And if you don’t agree, please explain the benefits of a push-up bra, as I’m interested to hear the mental gymnastics needed to justify the discomfort of an underwire, if not to give the appearance of larger breasts in order to appeal to men

            • PS. It often amuses me how often women will deny their own agency in order to hold men responsible for something that offends them.

            • Mark, the issue that women have with this piece is the part where Nathan says that just because he finds women in yoga pants attractive then that means that they are obviously only wearing them for that reason. Woman after woman after woman has stated that they wear yoga pants for COMFORT and not to appeal to men. But that doesn’t mean that it’s bad for men to find women in yoga pants attractive. Just please do not assume that we are wearing them to turn you on. This is not rocket science, good grief.

              And when it comes down to it, women have many motivations for wearing the clothes that they wear. Women are not a monolith. SOME women may choose certain articles of clothing to attract men, but that doesn’t mean that every woman every where is making choices based on what men think. Some of us do not care. I don’t wear push-up bras, and neither do any of the women I know. We dress for ourselves, not YOU.

            • ” the issue that women have with this piece is the part where Nathan says that just because he finds women in yoga pants attractive then that means that they are obviously only wearing them for that reason. ”

              You’ll have to point that specific part of the article out for me, because I clearly see him state “However, I have a hard time believing that—outside of the gym or the yoga classes—women wear yoga pants SOLELY for comfort.”. Note the “SOLELY for comfort “part, indicating your “ONLY” to appeal to men sexually assertion is a strawman, which makes all your blame and shame nothing more than an attack. Many of the commenters also ignored the “outside a gym environment” part in order to attack him, pointing out the advantages such pants offer while IN the gym.

              “Woman after woman after woman has stated that they wear yoga pants for COMFORT and not to appeal to men”

              And the author acknowledges that comfort is indeed a reason. But he asserts it’s not the only reason, and given the existance of other comfortable clothing, and how much less appealing those are to men, and the corresponding lack of becoming fashionable, he has a point. Why aren’t track pants as fashionable, they to are comfortable, moreso according to some of my female friends. To try and deny the sexual appeal of tight fitting clothing is to be incredibly disingenuous. And to insist on such in order to justify blaming men, well, that’s downright offensive.

              “Just please do not assume that we are wearing them to turn you on. This is not rocket science, good grief.”

              Can we make such an assumption about push-up bra’s, or are you going to pretend those aren’t worn to appeal to men ether?

              “And when it comes down to it, women have many motivations for wearing the clothes that they wear.”

              Correct. And the only person denying that is you, or more specifically, the strawman your fighting against. What is being argued is that sex appeal IS one of those reasons, and again, it’s you who’s denying that.

              “Women are not a monolith. ”

              Nor are men, but we do get treated as such when the man bashing begins. But stating that it is not unreasonable to sugest yoga pants are worn outside the gym, party for their appeal to many men, does not present women as a monolith, it is simply a generalization (and those always acknowledge exceptions exist). I realy don’t understand why some people have such a hate on for generalizations (until it suits them to use them). Are you incapable of seeing a generalization and not assuming it’s about you specifically? Are you not cappable of seeing a generalization and thinking, “hmm, may be true in general, maybe I’m one of the exceptions to this generalization?”

              “Some of us do not care.”

              Guess not.

            • But women are saying that comfort it IS the sole reason for wearing yoga pants. Women are not lying to you. We do wear yoga pants outside of the gym for comfort. Yes, that is the only reason. Most of us have never considered yoga pants to be sexy because we don’t feel sexy when we wear them. Usually they are worn on casual days when we’re running errands or being lazy. And plenty of women do wear other “comfy” clothes. I see women out in sweat and track pants all the time. Yoga pants are just one option of many. And no, it still has nothing to do with your libido.

            • “But women are saying that comfort it IS the sole reason for wearing yoga pants. Women are not lying to you. We do wear yoga pants outside of the gym for comfort. Yes, that is the only reason.”

              What happened to “women are not a monolith”? Or does that only apply against criticism?

              I have been told by several women they think their ass looks great in yoga pants, and while that may not be the sole reason they wear them, it certainly does play a part. So your attempt to claim women wear them SOLELY for the comfort is a farce.

              “Usually they are worn on casual days when we’re running errands or being lazy”

              Another falsehood. I see yoga pant’s routinely on business days, both in the office, and especially around the university next to my office building. And not a trivial number of them.

              “And plenty of women do wear other “comfy” clothes. I see women out in sweat and track pants all the time. Yoga pants are just one option of many.”

              It’s rather disingenuous to pretend track pants and yoga pants share the same degree of acceptance in the fashion world. Track pants are only ever worn for comfort, when doing laundry or other chores. Yoga pants are worn in social environments, to events, out in public. There is a reason for this difference, and it isn’t comfort. Pretending otherwise is just being dishonest.

              And again, it amazes me how fervently some women will deny their own agency in order to avoid any kind of criticism or blame for the outcomes of their own choices. You would rather accept that your choice to wear yoga pants was completely innocent, and that men looking at your ass is them objectifying you, than admit you know how your ass looks when wearing them, and that men will check your ass out, and choose to wear them nonetheless.

            • MEN CAN CHECK US OUT WHEN WE WEAR YOGA PANTS. THEY CAN THEY CAN THEY CAN.

              This is like talking to a brick wall.

              Check us out if you want but please don’t assume that we’re wearing those pants in order to turn you on. Women may think their butts look good in yoga pants but that still doesn’t mean that it’s FOR MEN. Women can and do wear things that make their bodies look good FOR THEMSELVES. We are not trying to tease you. If you happen to notice us and give us a harmless look then fine. But we are still not wearing those pants with you or your libido in mind. Please please please, accept this.

            • Granting permission NOW doesn’t change the fact that the conversation, until this point, was denying that same permission.

              Insult me all you want, call me a brick wall all you want, it doesn’t change the content of comments that came before you. Doesn’t change the fact you are still trying to guilt men in other comments with such strawmen as accusing an opposition to accusations of objectification for looking into some demand for a positive reaction.

            • You are delusional, I never guilted men for looking at women, and most of the comments here haven’t either. I think you’re just wanting permission to treat women like objects and you’re blaming women for not letting you. That’s all I’m getting out of this conversation at this point.

            • “That’s all I’m getting out of this conversation at this point.”

              Then there isn’t much point having a conversation with you, as you will see what you want to see, not what is being said. This isn’t my problem though. After all, comments like “I think you’re just wanting permission to treat women like objects and you’re blaming women for not letting you” is doing precisely what you claim you aren’t doing. You are attempting to shame me (and all men who read these comments and share my view) by attempting to equate not wanting to be creep shamed, with demanding some kind of positive response to my lust. Next you’ll be accusing me of rape apologia, as doubling down, increasing the accusations to greater and greater levels, is how this silencing tactic goes when the initial shaming efforts fail to work,

            • Sara:
              I’m confused. @ 2:05, you say …
              “You are delusional, I never guilted men for looking at women, and most of the comments here haven’t either. I think you’re just wanting permission to treat women like objects and you’re blaming women for not letting you. That’s all I’m getting out of this conversation at this point.”

              But yesterday, Rave said …
              “Sometimes the truth is ugly, and while we aren’t necessarily calling him a monster, we are pointing out that his talk about women dressing to tease him, is still in the same vein of blaming women for mens behaviour, which is a form of rape culture.”

              and you responded, at 9:18,
              “Well said, Rave”

              Well the men’s behaviour in question is looking at women wearing Yoga pants.

              So which is it – never guilted men for looking, or it is part of rape culture?

            • Um, seriously? Are some of you this thick? The problem is men PRESUMING that women are dressing to tease them and turn them on. The problem is not that men get turned on in and of itself. I can’t make this any clearer. It’s definitely a sign of rape culture if men are assuming that a woman’s motives for getting dressed in the morning are just so she can catch the attention of any man she sees. But a man noticing an attractive woman is fine, just as long as he is respectful towards her. Not rocket science.

            • Sara @ 6:24

              Really not interested in responding to ” Are some of you this thick?”

            • Then don’t. But you do come off that way because you seem incapable of understanding things that really aren’t that complicated if you have two brain cells to rub together.

          • Look, but please be respectful. Is that too hard?

            I wouldn’t say “too hard”, but yes, it’s hard. The reason isn’t because we can’t control how many glances we take or how long those glances last, but because the judgment of “respectful” is controlled by how women feel, not by what we intend or expect them to feel. Although several women in this discussion have described as obvious the difference between looks they don’t mind and ogling or staring, they have glossed over the fact that the threshold is different from woman to woman, and from one situation to the next even for the same woman.

            If my buddies Ryan Gosling, Archy, and I are exercising together at the local YMCA, we could be checking out and appreciating women in yoga pants with the exact same duration and frequency, and probably get three different reactions. There would be more than one reaction from the women, too, since they’re individuals and there’s no “react like a woman” description that fits them all. Some might find it rude of all three of us if she caught any one so much as glancing in her direction. Others might feel flattered by or indifferent to all three. In the middle range, there are some who would feel flattered and confident to have caught Ryan’s eye, because he’s dreamy and if he’s looking their way, maybe they daydream about what he would say to them after, “Hey, girl…”. If they caught me looking, I’m 5’7″, about 155 lbs., and babyfaced, so they might think, “Rude, but probably not a threat.” If they caught Archy looking, he’s 6’6″ and big (if I’m remembering Archy’s self-description right), there might be more who feel creeped out and threatened by him than by either The Gooseman (that’s what we call him when we’re working out together) or myself.

            Is there anyone who really thinks that aside from being chummy with Ryan Gosling, my hypothetical is absurd, and that women will uniformly share the same thresholds and reactions to a range of men checking them out in equal measure? This variance is what makes it hard to “look, but be respectful” — because we often don’t know how threatening or unthreatening the person we’re checking out will find us, or how little it might take before she feels disrespected. A quick glance is sometimes enough, if she believes you were more than glancing and mistakes a first glance for a twentieth. If we do have a sense of how welcome or unwelcome our glance is likely to be, then the “be respectful” guideline ends up meaning it’s okay for attractive people to check each other out, but everyone else should just keep their eyes to themselves.

            So, the standard of how much looking is okay and how much is ogling is not a consistent standard, either from woman to woman, or for the same woman independent of who’s looking and where. Since it’s impossible to read minds and abide by a standard that’s in constant flux, the best we (men) can do is to abide by our own standards and hope for the best. When we’re lucky, the result if you catch us looking (or just think we are) will be that it’s harmless or even feels complimentary; when we’re unlucky, the result will be you thinking we’re an entitled creep. Either way, it could be the exact same look from us, and whatever you feel about it, it’s not our fault. Kinda like it’s not your fault if we happen to feel aroused.

            • Addendum to the hypothetical – Assume “good behavior” by all three of us, meaning no catcalling, whistling, feel copping, etc. Just appreciating from a distance. No fair to assume that Gosling would be discreet while Archy and I would drool and make smacking sounds.

            • Marcus, I tried to reply to your comment, but no matter what it keeps saying “awaiting moderation.” Not sure what is setting that off. My first comment had the “f” word in it but I took it out but it’s still not showing.

            • Okay so I just posted this comment but it is currently “waiting to be moderated” so I guess some of my phrasing was bad. Here let me try again without all the cussing.

              I guess my question is, is it really the worst thing in the world if a woman doesn’t appreciate you looking at her? I’m always baffled by how certain men in these discussions think that their lives are soooo hard because women are not falling all over themselves when you check them out.

              Like, if you look at a woman and you notice that she’s not reciprocating your attraction towards her, then stop looking and move on with your day. Like, I’ve actually been in situations like this with cute guys before. Maybe I’ve looked in their direction and smiled, and if he smiled back then I know that the feeling between us is mutual. But if he ignores me or gives me a weird look then I know he’s not interested and I move on. I guess I just don’t understand the dilemma. No one expects you to walk around with your head down, never looking at or smiling at a pretty woman, but if a woman gives you a clear sign that she doesn’t want your attention then just move on with your life. Is there really a need to go on a diatribe about how women are such teases and it’s just so hard to be male? Like, really?

            • Well, that didn’t work either.

            • the fun is trying to work out which word will cause the comment to disappear into the m.zone ;-)
              looking at your post, im guessing it was the word ‘moddderrrated’

            • “I guess my question is, is it really the worst thing in the world if a woman doesn’t appreciate you looking at her?”

              When blame and shame are heaped on him for doing so… yes. If women don’t appreciate men looking at them, they need to take some responsibility for ensuring that doesn’t happen. It is unacceptable to attempt and claim women should be allowed to dress however they want, and should be entirely free of having undesirable responses, no matter how natural those responses are. Keep in mind, we’re talking about more than just not appreciating being looked at, we’re talking about telling men they shouldn’t look, calling them creeps or misogynists for looking, accusations of objectification, or worse.

              “I’m always baffled by how certain men in these discussions think that their lives are soooo hard because women are not falling all over themselves when you check them out.”

              You’re welcome to point out such an example, but I suspect this is just a strawman to try and shame men for daring to speak up. The problem isn’t about a lack of positive reaction, it is about the negative reactions, the shaming and guilt that caused the author to try and find away to absolve himself of that guilt in the first place. If he wasn’t made to feel guilty for even looking, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. And you solution, add more guilt.

              The rest of your comment is just more of the same. trying to turn an opposition of the negative reactions into some demand for a positive one. Rather offensive if you ask me. And certainly not helpful to the general conversation.

            • Did you ever stop to think that you’re getting negative reactions because you are coming off as creepy and intrusive? Maybe the problem is not with women, maybe it’s YOU. Maybe you need to re-evaluate your interactions with women. Because I can tell you that I never shame men for looking at me unless they are being creeps about it. There has to be reason for me to accuse you of objectification. It isn’t just me being a big meanie pants. So instead of blaming women for over-reacting to your advances, maybe you need to look inward. Just a suggestion.

            • I never shame men for looking at me unless they are being creeps about it.

              So if I look the same way at you and another woman, and you shame me for being a creep while she doesn’t care (or maybe even is flattered), then she must be an idiot, because your judgment is never wrong, right?

              So instead of blaming women for over-reacting to your advances, maybe you need to look inward. [Emphasis added.]

              You’re doing it again — confusing looking with advances. That’s why guys like Nathan feel shame and guilt whether they’ve acted on a momentary arousal or not, because they know some women like you will interpret looks as come-ons, and consider them creeps for it.

            • Hey, guess what? Sometimes people’s comfort zones and boundaries are different! If I’m reacting to you in a way that another woman doesn’t that might be because we are different people with different experiences. Again, it all comes down to the fact that IF you are making women uncomfortable, repeatedly, then re-evaluate your approach. But if this is just something that happens on occassion then just get over it. Move on. It’s not a crisis. I still don’t understand why men act like women denying them is such a catastrophic event.

              Looks can be just as threatening and creepy as advances, btw. If you’re looking at me like I’m a nice juicy steak, then I’m going tell you to get the eff away from me. But if you just look at me for a second or two, smile politely and maybe give me a nod and a hello, then that’s fine. One is polite and the other is gross and creepy.

            • “Looks can be just as threatening and creepy as advances, btw. If you’re looking at me like I’m a nice juicy steak, then I’m going tell you to get the eff away from me.”

              But remember folks, she’s not shaming men for looking. The fact that how SHE chooses to interpret those looks (be it looking at her like a steak or something else) is lagely a manifestation of her own imagination, and is therefore in no way under a man’s control (short of avoiding being seen looking), is besides the point. Men aren’t shamed for looking, they’re just shamed for how she chooses to interpret that look. Totally different, and still the mans fault.

            • So it basically it doesn’t matter to you whether or not women are comfortable with the way your looking at them? You think women should just suck it up because men are turned on by women and should be able to just ogle women wherever and whenever they want for how long as they want? Women don’t really know how they feel about something, they’re just always shaming men for being men and interpreting looks in order to make men feel bad? I don’t even think there is any point to carry this on, if this is really how you feel. You’re so steeped in MRA rhetoric that you can’t see past it.

            • You’re so steeped in MRA rhetoric that you can’t see past it.
              Whose MRA rhetoric? Not mine?

            • Danny, I was addressing Mark. He is dismissive of women and our concerns all over this thread.

            • Does it matter if men are uncomfortable or not by the way you dress? Does it matter that dressing sexy makes men want to look at you, only to be labeled “threatening creeps” when they do?

              Is it that hard to, if you don’t want people looking at your ass, not to dress your ass in clothing specifically designed to make it desirable to look at?

              Are you complaining when dressing sexy has some kind of positive impact on your life? Or do you just demand to reap all of the benefits but play the victim when a man you don’t want looking at you looks at you? (Not touches or follows or threatens or assaults or stalks or harasses, but merely has his eyes in your direction)

            • Drew, this is the last me I’m going to say this. It. Is. Not. A. Problem. If. Men. Look.

              However, women are allowed to respond to men if they feel they are being creepy and intrusive. If you’re staring at me for an extended period of time like I’ve got 8 heads or something like that I’m probably going to react to it. Anyone would. However a quick look is fine. I don’t expect no one to look at me if I happen to be wearing something that shows off my butt or boobs or whatever but that doesn’t mean that I want to be gawked at all damn day. Do you see what I’m saying?

            • *last time I’m going to say this, rather

            • “It. Is. Not. A. Problem. If. Men. Look.

              However, women are allowed to respond to men if they feel they are being creepy and intrusive.”

              And that is determined by what and by who, exactly?

              Yes, I see what you’re saying. Do you see what I’m saying when I point out that how “creepy” a guy is acting is entirely dependent on the particular woman, at the particular time, for any reasonable or unreasonable qualification? So there’s nothing wrong with looking, except when there’s something wrong with looking. Its not a problem if men look, except for when a woman decides there is a problem.

              And the problem may be that she had a bad day, or that she was dressed sexy even though she didn’t want attention, or that the man is overweight or bald or old or dirty or smells bad, or that he reminds her of a guy she knew years ago who did a bad thing, or he looks like her brother, etc, etc.

              And the problem is never on the woman’s end; the problem is never that the woman wasn’t in the mood to be looked at or that she didn’t like the particular man looking at her – the problem is always the man. So the same man can give the same look to two different women.. and with one it’s okay and with the other he’s a lecherous, dangerous, threatening “creep”. Or two different men can give the same look to one woman, and it’s okay for one guy and not okay for the other.

              The problem is, men can’t read minds. We can’t look at you and know “She’s wearing yoga pants because attention makes her feel good” or “She’s wearing yoga pants but doesn’t want any attention.” We can’t know if you had a bad day or a good day or if you’re in the mood to flirt or want to be left alone.

              So we have to develop our own standards, for what is and isn’t appropriate. Yes, I agree, gawking is rude and following someone is unacceptable and yelling crude comments is wrong. But glancing for a moment? Nope, not wrong, even if the woman “catches” the man and decides he’s an objectifying jerk who thinks he’s entitled to assault her. Talking to a woman? If done respectfully with attention to social cues, nope – not wrong. Even if a woman decides it’s a horrible intrusion and thinks he has the “right” to talk to her.

              Yes, men should absolutely respect women, and if a woman seems uncomfortable, it’s not unreasonable to expect a man to change his behavior toward that woman. That’s common courtesy. But, as a man, I can’t go around all day terrified that glancing at a woman’s butt in yoga pants makes me OMGTEHCREEPY, and as the gender that is always expected to make the approach, I sometimes have to take the risk that striking up some small talk is going to be taken poorly.

            • Drew, I don’t think you are creepy at all for glancing at a woman in yoga pants or any other article of clothing that you might find appealing on the female form. I do the same sometimes when I see men that I think are hot or wearing clothes that show off their physiques. And you’re right, sometimes you don’t intend to be creepy but it can be read that way by strangers and that sucks but I also don’t think it’s that big of a deal. If someone that I don’t know keeps looking at me I’m probably going to be a bit weirded out. I mean, I don’t know the person. And I’m not a mind-reader either. I can’t tell if that person is harmless or is planning on harassing me so I might be a bit defensive at first. It goes both ways. I guess we all just have to do our best to respect each others boundaries as best we can. We won’t always get it right and signals might be misread, but I think if our intentions are not malicious then no real harm will be done. Not sure what else to say.

            • Agreed, Sara.

            • “Drew, this is the last me I’m going to say this. It. Is. Not. A. Problem. If. Men. Look.”

              So it’s not a problem if men look…

              “However, women are allowed to respond to men if they feel they are being creepy and intrusive”

              …unless it is, then it’s perfectly acceptable for a woman to react to the man looking.

              Nice double speak there. This is why there is a problem. This is why we are saying that we’re told it’s not OK to look, because despite you saying otherwise, you always add an addendum which then gives yourself permission to once again say it’s not OK, based solely on looking.

            • Mark, do you think that women should just let men ogle them and stare at them as much as they want? Do you think women are just things that exist for the visual pleasures of men? Do you not understand that women have feelings and boundaries and that sometimes when men won’t quit staring at us it makes us uncomfortable?

              Drew and I already came to an understanding about these things. We both agreed that’s totally cool for men and women to notice each other, but it’s important to be respectful of boundaries and not do things that make people uncomfortable. Do you think this is an unreasonable request?

            • “…unless it is, then it’s perfectly acceptable for a woman to react to the man looking.

              Nice double speak there. This is why there is a problem. This is why we are saying that we’re told it’s not OK to look, because despite you saying otherwise, you always add an addendum which then gives yourself permission to once again say it’s not OK, based solely on looking.”

              You’re actually doing a great job here of illustrating the difference between appreciation and objectification. You’re hoping that Sara is going to give you a primer on how to look at all women without being deemed creepy, when actually it’s on a case-by-case basis, AND THAT’S PERFECTLY OKAY. Because ‘women’ aren’t a category. Of course different women are going to react differently to the same look, and that’s because women are different people. Only someone who has a problem seeing women as individual humans, rather than a categorical object ready to be observed, would have an issue with this. The solution, which has been suggested numerous times, is to adjust your actions on a case-by-case basis. Note that, again, this is something that we do all the time with people in our lives; we don’t act around our grandparents the same way that we act around our best friends, because we don’t expect them to react similarly to the same brand of behavior. If you are interested in seeing a woman as an individual, you will care about how she reacts to your glances. If you don’t, and you just want license to stare at her because she has something you like, that’s objectification. Period.

            • wellokaythen says:

              “If you don’t, and you just want license to stare at her because she has something you like, that’s objectification. Period.”

              I think it’s sad that any man would feel the need to seek some sort of license. I think Nathan is torturing himself because on some level he feels the need to have some sort of permission to look at women, maybe even some sort of papal dispensation to allow him to have sexual thoughts about other people. In fact, he doesn’t need anyone’s permission, and he doesn’t need a license. I challenge the entire notion that any permission is required.

            • Mr Supertypo says:

              I agree wello, people are free to look (not stare) and free to dream. Anything else is just *beeep*

            • “If you’re staring at me for an extended period of time like I’ve got 8 heads or something like that I’m probably going to react to it. Anyone would. However a quick look is fine. I don’t expect no one to look at me if I happen to be wearing something that shows off my butt or boobs or whatever but that doesn’t mean that I want to be gawked at all damn day. Do you see what I’m saying?”
              Agreed, I can’t see how anyone would have an issue with that.

            • “You’re so steeped in MRA rhetoric that you can’t see past it.”
              Hello strawman.

              “Women don’t really know how they feel about something, they’re just always shaming men for being men and interpreting looks in order to make men feel bad?”
              This all largely depends on the look given and since it’s fully based on her interpretation, yes she may absolutely fail to understand his look. That’s the nature of guessing another person’s behaviour based off a look, he may be admiring your necklace, might be admiring your breasts. He might be wondering if he knows you, I did this the other day and had to take a few looks to try remember where I knew her from as she looked very familiar and she may have thought I was into her, she might have felt creeped out, she may have thought her hair was messed up…who knows (was a few quick glances though and she didn’t look at me at all). Thing is if she approached me n starting shaming me, or made an online post describing how degrading n objectifying it was then that would be shaming. How often do these women actually find out why the guy is looking? It’s most often just their instincts and internal guesswork at play, probably right in many cases but I guarantee many will get it wrong.

              I’ve had women tell me they thought I was confident when I was actually scared shitless and in a heavy depression at the time, body language is a mere guide and not a comprehensive library of someones feelings n desires. I’ve walked past people who have looked at me, I felt threatened, I felt scared, all they were doing is smiling n going about their business. Why did I feel scared? Because I was just out of highschool and had recieved a huge amount of bullying to the point I was seeing negative where it wasn’t, I was seeing the bullies in people who I am sure now were just going about their business and probably didn’t pay much attention to me.

              What you see as creepy may be a person with aspergers, they may be ADHD and daydreaming their ass off without realizing what they are looking at (I’ve done this heaps of times), they may be suffering PTSD, doing the 1000yard stare, they could be so many different things but if you see someone looking at you and feel creeped out then you may be right, you may be wrong, would you then go harass them or tell other men to quit that shit whilst stating FOR A FACT that the person is objectifying, and other terms used to shame? My own mother called a guy creepy because of how HE LOOKED. I have friends who are creeped out by this 40 year old guy with “pedo glasses”, not because he behaves creepy, but because he LOOKS creepy to them, he fits a stereotype of the middle aged child abuser in tv n movies.

              What I suggest is give people the benefit of the doubt if ALL they have done is look, you feel creeped out and that’s fine, I feel creeped out too at times but I don’t think of that person as a creep. I don’t go online n say that person WAS a creep, but it’s ok to say I felt creeped out. I take issue with automatic assumptions of negative behaviour in people. There are some out there who believe penis in vagina sex = rape every single time no matter what, there are people who think someone looking at them for .123 seconds means they only think of them as an object. I highly doubt there’d be so many men with apprehension on this topic if all it dealt with was creepy shit like saying sexually explicit comments, purposely staring, catcalling, etc.

            • wellokaythen says:

              “So it basically it doesn’t matter to you whether or not women are comfortable with the way you’re looking at them? You think women should just suck it up because men are turned on by women and should be able to just ogle women wherever and whenever they want for how long as they want?“

              That could be the conclusion, but it’s not automatically the case. If I don’t care how someone feels, then I don’t have any recommendation about what they can do with their feelings. “I don’t care” is not the same thing as “suck it up.” Saying I have an inherent power to do something says absolutely nothing about how other people are supposed to feel about it. Like it, don’t like it, put up with it, fight it, those are separate from whether I’m in my rights to do it.

              I don’t think anyone here is saying “men look, so women should just enjoy the attention.” The whole point seems to be that how women feel about or what women do about it may not be the central question.

            • Yup. Because sometimes women dress sexy because they like the attention, and other times women dress sexy even though they don’t want the attention. So giving a woman who is dressed sexy attention is good when she wants it and makes you a bad evil objectifying creep when she doesn’t want it, and you should just know, and act accordingly.

              Because a woman has the right to interpret anything she wants as a threat, including a glance at her, or striking up conversation. Because you have NO RIGHT to talk to her, except when she wants you to talk to her, in which case you shouldn’t “be afraid” to talk to her.

            • wellokaythen says:

              She has the right to tell a man to stop looking at her or even tell him to go away, and he has the right tio decide to stay or go. I see no reason why both people can’t have freedom of speech and freedom of eyesight. One of the great things about freedom of speech and freedom of movement is that two people can come to opposite conclusions in the same situation and they can both be right.

              No one can shame you without your consent. An attempt to shame a man is just an attempt, really. Whether it works is largely up to him.

            • You’re missing the point here, bud. It’s not that he acted on his desires that’s the issue. The issue is where he’s attributing the blame.

              If yoga pants provokes shameful desires in him, well, that’s problem. He should try to see pants as more than sexual stimuli.

            • How about this, let’s agree we are all entitled to feel how we feel.

              it is okay for a man to feel attracted to a woman. Or not. Your feelings are valid. Likewise, it’s okay for a woman to feel bothered if she thinks a man is attracted to her. Or not. Or to be happy or flattered or offended or creeped out. However she feels is how she feels. Her feelings are valid. As long as no one starts screaming at each other, or behaving offensively, we can deal with our feelings and all go about our day.

            • Mark,

              Let’s compare the perspectives, shall we? You talk about Nathan receiving the brunt of the internet community for this one article, the shame being heaped on him and how it’s excessive and these comments shouldn’t happen. So right now, Nathan’s sad lot is based on his negative attention in this one situation.

              Have you even considered what’s it like for women to be shamed and made to feel guilty for their clothing choices all the time? Think about it. Something so trivial as CLOTHING is the reason real women in real life meet real physical, non-virtual, harassment.

              You can’t understand why people are so angry? He’s making charges that women are trying to tempt him simply by wearing gym clothing. Wouldn’t you get angry when someone blames you for something you didn’t do?

            • “Have you even considered what’s it like for women to be shamed and made to feel guilty for their clothing choices all the time?”

              Have you ever considered the reason women get shamed and made to feel guilty for their clothing choices is because they shame men for appreciating the attributes those clothing choices accentuate? It’s a matter of what came first, the chicken or the egg, shaming men for looking, or shaming women for showing?

              Problem is, despite a small handfull of people trying to point out the shame the author felt, the shame he was trying to alleviate by putting (some) of the blame on the women themselves, all I’ve seen is denial women play any part in any of it. All I’ve seen are attempts to deny men are shamed for looking (while simultaneously creep shaming the men here for daring to even try to have the conversation), while still getting angry they are blamed for the shame men are made to feel. If men weren’t made to feel ashamed for looking (and we’re talking reasonable looking here, the author gave no indication he does otherwise, yet still feels ashamed and “chavinistic” for looking), they would feel no need to absolve themselves of the guilt by placing the blame on women. If they didn’t feel ashamed, there would be no blame to pass around. But nobody wants to address this point, instead just adding more shame and blame onto the author, who already has more than enough.

              “You can’t understand why people are so angry?”

              Oh, I do. They are angry because the shame the author was feeling got turned on them, and when they tried to turn it back, some people said wait a minute. They are angry because they are attempting to speak for all women, and making huge absolute claims. yoga pants are only ever worn for comfort, women don’t wear them to appeal to men… but walk into any sports bar and you’ll see every waitress in ether a mini skirt or yoga pants, and you can’t tell me that isn’t to appeal to men for bigger tips, because I know better. So if some women do it, then the authors only failure would be attributing it to all women… but he didn’t do that. He made efforts to point out that it wasn’t always SOLELY for comfort, thus acknowledging that sometimes, it was for comfort.

              I will say one thing, what confuses me most about this conversation is how easily most of the women here willing to abandon their agency. To pretend they know nothing about sex appeal and that any attraction their attire may create was completely beyond their reasoning, totally unknown to them. it’s pretty sad really.

            • Mark, you are completely and utterly misunderstanding why women are taking issue with this article, even though it has been pointed out to you and everyone else REPEATEDLY.

              Nathan was not being shamed and called chauvinistic for looking at women in yoga pants, he was being called out for presuming that all the women he saw wearing yoga pants were wearing them for his viewing pleasure. As women have pointed out REPEATEDLY it’s totally fine if men think women look good in yoga pants but we aren’t necessarily wearing them to appeal to the male gaze. We are wearing them because they are comfy and easy to put on during days when we feel like being lazy or when we just left the gym and didn’t feel like changing. For the vast majority of us, it is SOLELY for comfort. You would think that after the 283249th woman pointed that out that you would maybe finally get it, but you still keep insisting that we are wrong. Apparently you know why we wear the clothes that we wear better than we do. Pointing out that women who work in sports bars sometimes wear yoga pants does not indicate that the average woman running errands during the day in a pair of yoga pants is doing it to entice men. Again, as you will see, if you read numerous comments and responses from women on this subject, you will see that many of us never considered yoga pants a sexy article of clothing. We do not wear everything to appeal to you and your libido. Maybe some women do in some places and situations, but you cannot project that onto all of us. You just can’t. We are not hear for you to ogle and drool over. We are human. You are allowed to be physically attracted to women, of course, but understand that we are human beings with feelings and boundaries of varying degrees sometimes we might not want you gawking at us. If you can’t be respectful towards your fellow humans, regardless of their gender or clothing choices, then maybe you shouldn’t be out in public.

            • “I’m always baffled by how certain men in these discussions think that their lives are soooo hard because women are not falling all over themselves when you check them out.”
              Most commonly I see fear of being associated as a creep. Do remember that a creep label can really fuck your reputation up, for instance as a photographer I NEED to be creep-free in my reputation.

              It does calm my nerves a bit to realize a simple look for most women won’t get them calling me a creep but I do worry about the small portion of women who will throw that term around. I usually look at women if I like them for like.. 0.5 seconds? But I avoid any staring.

              “No one expects you to walk around with your head down, never looking at or smiling at a pretty woman, but if a woman gives you a clear sign that she doesn’t want your attention then just move on with your life. Is there really a need to go on a diatribe about how women are such teases and it’s just so hard to be male? Like, really?”
              Thing is there are people who do and what’s worse will say men are objectifying women by looking.

              “Like, I’ve actually been in situations like this with cute guys before. Maybe I’ve looked in their direction and smiled, and if he smiled back then I know that the feeling between us is mutual.”
              Are you a female? Then you have no idea on what it’s like for men. Do you realize that many of us are quite aware it’s already hard enough to hit on women when so many are afraid of men with schroedingers rapist, that we have to be extra cautious because that whilst you get to have a quick look that you can do as a woman with little threat of being seen as a creep a man I’d say has a much higher chance she will feel uncomfy/threatened by it, an act that can be innocent in nature (not everyone is well versed on socializing skills). Already men have to be very fucking careful of looking at children over the pedophilia hysteria, adding on women’s fears with schroedingers rapist may make some feel like we aren’t meant to look at anyone except other men, although looking at other men at the wrong time, wrong place may land a fist in your face.

              I find it interesting to see a woman comment on this, with some pretty obvious condescending behaviour, and dismiss these men’s feelings on the matter. I myself am a man who NEVER wants to make someone feel uncomfy but the issue is that there are some women who are on HYPERALERT where they seem to be bathed in so much material teaching them of the male gaze where they see negative in most male actions, even looking at someone for a moment. I have zero issue with women telling off men who cross boundaries, who say creepy shit, act creepy, but my issue is with those who tend to be too trigger finger in finding negative where it really isn’t, where a glance let alone a 5-10 second stare becomes threatening.

              Imagine being raised to know how scary you are simply because you have a penis, raised to know women are afraid of you, raised on harmful teachings like extremist feminism where young boys raised by extremist mothers end up hating themselves, an original sin of genders, where the feel like they can’t even look at other women and especially can’t find a woman sexually attractive without feeling creepy. This fear ranges from mild to extreme, for me I am aware that some get bothered by looks and I find it difficult to actually look at other women if they notice me looking at them. My mind automatically thinks “Fuck, did I just make her afraid, did I do something wrong” and I end up feeling GUILT over something that should be pretty damn benign since there’s actually no harmful intent. I was raised in a pretty open household luckily so I haven’t been affected as much as others but I do ask people take a second to think why some men feel cautious in even looking at a woman. It doesn’t help that men have often been demonized as a group of savage sex starved maniacs.

            • First of all, in no way did I deny permission for yoga pants guy to notice women. I pointed out that his assertion that women are somehow to blame for his reaction to a particular type of pants is incorrect, and indicative of an issue common in society. Like I said, ugly truth, but truth none the less, and instead of being afraid of the truth, wouldn’t it be better to face it and see what can be done to change it?

              Using the info that he’s given in the article, he’s either acting in a way that’s making women uncomfortable, and thus illiciting bad reactions (if it was just one or two women with bad reactions for their own reasons then it’s likely he wouldn’t feel that guilty, though perhaps even one would be enough)

              OR

              He has some kind of guilt or shame about his sexuality. That could have come from misinterpreting feminist ideas, which is possible, or maybe from upbringing, or religion, or something else entirely.

              OR

              He feels that womens’ bodies are shameful, and feels guilty for appreciating. This could come from all kinds of different places too.

              Either way, the fact remains that HE feels guilty about his obsession with yoga pants on women. That’s a shame, because provided his behaviour was reasonable (and while we can never give a specific set of instructions to never offend a person, we can certainly give a general consensus) there’s nothing wrong with appreciating the fruits of nature, so to speak, within reason.

              The problem, is that he’s putting the blame for the guilt he feels, on women, and in doing so, reducing us – all individuals with our own minds, experiences and reasons, to automotons that make even basic choices like clothing based on what men desire.

              It’s invasive and degrading to have a complete strange announce that my mind is occupied by him or other men when I’m looking in the mirror. Mostly my mind is occupied with how *I* feel about how I like. To have that invalidated is insulting and part of a greater problem we have in society – making the ‘victim’ (in this case the object of lust) to blame for the action. It’s also insulting to men, you’re also intelligent indiviuals, with your own thoughts and memories, and sensible women do NOT see you as drooling Neanderthals to dangle our saucy lady steaks in front of.

            • I’m curious, does it matter if the woman thinks you are a creep for looking, assuming you never talk to her or even see her again? If you think your feelings (of attraction) ahouldn’t affect her, then her feelings about you (thinking “ick, creepy guy staring at me”) shouldn’t affect you either. Assuming it all stays in people’s heads.

            • I agree, if it stays in her head that she was creeped out by me, that doesn’t affect me at all. That’s distinct from the types of comments that have said, “If I feel uncomfortable from him looking, he’s going to hear about it from me.” (I’m paraphrasing, but I’ve seen that sentiment expressed several times now.) To me, that’s an escalation from discomfort to openly accusing someone of being a creep, similar to how cat-calling is an escalation from harmless appreciation to imposing on the person you find attractive, and the more people who witness either escalation, the worse the object of that response will likely feel. Whether the feeling is, “Ick, creepy guy” or “Mmm, nice butt”, a lot of feelings are best left in our heads.

              I think that point is even clearer if you take the yoga pants thing to an extreme. I say everyone or certainly most people in this discussion would agree that it would be horribly inappropriate and rude for a guy to say to a strange woman, “I just want you to know that you’re so sexy I’m going to fantasize about you later when I masturbate.” However, I hope there wouldn’t be objections to any guy, without going around telling people he’s cast them in his fantasies, fantasizing about whoever he wants when he masturbates. The flip side of that is we can probably agree (I hope) that if a woman is grossed out by the thought of a guy masturbating to a fantasy she’s part of, there’s nothing inherently wrong or insulting or shaming about that. However, if she were to tell a specific guy, “Dude, the idea of you jerking off to me is disgusting and you’re a creep if you even consider it,” then I think that would be as inappropriate and rude as her being informed he was planning to.

              Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to Tweet, blog, and update my FB status about how ridiculous it is when people broadcast every thought that pops into their heads, because as Ghandi never actually said, I want to be the change I wish to see in the world.

            • I think a lot of the discussion about this topic degenerates into each side telling the other side that their feelings are “wrong.” That’s unfortunate. Personally the idea that a strange random guy is going home and jerking off to his fantasies about me in yoga pants sounds, well, icky, and I would prefer not to know about it. But what happens in his head is his business. But if he tells me that’s what he’s doing, I think I’m also entitled to tell him “yuck, I’m grossed out by that thought, ew”. So probably better not to share those thoughts!

            • I think we’re in agreement here, but I just want to point out that in comparing the two things that would both be inappropriate and rude to say, so there was no “If he says ___ first…”. But yeah, some thoughts are best left unshared.

            • Agreed. Actually I’ve never confronted anyone for what I considered inappropriate staring. I’ll just get up and leave or walk away.

            • wellokaythen says:

              Marcus,

              I think Joanna and some other women want to know where this gym is where Ryan Gosling works out. If it doesn’t exist, can you please talk about it some more? : – )

    • “That’s different from saying men are never wrong, but if there is no safe haven to express a “wrong” thought without being cast as an objectifying, rape culturing, entitled misogynist, then men will mostly continue keeping those thoughts to themselves.”

      Or, alternatively, continue expressing it in ways that are objectifying, rape culturing, entitled misogynisticly, such as cat calling and wolf whistling. If you’re going to be labeled as evil anyways, why hold back?

    • That’s an excellent point. However, the article I read in response to this one over at the soapbox wasn’t vitriolic, and much of the responses I’ve seen on here haven’t been either. Sometimes the truth is ugly, and while we aren’t necessarily calling him a monster, we are pointing out that his talk about women dressing to tease him, is still in the same vein of blaming women for mens behaviour, which is a form of rape culture. It’s not nice, but it’s true, and it’s something that needs to be dealt with in society.

  12. This is what I hate about identity politics and feminism. For all the complaints about the slut/stud dichotomy, it is male sexuality that is made out to be the greatest evil in modern society. Men have become afraid to even acknowledge he finds women attractive without claiming he is a chauvinist (definition, feels one group is superior to another. But given what follows, one must wonder if it is in fact female chauvinism he displays, not the male chauvinism he likely intended to mean). I’ve never seen a woman expected to self flagilate like this author, simply because she dared to acknowledge she finds attractive men attractive, especially under a given circumstance.

    As to yoga pants themselves… I hate them. I see them as yet another double standard. Every benefit women find in yoga pants, men will find in track pants. But track pants have been stigmatized outside the gym as lazy and slobish, and I see yoga pants as no different. I used to wear Track pants all the time, because, they to are comfortable.

    • We have a reasonable expectation within the society that sexual acts should be performed in private along with sexual displays. We set a hard limit at the threshold in which nudity is involved but we frown upon solo sexual acts with clothes on especially in formal setting such as schools, work, etc..

      What this man is asking is whether or not wearing a skin tight outfit counts as a sexual display which is inapproriate because of it’s affect. We can disregard the intent of women wearing such clothing because the affect is what matters. Women should be held accountable for the affect of their behavior and dress on others because she is living in a society where half the people are sexually aroused by her appearance. If it is not her intent to do so then she ought not select outfits that leave nothing to the imagination. In other words she can dress more like men who don’t gain any sexual advantage by dressing in spandex. I understand that women are following the herd much of the time and being sexy isn’t necessarily the goal, but that doesn’t change the affect. Presuming women desire this affect on average is only logical when we look at the direction of fashion trends.

      I think men should start considering whether or not women dressing this way constitutes a form of sexual harassment. We are too reluctant to pass judgment on women and too quick to do so in the case of men. If you are going to dress in a way that is provocative thus causing discomfort to the men around you then we should be as judgmental towards you as we are towards the men leering at your needlessly exposed body.

      Sex is not shameful but public displays sexual displays in inappropriate settings are.

      • I have a very hard time imagining that many men have ever been reluctant to judge women. The article itself is about judging women, sadly, many of the comments from men are judging women. What you don’t like is that we’re standing up for ourselves.

  13. I’m willing to bet you only experience this agonizing dilemma when seeing small, thin, conventionally attractive women in yoga pants. Thus, the problem is not the yoga pants. It’s you.

    • Its not just the yoga pants and its not just seeing women he finds attractive, obviously its seeing women he finds attractive in the pants that really tickles his fancy. Whether your male or female, theres probably a specific style of clothing that people wear that really makes you turn your head. For Nathan its women in yoga pants. Of course no kind of clothing is going to make someone you previously thought totally unappealing suddenly attractive, but it can definitely draw your attention to someone you may have not given much thought to before by accentuating certain parts.

      Your the second person to make a comment like this and I don’t understand the intent. As someone else already pointed out would it somehow make him a better man if it turns out he actually likes seeing larger women in yoga pants?

  14. Mary De Longis says:

    I guess no man ever considered that compression clothing (tight by definition) gives muscle support when exercising? I run, and contrary to Neanderthal wisdom, loose sweat pants are not comfortable at long distances (loose clothing can rub) and they give no additional support. To think that tight is simply to be provocative demonstrates a lack of interaction with athletes.

    • Revo Luzione says:

      Agreed. Compression gear is very helpful for a number of athletic endeavors. And it does look good on the right person too. Let us not mince words, sometimes what works in fitness clothing is also what looks good. From an evolutionary standpoint, there’s probably no coincidence there.

      But let’s unpack this for just a moment. I’ve observed in cycling, and in other activities, some men even have a problem with other men wearing tight clothing. I think it’s insecurity speaking in both cases. Insecure men don’t like to be aroused by women in tight clothing, because their arousal only reminds them of their perception of attractive women as unattainable. They don’t like to see virile men in tight clothing, because it’s competition, thus they get insecure about their own assets.

      A little self acceptance would go a long way in these issues. So would calling a spade, a spade.

      • “Insecure men don’t like to be aroused by women in tight clothing, because their arousal only reminds them of their perception of attractive women as unattainable.”

        I find it amazing that you try to blame this on male insecurity. This tendency to resort to male bashing in the defense of women is how insecure men avoid being judged by women in my opinion. Instead of recognizing that sexual arousal is involuntary and that women could try to dress modestly (like men) when that is not their intent, you move to shame men for not wanting to suffer a involuntary response. Let’s be honest, if not for men being aroused by women’s bodies in these outfits women wouldn’t be wearing it. They desire to look good and look sexy are one and the same. That sexy look can be over the top and men should call women on it. There is nothing wrong with men expecting a reasonable degree of modesty from women just as women expect men not to stare at them for an extended period of time while they work out in the gym.

        • Revo Luzione says:

          “…. that women could try to dress modestly (like men)”….

          See, I’d like to see the reverse social trend . I’d like to see women OK with the male gaze and male arousal, and I’d like to see more men proud of their physique enough to wear form-fitting clothing.

          What is modesty? Another way to say ‘shame.’ Which there is a lot of in your reply. Why would any man be ashamed of being aroused? To be aroused is to be alive.

    • Nice way to broad brush all men into your little attack.

    • I see men in compression clothing with loose fitting shorts on top. Why can’t women do the same? If males see fit to be modest and not expose their junk then why can’t women?

  15. wellokaythen says:

    “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.”

    This is the part that bugs me. This actually makes me sad for you and angry at our society. It’s hard to break a lifetime of sexual repression, especially if it’s religious guilt reinforced by ideological guilt. Seeing lust as a deadly sin and objectification as a misogynist sin is a completely unnecessary double whammy.

    Did I miss an incident of sexual harassment? At no point in this article did I see anything that you should feel guilty about. I see no mention here of anything you have to apologize for or to repent about or call yourself a pig because of it. Finding women you see sexually attractive is NOT a sin, not the way I see it, and there’s no reason you have to keep on seeing it that way. (Unless there’s a part of you that enjoys the “dirty” feeling you get from it and the guilt is just woven into your sexuality, in which case self-flagellate all you want.)

    Feeling lust is not a sin in my book. If you’re afraid of Hell, I’m not sure why, because you’re already putting yourself through a version of it.

    It almost sounds like you’re lumping a bunch of things all together – just noticing they look attractive to you is the same as lechery is the same as objectification is the same as leering is the same as violating them. I would make a distinction between, on the one hand, glancing, noticing, fantasizing about her on your own time, and on the other hand staring at her hard for minutes at a time.

    • Agreed and well said.

    • Bay Area Guy says:

      women have every right to wear whatever they want, where they want, without having to be leered at and objectified.

      No they don’t, period.

      *cue female outrage*

      Women have every right to wear whatever they want, however sexy or revealing. They do not, however, have the right to not be checked out. They do not have the right to control the male eye’s reaction to what they wear.

      Dress as sexy as you want. Just don’t scream “objectification” when a guy decides to ogle you.

      • Bay Area Guy says:

        For christ sake, men are not monks, people. Some feminists seem to labor under the delusion that a woman should be able to walk around naked and it’s a man’s fault if he decides to ogle her or get aroused by her.

        A bit of an exaggeration, but this is getting a bit ridiculous.

        • Not to far off of an exaggeration, if you consider the slut walks where women were going topless and getting pissy that men noticed.

      • Men can definitely check out an attractive woman, but do you agree that sometimes men take it too far? It’s one thing to do a double-take at a sexy woman, it’s quite another to stare at like she’s a piece of meat and cat-call her and all sorts of other disrespectful things. She’s still a person, even though she’s attractive or sexy to you.

        • Bay Area Guy says:

          Obviously, anything can be taken too far.

          What annoys me, however, is the overall feminist insistence that women should be able to do whatever they want, whenever they want, without ever having to be inconvenienced in any way.

          If you dress sexy, then expect some guys to check you out. Dressing in a revealing and provocative manner in general tends to generate unwanted attention.

          Basic common sense, people.

          Oh, wait. I guess that now makes me an apologist for rape culture. “The way a woman dresses should have no bearing on how men respond to her!!!!!!!!” Argh!!!

          • Feminists are insisting that women should be able to wear whatever they want without fearing harassment and objectification. That’s way different than saying that men can’t ever check us out. I check out hot guys pretty often myself. But I don’t invade their personal space, I don’t stare at them like they’re food that I want to devour, and if I notice them looking at me and they don’t seem like they’re interested in me at all, I tend to back off and leave them alone. I do not insist that they are oppressing my sexuality by not showing interest in me or welcoming my gaze, like many men here are doing to women that they see.

            And another thing is that women are not always dressing provocatively and they still receive unwanted attention from men. Wearing yoga pants, like the women that this author is writing about, is not dressing provocatively. It is dressing casually. If a man happens to think yoga pants are sexy on women then he is free to think that, but women are not obligated to be flattered by it. If we’re wearing casual clothes or work-out clothes, usually we are not trying to get attention from men. We’re just wearing something casual and comfortable to go about or daily business. That’s it.

            • Bay Area Guy says:

              Feminists are insisting that women should be able to wear whatever they want without fearing harassment and objectification.

              Harassment, yes. Objectification, no.

              As other commenters have pointed out, this whole “you’re objectifying women in your mind” is just the feminist version of the “sinful temptation of lust.”

            • NO. It is not okay to view a human being as an object. Women are people. They are not things. Finding someone attractive does not equal objectifying them. The two are totally separate things. Objectifying someone means you’re dehumanizing them and turning them into something that exists for your pleasure only. It means you don’t respect them as a person. I can find someone attractive, admire their beauty or handsomeness without turning them into an object in my mind. If you can’t do that then that is a problem.

            • Here’s how I’m hearing your message: “It’s okay to find us attractive, but it’s not okay if we notice you finding us attractive, because that creeps us out. Creeps, of course, have no respect for women or boundaries. But really, it’s okay to look.”

            • I don’t understand what is confusing to you. Everyone looks at other people. We look at other people all the time, people we are attracted to we might want to look at a little longer. That’s not bad. Feeling aroused is not bad. But there are always limits. You can’t just start gawking at a person and not expect a reaction from them. Some people might react positively, and others might not. And if you notice that someone is not reacting positively to your staring, then look away and carry on with your day. This is not a crisis. I’m starting to wonder how some of you guys function in the real world. You act like you’re totally clueless about how to interact with people (women in particular) in polite society. Sheesh.

            • wellokaythen says:

              “You can’t just start gawking at a person and not expect a reaction from them. ”

              I agree. One should not have an absolute expectation about how a woman will react when she notices a man looking at her. She has as much right to react as I have the right to look. In most cases, I don’t think the commenters are saying that because he has a right to look therefore she just has to put up with it and should not react to it. Why can’t he have a right to look AND she have a right to tell him not to?

            • That isn’t what she’s saying at all Marcus. Men are not helpless little robots with no free will. Yes, you have the whole biological thing going on, so do women. But you are not stupid, you are not helpless and you are responsible for how you treat others, and that includes objectifying them.

              How about this… say I have a nice car. It’s a really nice car. And I just have it a good wax today. Here’s what is totally cool with me and most other car owners.
              – Noticing my car.
              – Taking a quick look at my car and appreciating it’s fine automotive beauty
              – Acknowledging me, the owner of the car.
              – Talking to me about my car a little, in a respectful way

              Here’s what isn’t
              – Staring at my car so much that I’m starting to wonder if you’re gonna start humping it, or steal it.
              – Touching my car without my permission
              – Talking about my car in a way that is hurtful or degrading to me and my car
              – Acting like my car is really only around for you
              – Talking about my car like it’s some kind of bait on a fishing pole I’m dangling in front of you
              – Telling me what to do with my car
              – Blaming me for having my car when you can’t have it

              I drive my car for me, I wax my car for me, I bought my car for me. You don’t feature in the equation, in the same way that I don’t feature in the equation that leads some one to plant a nice tree. It doesn’t mean I can’t admire the tree, in the same way you’re allowed to admire my car, but I’m not allowed to act like the tree is only there because the person who planted it wants to tease me, just like it’s not cool for you to vilify me as some age old auto tease who loves to make you suffer.

              What that means is that you can appreciate a body, but don’t forget that said body is part of a PERSON. An individual with feelings and rights and thoughts and ideas, and it hurts in a variety of ways to be appraised based solely on your body, or worse, to have others act like your body is somehow a bad thing, or that it’s your fault because they feel things about your body no matter what you actually do.

              If you’re straight, think of it this way – if you wouldn’t be comfortable with a gay guy doing it to you, then don’t do it to a woman without invitation, that includes leering and so on. Or would you want other guys being really obvious and drooling over your girlfriend in a creepy way? Then don’t do it to another woman. I’m sure you don’t mind other guys noticing your girlfriend, and even appreciating a little bit, it might even be an ego boost, and you probably don’t mind a guy you know is gay glancing at you and smiling, and maybe even being a little more appreciative of your biceps or whatever when you’re doing curls in the gym. So maybe that’s cool to do with women. Just don’t go overboard, your lust is your responsibility. It isn’t shameful, or sinful, but it needs to be balanced with respect and recognition of others feelings. Men aren’t stupid, they can handle it.

            • And by the way, oftentimes objectification LEADS to harassment. Why do you think some men feel entitled to harass women? Because they view them as objects, not people. That’s why.

            • Bay Area Guy says:

              Your logic is rather faulty, Sara.

              NO. It is not okay to view a human being as an object. Women are people. They are not things. Finding someone attractive does not equal objectifying them. The two are totally separate things. Objectifying someone means you’re dehumanizing them and turning them into something that exists for your pleasure only. It means you don’t respect them as a person.

              No it doesn’t mean that you “don’t respect them as a person.” Just because you view someone of the opposite sex as a potential object of pleasure for your fantasy doesn’t mean that you’re somehow disrespecting them, so long as you treat them right in real life.

              To quote Dan Savage (quoted in the Girl Writes What video that I posted below):

              “Face facts, ladies: people always have and always will objectify the people they’re attracted to. Men who wanna f**k women objectify women (at places like Hooters); women who want to f**k men objectify men (at places like Centerfolds). Gay men objectify other men (at places like Ashton Kutcher’s a$$crack), lesbians objectify other women (at places where Venus and Serena play tennis). The urge to objectify is universal, and so long as it’s fairly and respectfully indulged, it’s not offensive, not a problem, and not news.”

              Again, you feminists are just modern day Puritans who replace “lust” with “objectification.”

              Now speaking of “fairly and respectfully indulged”…..

              And by the way, oftentimes objectification LEADS to harassment.

              Your point being? Obviously, all behaviors must be tempered to the point where they don’t go overboard. Eating can lead to obesity. Overwork can lead to various health defects. Relaxing for too long can result in sloth.

              Does that mean eating, working, and resting by themselves are vices that should never be indulged?

              Yes, I know, you’ll claim that it’s an inadequate comparison and that those are things you do to yourself, not other people, etc.

              But the point is that anything done in excess can be negative. So long as you can draw the line and ensure that you don’t go too far, then you’re fine. Most guys, at least in my experience, are able to objectify while not indulging in harassment.

              Yes, how dare a guy lust after some random hot woman in his mind. Unless he gets to know her and connect with her on some emotional level, he’s a bloody misogynist who’s objectifying her in his mind!

            • Bay Area Guy says:

              And seriously, retire the word “entitlement.” Most guys, in my experience, hardly feel “entitled” to women’s bodies. At least in my experience, they tread very carefully around them out of fear of being tarred as creeps by the likes of you.

            • Gotta say, what a lot of women have to deal with daily disagrees with your assertion.

            • Bay Area Guy, I disagree, but then again I think we are going by two different meanings of the word objectification. As a woman, it makes me uncomfortable when men admit that they objectify women because I know that the objectification of women is what has led to a lot of negative treatment of women in our society. I don’t expect that no man will ever find me attractive and check me out or anything but it would be nice to know that I was still a person in their eyes and not an object. I’m not a toy for you, I’m a woman. That’s all I’m saying.

            • Bay Area Guy says:

              I don’t think we’re going by different meanings of the word, Sara. I think it’s a matter of how much weight we give to “objectification.”

              You see it as an appalling evil, with only a thin line separating it from harassment and rape.

              I see it as a normal, biological impulse, that isn’t noteworthy unless it leads to negative actions.

              (as in, actual actions. So looking for a bit too long doesn’t qualify, in my book)

              Besides, if I’m looking at a random attractive woman, and I know absolutely nothing about her as a person, how else can I think of her besides in a physical sense? Am I supposed to use telepathy to connect with her as a human being on an emotional level?

            • No, of course not, but viewing another person as an object is in fact what leads many men into harassment of women. If you’re only seeing them as just a body and not a person you’re giving yourself permission to treat them with disrespect. And I’m saying “you” in a general sense, not necessarily you personally. As long as you are not harassing women and treating them like they’re your personal play things then no harm done. I can’t control the thoughts in another person’s head but I think it’s always good to remember the value and worth of every person, even those you find attractive. Because once you forget that you’re dealing with a human and not just a “hot body” then that can lead to some scary situations for women. I hope you understand what I’m saying. Just be respectful, is all.

        • So you wish to impose social rules onto when and where men are allowed to look, and for how long? cat calling is a different issue, and attempting to bring it into the discussion attempts to change the goalposts.

          Arguing over when life begins is deemed trying to control what women do with their bodies, and is wholely unacceptable… but where a man looks is something perfectly reasonable to control and dictate?

          • Men can definitely look at women. Not once did I say that they can’t. But you have to realize that staring at people, even “sexy” people is rude. It’s just called social etiquette. If you find yourself unable to stop staring at someone you might run the risk of making them uncomfortable and they might voice their discomfort by telling you to buzz off. That’s just life. If you think it’s your right to stare at women and ogle them and as much as you want then it’s also the right of women to let you know when you’re over-stepping your bounds and making them uncomfortable.

            • Is it just social etiquette for men, or does t apply equally to both sexes, making your assertion that men take it too far a rather sexist one?

              As to whether or not you said what was allowed or not, you responded to Bat Area Guy who made the assertion women do not have the right to be “checked out”. What is and isn’t social etiquette is irrelevant to a discussion of what rights one has or does not have. So it is not unreasonable to make the conclusion that your objection to B.A.Guy’s assertion was some kind of claim of what men should and should not be allowed to do (AKA, rights, not etiquette)

            • Of course it applies to both sexes. I think everyone should have respect for one another, just in general. It’s not a bad thing to be attracted to someone and to “check them out” so to speak, but all I was saying is that there is a right way and a wrong way to do that. I think it’s always a good idea to keep in mind that the woman (or man) that you’re checking out it still a person and to not go out of your way to make them uncomfortable or feel disrespected. I have no problem when men look at me but sometimes it just feels creepy and predatory. That’s my point.

            • If men staring at a nearly nude women in skin tight clothing is rude then so is the women wearing clothing that induces men to stare at her body. It’s easy enough for women to throw on some loose pants over their spandex just like the boys. They can put a loose shirt over their sports bra. This is not oppressive, it’s courteous. Women want respect and so do men. Women showing respect for men is not walking around in a outfit that leaves nothing to the imagination when their goal isn’t getting sexual attention.

            • Not quite ed.

              If men staring at a nearly nude women in skin tight clothing is rude then so is the women wearing clothing that induces men to stare at her body.
              The rudeness comes in when there is some sort of commentary or gesture (whether from the man on the side so expressing attraction or from the woman for acting oppressed for being looked at).

              Women showing respect for men is not walking around in a outfit that leaves nothing to the imagination when their goal isn’t getting sexual attention.
              Oh their clothing choices isn’t the point of disrepect.

            • “Women showing respect for men is not walking around in a outfit that leaves nothing to the imagination when their goal isn’t getting sexual attention.”

              I think “and then complaining about being sexually objectified.” needs to be added to this. There would be nothing disrespectful in wearing the outfit if shame and blame were not heaped upon men for responding as one would expect.

            • And yet it’s clearly established that no matter what a woman wears, some one will find it drool worthy. What matters is how far it’s taken.

              I went to a gaming night a while back, for magic the gathering. Lots of geek guys, a few girls. I don’t have much in the way of cleavage, but according to some one else the guy sitting across from me was taking a good old gander at my breasts. And they expected me to immediately be offended.

              Now, first of all, I didn’t notice him looking beyond a glance or two. Maybe he was being a bit sneaky, or maybe he was being respectful. Either way, I was offended, because while he may have been staring, he treated me like a person. He didn’t complain about my clothes, didn’t accuse me of dressing up to tease him (I can’t even remember what I was wearing), and he simply acknowledged me, talked to me, showed me how the game worked. He acknowledge that there was more to me than a pair of breasts that he happened to look at. I told the person who asked me that they could assure the guy (it was a couple of days later they told me) that I was not offended because he was respectful about it.

              He got to appreciate some mammary glands, I got to be treated like a human being. End of story.

              It really isn’t that difficult, why the constant complaint. Surely you don’t go around eying women like meat all day? Surely you’re not so piggish in your treatment of women that you feel the need to defend yourselves against the desire of women to a) not be held responsible because men like certain things and b) not be reduced to mobile flesh for male enjoyment?

            • Gah. WASN’T offended, curse you typos

  16. wellokaythen says:

    It just seems odd that someone looks at a total stranger and leaps to a straightforward conclusion about that person’s motives when it comes to something like yoga pants, which could be word for one or more of a dozen reasons.

    Wearing yoga pants has an effect X on male view Y. Therefore, that effect MUST be the original intention of wearing them, right? That’s pretty bad logic. It’s a form of logic quite common among people who are immature and emotionally underdeveloped or have hair-triggers on their own psychological issues.

    It’s a classic reactive move – I felt a certain way because of what you did, so you must have intended to make me feel that way. (I tend to associate this kind of thinking with women more than men, but I admit that’s probably sexism talking.)

    Ultimately, if you like the way a woman’s butt looks in a particular pair of pants, why does it even matter what her motives are? I suspect some men are telling themselves “she dresses sexy on purpose” because those men feel the need to give themselves some kind of permission to look. They feel the need to rationalize their attraction because part of them feels guilty. So, drop the guilt about feeling attraction for what you’re attracted to. Who cares why she chose that outfit?

    By the same token, a woman should not assume that because a man is looking at her that he’s assuming she’s dressed for his pleasure. Don’t make a bad assumption about a bad assumption.

    • wellokaythen says:

      Sorry, should say “could be worn” not “could be word.”

    • “I suspect some men are telling themselves “she dresses sexy on purpose” because those men feel the need to give themselves some kind of permission to look. They feel the need to rationalize their attraction because part of them feels guilty. ”

      Yes the men feel it’s rude to stare at a women’s ass. Why are you surprised by this? The man is wondering the women’s intent because she should have known that wearing a outfit like that would cause men to want to stare at her ass. What we should be asking is why the hell a women would wear an outfit like that if she did not want men staring at her ass.

      We spend too much time trying to shame men for their natural response to these nearly nude women. Let’s set an expectation that these women ought to practice a little modesty to keep from sexualizing non sexual environments. If it’s a shame for men to stare then it’s a shame for her to wear. If she is not wearing proactive clothing then we can put full blame on the men who leer. Otherwise both are to blame for creating a uncomfortable environment for each other.

      • How is a pair of yoga pants “nearly nude’?!?!?!?!?! And what’s the next step? We can’t wear yoga pants, because they’re too form-fitting. OK, so are jeans. And tank tops. That fitted sweater is too much. The skirt shoes too much leg. Those patent leather shoes are too shiny, they let men see up your dress (which is why they were banned from Catholic schools in the 50’s). And bathing suits? Nope, too risque. Women should be covered, neck-to-toe. In fact, let’s force them to wear veils, because the sight of a woman’s skin may cause an unhealthy reaction in a man.
        Extreme? No. It’s already happened in many places.
        And no, I don’t wear my yoga pants with the thought that men everywhere are going to be staring at my ass. The point we are trying to make is that women are as human as men. We are individuals, just like you. We are complicated, just like you. We all have our own thoughts, just like you. And many of us are sick and tired of being told what we think, what our “motives” are, and what we can and cannot wear without a reasonable expectation of being out in public and not being humiliated.
        You want to look? Go ahead! Just try and be subtle and polite, and don’t automatically jump to the conclusion that the woman you’re staring at welcomes it because she put on a pair of pants you happen to find appealing.

        • “Shows” too much leg, not “shoes.”

          • wellokaythen says:

            And, let’s be practical about it, guys. If you stare too long and make her uncomfortable, she will leave or have you thrown out. When that happens, you won’t get to look at her anymore. Maybe subtlety allows you the chance to see what she wears a few days later, which you may like even more. Alienating her may prevent such opportunities in the future. Consider long-term gain as well as short-term impulses.

            Peripheral vision, instant memory creation, and a rich fantasy life are crucial here. I think staring shows a real lack of visual and mental skills. Completely impractical over the long term.

            Right, wrong, should, shouldn’t, whatever. Does staring actually get you what you want, or does it get in the way of what you want?

            • ” If you stare too long and make her uncomfortable, she will leave or have you thrown out.”
              Yeah, pretty much. So you live in a small city. You get thrown out of a health club because someone feels that you have breached her standards of etiquette. How long does that news take to circulate through the community…. 3 hours?
              __________________
              Does anyone have this problem?
              When I am focused on something – might be complex mental work, might be delicate physical work – a woman in revealing clothing, or with provocative body language, or strong perfume, or an attractive voice comes within my sensory range, I get distracted. It takes only a small fraction of second to dismiss the stimulus, but when it happens repeatedly, it gets irritating. And I am really good at dismissing it. I was not as an adolescent. I would love to be completely oblivious at times, it would be so much easier on me. To be clear, I am NOT saying this is in any way women’s responsibility – it simply isn’t. However, it is simply easier for me to keep this stimulus out of my sphere when I am focused on doing something.
              I don’t know how men who do not have the facility with such stimulus dismissal fare. Nor do I know whether women experience this as well, or to the extent men do. It does appear to be hard wired however, I cannot remember a time when this did not happen – nor does it have to be a picture or a lived woman. It can even be something whose shape evokes female to me. There are neuronal columns in the visual cortex whose task it is to filter stimulus to identify straight vertical lines, straight horizontal lines, circles…. The speed of the reaction suggests to me, that there are a series of neuronal columns whose task it is to identify certain specific curves.
              Are women aware of this process? I don’t know?

            • wellokaythen says:

              Some men (some!) appear to be incapable of fantasizing about something without staring directly at it. Maybe they have the memory capacity of a goldfish, and when they look somewhere else the nice ass instantly disappears from their memory. There’s something that’s socially very useful and sexually very fulfilling about being able to get a brief look and do the rest in your head on your own time. (Women seem to be much better skilled at this than men, for the most part.) Some versatility is in order here. I understand the impulse to stare, but there’s really no *need* to stare.

            • yeah, agreed..

              but I was actually talking about an entirely different neurological event

      • wellokaythen says:

        “The man is wondering the women’s intent because she should have known that wearing a outfit like that would cause men to want to stare at her ass. What we should be asking is why the hell a women would wear an outfit like that if she did not want men staring at her ass. ”

        I’m not sure why her “original intent” makes one bit of difference one way or the other, unless a man feels like he needs some sort of permission to look. A man can only stare if he thinks he doing her a favor, only if he thinks she wants it? No thanks, I don’t actually need anyone’s permission to look, and I certainly don’t need my own permission to look.

        Once you get into “should have known” territory, then it’s not really about objective reality anymore. Then it’s taking a bit of visual evidence (I like the way her ass looks in those pants) and spinning it into a whole imaginative story that I tell myself. Then in my mind’s eye I’m standing next to her in the morning as she’s deciding what to wear, reading her mind. I think that’s called projecting – I’m thinking about her, so she MUST be thinking about me….

        Seriously, I’m wondering what the point really is about analyzing her motivations or debating about what someone should have known and when she should have known it. Unless the “she must know how much I like it” is part of your sexual fantasy. (Nothing wrong with that, it’s a fantasy like any other, but bear in mind it may just be a fantasy.)

  17. After some of the more recent comments and re-reading Nathan’s original article, I’m wondering about the depth of dysfunction evident here as it relates to sexuality – both male and female. Humans are biological animals wired for sex and attraction. Yet the smallest impulse generated by this wiring is so quickly seen as dangerous. Sex and fear are wound together so tight. The fears for men and women may be different, but the correlation remains – sex is dangerous. When (and how) are we going to overcome this dysfunctional assumption?

    • wellokaythen says:

      Well said.

      I think one challenge is that guilt, fear and shame are for many people now wired into a feedback loop with sexual attraction. Think about how often people use words like “dirty” and “naughty” and “temptation” and “sin” and “danger” as part of sexual language. Sometimes people hang onto the fear, shame, and guilt because these feelings intensify the sexual experience, whether they are conscious of it or not. Religious observers have been aware of this intensification for, oh, at least 3000 years I’d guess.

      Some people have a love/hate relationship to their sexual guilt. They want to let go of it, but part of them doesn’t really want to let go of it. I wonder if Nathan would fall into that category.

      • Great points.

        Dropping down one level, the tragic vision of life is the dominant viewpoint – and it colors sex just as it does humor, art, and music. It takes a lot of effort and/or naiveté to get your head out of the water when it comes to fear.

        • wellokaythen says:

          Yeah, the tragic view of life is really powerful. I think people hang on to the fear, guilr, and shame about sex because those feelings are doing something for them. It’s not just habit. Sometimes those feelings are serving some sort of purpose, whether they work well for that purpose or not.

          Sort of like the old proverb, if all you have is a hammer, then every problem looks like a nail. If guilt is your only tool, then you’ll feel guilty about everything.

  18. Bay Area Guy says:

    Girl Writes What has something to say to all you “don’t objectify!” Puritans.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-N9daqANcw

  19. This shame factor seems to be the issue underlying all of this–the feeling that although he (or anyone else) thinks yoga pants look hot, he shouldn’t, and it’s bad, and he should try to avert his eyes completely and pretend he never gets turned on by anything ever.

    There’s nothing wrong with glancing and thinking, “Her ass looks good in those pants.” I do that with men at the gym (or wherever) all the time–I see a hot guy, I check him out for a second, and then I return my attention to my own business. It’s just when you stare that it can become creepy and indecent. But there’s nothing wrong with simply noticing that you find someone attractive. It’s a normal human response; both men and women do it. We’re all sexual beings. When you’re comfortable with your own sexuality, you notice the same things you would otherwise, but it’s not a big deal. Shame, guilt, etc. are what lead to this kind of unhealthy obsession.

    Also–yoga pants ARE comfy, and most women wear them primarily for that reason. That doesn’t mean we mind if you think our ass looks good in them. No, we don’t want to feel violated, but Christ, man, I don’t care if you give it a glance. Feeling ashamed is only going to feed into this fixation.

    • “It’s just when you stare that it can become creepy and indecent.”

      Then it’s creepy and indecent for a women to wear a all spandex outfit to a gym where she will be stretching and bending over in front of them. When will we demand some decency and respect for men from the women in these environments? There is too much coddling of women in our culture and men have been too afraid to be honest about this because we are quick to shame them for it.

      “Also–yoga pants ARE comfy, and most women wear them primarily for that reason.”

      Shorts are also comfy. If you like the feel put shorts over them. Enough with these weak excuses, put on some damn clothes that cover your ass. You don’t need to be indifferent to the effect of turning on every man who sees you. Show some respect for them and yourself.

      • Ed, we don’t wear our yoga pants to disrespect you, OR to turn you on, OR to get any specific reaction from you. I’d bet you wear what makes you comfortable to go to the gym. Maybe the sight of your legs in shorts is a turn-on to some of the women there ( if you wear shorts). Does that mean you have to cover up your calves?
        Maybe, in all honesty, there is a deeper issue here. If the sight of women in something like yoga pants makes you so angry, as it seems to do, maybe there are other issues going on. I’m not saying this to be facetious, I’m just wondering where all that anger is really coming from.
        Btw, many of us find shorts uncomfortable. What you call ” weak excuses” are actually truth.

        • ” I’d bet you wear what makes you comfortable to go to the gym”

          You ladies keep trying to draw this back to the gym, but the author very clearly specifies he’s speaking about wearing yoga pants outside the gym.

          “If the sight of women in something like yoga pants makes you so angry, as it seems to do, maybe there are other issues going on”

          I’m honestly curious if you realize how this comment comes off? Do you realize that this is the very kind of thing that creates the guilt and shame the author was trying to justify and absolve himself of? We are trying to have a discussion here, and your response is to make an accusation based on … what exactly? What makes you think he’s angry? the fact he isn’t backing down? The fact he’s insisting on keeping the conversation going? Why must he be angry and have other issues? If men aren’t allowed to even discuss concerns they have regarding sexuality without being called angry or disrespectful or hateful of women, then how is anything to be resolved? Is it your intention to stifle the conversation? To win by shaming men back into silence, so you can continue to creep shame them when they do precisely what’s being discussed here, IE noticing you in yoga pants OUTSIDE the gym?

          • I brought it back to the gym because I was responding to Ed’s comment. “It’s creepy and indecent for a woman to wear a spandex outfit TO A GYM (emphasis mine) where she will be stretching and bending over in front of them.
            He goes on to write that there is “too much coddling of women…Enough of these weak excuses, put on some damn clothes that cover your ass.” That doesn’t sound angry to you? I guess we have different definitions of angry.
            He also wrote “Show some respect for them and for yourself.” Which is VERY different, I think, from what Nathan is trying to say.
            The main issue many of us have with this article is the assumption that women wear yoga pants with a clear intent to turn men on. The points many of us are trying to make is that a) most of us are thinking of ourselves when we buy and wear yoga pants, and not how we can torment those around us, and b) There’s no shame in being turned on. We just ask to be treated respectfully. Go ahead and look. Just don’t leer, touch, or lash out at us . And, yes, that goes both ways.
            I have no intention of shaming anyone or shutting them up. Why did I “accuse” Ed of having other issues? Because we all do. And we all have a responsibility to look at our crap. When I was younger I was convinced that all men were shallow, sex-obsessed jerks. Just because I believed it, did that make it true? Of course not!
            I wasn’t “accusing” Ed of anything. It was an honest question. If you see it as condescending or trying to shut him down, that’s your interpretation, not my intent.

            • We just ask to be treated respectfully. Go ahead and look. Just don’t leer, touch, or lash out at us .

              I’m onboard and clear about all of that except “leer”, and I think that’s what a lot of this debate hinges on. It’s not that anyone is pro-leering, but there seems to be a frequent disconnect between guys who think, “I’m leering” and women who think “He’s leering”. That is, a guy may feel he’s “doing it right” with the quick glances, smiling and averting his eyes if she catches him, and all those things you (women in this discussion) are saying is cool, but that woman who just caught him may think, “What a creep! I just caught him leering and he gave me a cheesy smile!”

              There’s not a lot of objective ambiguity about whether a guy touched or cat-called or things like that, and I don’t think a single guy in this discussion has defended such actions. All the disagreement is about the look, and a guy can steer well clear of what he thinks is leering or ogling, and *still* be regarded as a creep by a woman with different standards, or even a woman who happened to see one of those respectful admiring glances, but mistook it for more and read all kinds of intent into it, which is no better than if the man reads intent into a woman dressing that way to titillate. I don’t have a hard time conceding (because I never believed) that attractively-attired women aren’t teases or sluts for dressing that way. Is it hard for the women in this discussion to concede that just because they feel creeped out sometimes, that doesn’t always mean the guys are actually creeps who have done something wrong? How ’bout this – our incidental arousal isn’t your fault, and your incidental feelings of being ogled by a creep aren’t ours. Fair?

            • Sounds fair to me!

            • @Ed: Why is it that you feel violated when a woman turns you on, even if indirectly and probably accidentally? I am sorry that you have so much fear and anger surrounding this subject. No one is trying to make you uncomfortable—I suggest that you look inward and assess why you feel this way instead of assigning blame to the people around you.

              Shorts without any stretch are much more likely to rip or to restrict my movement when I’m doing yoga poses, besides, and the sweat situation would be pretty gnarly if I wore them over my yoga pants. These are the kinds of things I think about when I select workout clothes, not “How much will this turn all the dudes on?” And my yoga pants do, in fact, cover my ass. If we’re talking about assless yoga pants here, that’s a trend I haven’t heard of and think should probably be questioned. But I assume we’re talking about the regular variety.

              Would you tell the shirtless men in my hot yoga classes to cover up? Those guys are mighty attractive—does that mean they should be covering themselves up instead of doing what feels comfortable so that they don’t run the risk of turning me on?

              @Mark:
              I’m perfectly willing to talk to you about women wearing yoga pants outside of the gym, too. But the argument doesn’t change much—they’re comfy, they cover everything that needs to be covered…so what’s the big deal?

              This whole situation would be funny if it weren’t causing so much anger/fear/shame to arise. Because if a woman is wearing yoga pants for “everyday wear,” it’s usually for an unsexy reason, like “I’m feeling lazy today,” or “I ate a ton of fries last night, I feel too bloated for my jeans,” etc.

              Who’s saying, “Let’s stop the conversation”? It seems to me that Alyssa was just suggesting that this writer seems to have some underlying issues that are contributing to this obsession/worry he has about feeling turned on by women in yoga pants. And it is pretty evident that he does–because otherwise, why would he be so bothered by it? It’s not like he’s alone in having issues with his sexuality. And it’s not that he shouldn’t ask questions, but he seems to be focusing the blame outward. I do appreciate that he is at least sort of trying to work on the issue by talking about it. But he’s obsessing about the reason women wear them outside of the gym and suspecting malicious motives instead of saying, “Hey, what’s going on with me here? Why am I so bothered by the fact that I think women look hot in yoga pants?”

              @Marcus:

              Well, ok, sometimes miscommunications happen. In many different situations. And everyone is an individual with his/her own background, experiences, feelings, opinions, etc.

              Sure, it’s normal to be bothered by someone thinking that you’re a creep, but if you honestly feel like you weren’t being creepy, then it shouldn’t really get to you. Recognize that she could have misread you, or you could have misread her, or perhaps she has anxiety, or who knows what else, and give her her space and go about your business.

              Of course just because I feel creeped out doesn’t mean that someone meant to make me feel that way. But if I do feel creeped out for whatever reason, I’m going to let that person know (through subtle body language) that I feel uncomfortable.
              It’s usually safe to just glance—meaning don’t linger like you’re trying to take a mental photograph. I practice this too. I look at men I find attractive, but in order to avoid giving them the wrong idea or making them feel uncomfortable, I look away and focus on whatever it is that I’m doing. I think that if I ever accidentally lingered, it would be within a guy’s rights to give me an “Uh, what are you doing?” look, and I would just have to laugh at myself and go on my merry way.

            • Sure, it’s normal to be bothered by someone thinking that you’re a creep, but if you honestly feel like you weren’t being creepy, then it shouldn’t really get to you.

              I agree, and that’s already how I feel. Glad you feel that way, too. Do you think you can convince Sara, who earlier today, wrote to Mark Neil:

              Did you ever stop to think that you’re getting negative reactions because you are coming off as creepy and intrusive? Maybe the problem is not with women, maybe it’s YOU. Maybe you need to re-evaluate your interactions with women. Because I can tell you that I never shame men for looking at me unless they are being creeps about it. There has to be reason for me to accuse you of objectification. It isn’t just me being a big meanie pants. So instead of blaming women for over-reacting to your advances, maybe you need to look inward. Just a suggestion.

              It’s been a while since I’ve written any articles for GMP, but one of my first pieces here was From Librarian to Eye Candy in 20 Seconds, in which I described the experience of repeatedly appreciating an attractive woman from afar (on a cruise) and later even discreetly ogling her, all without creeping her out or drawing disapproving comments or body language. I wrote the piece many years ago, not for GMP, and submitted it before I’d learned to expect every such piece to go through the GMP grinder and come out as rape culture sausage. I still stand by the piece as a demonstration of how men can and do glance and occasionally even stare without disrespecting or threatening the person they’re enjoying. If you read it, before you go assuming that the woman in question was creeped out by either my looking or writing about it later and just never said anything, know that I showed the piece to her after I wrote it (to make sure she wouldn’t mind if I shared it on my blog), and she was pleased and flattered enough to circulate it among friends and the nickname (“20 seconds”) became a running joke among them. It’s experiences like that that reassure me I’m not crossing lines, and inure me to the “Look inward, you’re probably a creep” messages that occasionally come up in these discussions.

            • Marcus–if women are consistently bothered by your attention, then yes, I think it’s a good idea to reevaluate the way you’re presenting yourself. I was referring to having one or two isolated incidents when woman objects to you noticing her (whereas most women aren’t bothered by the same behavior), in which case you should respect her feeling, realize that she may be more sensitive to that type of attention than others, and not take it personally.

              What bothers me about your piece is that you didn’t just notice “20 Seconds,” you continued to objectify her. If she didn’t mind, then fine, whatever, but I do think a lot of women would feel uncomfortable in that situation.

              To me, and I believe many other women, what makes it creepy is the fixation. There’s nothing wrong with simply noticing a woman’s body, but it’s not a piece of art hanging on a wall, it belongs to a human being. “20 Seconds” was not, in fact, on your computer monitor or TV screen in a porn film as Hot Librarian. She was a real person, doing her job.
              The fact that she was dressed conservatively also serves to disprove Mark Neil’s claim that “If women don’t appreciate men looking at them, they need to take some responsibility for ensuring that doesn’t happen.” Women have the right to object to anything that’s being done to them, including staring, and it’s not their responsibility to try to wear things that all men will find unattractive (which is pretty much impossible, anyway, because all people are turned on by different things). A lady wearing something that turns you on will only affect you indirectly, whereas you (or anyone) staring at her affects her directly. You can make the choice to notice but not to fixate.

              I do, though, appreciate that we are having this conversation.

            • I appreciate the conversation, too.

              My problem with telling me about how 20 Seconds was a real person and and how she deserves full respect as a human being isn’t that I disagree, because I don’t. The problem is that it sounds for all the world to me like you’re telling me I got it wrong in the first place, which I didn’t. (Also, I don’t think it dehumanizes her to come up with a funny nickname based on a porn cliché, because I regard that porn actresses as whole people, too, even though I’m not personally acquainted with them.)

              To review: I noticed and appreciated her good looks from a distance. (For anyone who didn’t read the story, she was a concierge on a cruise.) I didn’t lurk or go out of my way to be where I could see her or make noises or drool or hit on her. I saw she was pretty and pointed her out to my dad, then made some jokes no one else could hear. One day I went on a snorkeling tour I had no idea beforehand she’d be on, and she turned out to be the crew chaperone for that tour. Like the guests, her attire was casual beach outerwear, and when everyone got to the snorkeling site and disrobed down to their bathing suits, she looked amazing in a bikini. Underwater but still at a distance of several yards, I spent more time looking through my snorkeling mask at her than I did at the stingrays. Any time we were close enough for conversation, whether at the concierge desk (for actual concierge needs) or on the snorkeling tour, I addressed her as a person, not as an object that I was there to stare at. This was not putting on a show to keep her from finding out I thought of her as a sexual object I was entitled to, because I never thought that. I’ll point out again the part that I think most effectively disproves the “You were objectifying her” hypothesis, which is that before publishing the article I wrote about her, I showed it to her. There was a chance she’d say, “Ew, creepy, that makes me uncomfortable”, which would have been disappointing, but it’s because I recognized that possibility and respected her as more than just an object to look at and write about, that I wanted to run it by her.

              That encounter was over 10 yrs. ago, long before GMP or the corner of the blogosphere it inhabits tried to tell me anything about what kind of looking is okay and what isn’t. I personally think it puts me in the running for the poster boy of how to do it right, because the only way I could have “objectified” her less would be to have never noticed her at all, which so many people in this discussion are swearing isn’t what they want or advise. Instead, the original comments (which only numbered a couple dozen or so) mostly scolded me or disapproved of how I’d objectified her, and reminded me of the full person behind 20 Seconds, even though I never violated any of the “guidelines” or made her feel uncomfortable. I did everything right, got a good story out of it that she liked, but I’ve still been told (but only at GMP) that I was objectifying, fixating, and basically doing it wrong. Outside of online gender discussions, the response to that story has been uniformly positive regardless of the gender of the reader.

              Aside from plugging an old piece, my point in bringing this up is that Nathan tells a story of looking at attractive women where he gets some of it “wrong”, because he not only feels ashamed of it (which is arguably wrong), but goes the extra step of blaming women for being temptresses. I told a story of looking at an attractive woman where I didn’t do either of those things – feel ashamed or blame the woman I found attractive for my shame – and caused her no discomfort. If it were true that there’s a right way to look and wrong way to look, I’d think maybe there’d be some back-patting from women (on the same site), but the opposite has been the case. It pretty much doesn’t matter – to some women – if you’re the drooling idiot who cat-calls and gropes, or the quiet glancer; if a man admits to any amount, the assumption will be that he’s understating how much he ogled and how much discomfort he caused, so he will be called out as an objectifier…even though we all agree there’s nothing wrong with a little looking.

            • Marcus… do you really not see how making jokes about a woman (even if “no one can hear”) and staring at her underwater longer than you did the sting rays is objectification? Objectification doesn’t mean you lose ALL sight of someone’s humanity and are unable to talk to them like a normal human being, as you pride yourself on being able to do. A “little looking” to me is an appreciative, instinctive glance. Or maybe continuously being drawn to me with the intent to get to know me. Rude comments, oogling me like I’m meat to be consumed… it’s going to make me uncomfortable.

              Maybe you didn’t make that woman uncomfortable. But you certainly could have. And did you consider that it’s possible that you did? But in order to avoid causing problems with her job (as a man and a customer, you were in the position of power) and protect her own safety, she went along with it as a means of self-protection? It’s more than possible. I say this as someone who has experienced assault and has learned when it’s not safe to potentially inflame a man. And while you and others might say, “But I’m not that kind of man!” Well, how am I or any other woman supposed to know that? I’m the one who will get chastised for “not being careful enough” should anything happen. Just something else for you to consider.

            • Marcus… do you really not see how making jokes about a woman (even if “no one can hear”) and staring at her underwater longer than you did the sting rays is objectification?

              No, I really, really, honestly, not just kidding around, don’t. Objectification is about what’s in my head, is it not? I know that at no point did I perceive or treat her as just an object. I consider that “treat her” part especially important, since I don’t believe “lusting in my heart” or “sexualizing her in my mind” is anything to be ashamed of.

              Objectification doesn’t mean you lose ALL sight of someone’s humanity and are unable to talk to them like a normal human being, as you pride yourself on being able to do.

              Really? Then feminists are describing it wrong, because I’ve been told almost to the letter that that’s what objectification is, and I don’t do that.

              A “little looking” to me is an appreciative, instinctive glance.

              And if you were the concierge and had shown any signs of discomfort at how long any of my glances or looks lasted, I would have stopped, but you weren’t, and I followed my own standards of what’s respectful and what’s not, and nobody was made to feel uncomfortable. Monitor your own glances however you like, but no single person is the arbiter of exactly how many seconds or fractions of a second are allowed before *other people* will feel disrespectfully objectified. I followed most of these tips you and others have given about how *not* to make a woman uncomfortable (without needing the tips) and succeeded in not making her uncomfortable, but you’re still telling me how I did it wrong, or might be deluded in thinking I did it right.

              Maybe you didn’t make that woman uncomfortable. But you certainly could have. And did you consider that it’s possible that you did?

              Which part of showing her the story to make sure she was okay with it do you not understand? Do you not believe my account of how I behaved, or do you really think that I failed to show any sign of taking her comfort into consideration?

              But in order to avoid causing problems with her job (as a man and a customer, you were in the position of power) and protect her own safety, she went along with it as a means of self-protection?

              Women often say things they don’t mean, so we shouldn’t take them at their word – is that what you’re telling me now? Even if I disbelieved her words (and smiles and positive body language) as you suggest I should consider doing, her actions spoke volumes. If she pretended to be pleased so as not to make waves with me the powerful customer, why would she make the playful parting remark a few days later about the rose (tattoo) having a stem? If she was uncomfortable but pretending not to be for the sake of her job, why would she circulate the story among crew friends and laugh about “20 Seconds” becoming an inside joke nickname among them?

              So I ask you, have you considered the possibility that I managed to glance and even do some discreet underwater ogling, all without feeling shame, blaming a woman for whatever feelings I had, and without causing an iota of discomfort or dehumanizing her? I submit that it’s not reasonable to reprimand me for feelings you imagine yourself having if you were her, had caught me looking, and had seen me ignore your discomfort — because none of that happened. If something like that and worse has happened to you, that’s tragic and inexcusable, but I’m not going to feel guilt over wrongs I never perpetrated, no matter how earnestly you ask me to reconsider.

            • wellokaythen says:

              Shame on you, Marcus. Stingrays don’t just exist for you to look at them, you know. They don’t look the way they do just for your own amusement…. : – )

            • That’s true actually. :)

            • I was careful to only admire them, not ogle like Steve “The Crocodile Hunter” Irwin.

            • wellokaythen says:

              And, to make it even more subjective, there is a possibility in some cases that a woman may think a man is looking at her when he really isn’t. What you see out of the corner of your eye may not be what you think it is. When you think you caught him looking away quickly, did you really catch him looking away quickly, or did you imagine it because you assume that’s what a man would do in that situation? I’m sure everyone has had the experience of feeling like you’re being watched but you never see anyone looking at you. I know we’re all supposed to trust our instincts, but we can’t actually sense someone looking at us. Sometimes that’s just the imagination.

            • I’m also seeing him as angry because of all of his posts combined. He SEEMS like an angry guy, which is why I said “IF it makes you angry, as it SEEMS to do…” (Again, my own emphasis.)

      • Ed, you need to realize that my brain doesn’t work like yours. While some men might say, “SURELY women understand the effect!”, I really don’t understand it first hand. When getting dressed in the morning, I want be comfortable, I want a style that reflects me as a person, and sure, I want to wear something that is flattering instead of unflattering. But it’s to take care of myself. I don’t WANT the attention of guys hollering at me from cars when I walk down the street. But I also don’t think it’s fair to insist I wear a particular sort of outfit to avoid that attention. I’ve been hollered at in loose running shorts, in tighter running shorts, in baggy sweat pants, and in yoga pants. I’m not trying to disrespect you or any other man, and I expect you to not disrespect me by trying to suggest that the only thing that will make me worthy of respect is wearing something that seems “modest” enough for you. It leads me to be ashamed of and uncomfortable in my body, and has even lead me to feel responsible when men take inappropriate action against me (assaulting me after a clear, “Please don’t touch me, I don’t want to do this, no”), and led the men in question to not feel responsible at all. If you think my butt looks great in yoga pants, fine. If you think my legs look great in running shorts, great. I don’t mind that you notice it at all. If you take that as grounds to disrespect me, to blatantly stare and make comments, to suggest that it says something about my character, or to suggest that the men of the world are incapable to correctly functioning if a woman’s wardrobe makes to her too appealing (a COMPLETELY subjective analysis in a world where women are punished for not being conventionally attractive and are objectified and shamed for being “too sexy”), I have a problem with that. I do NOT have a problem with men. I have some of the greatest guy friends in the world and an very good father, and I respect and appreciate them so much. I believe that their more than animals who can’t control their eyes and hormones. I think better of them than that. Let’s try to make this respect thing mutual, eh? I won’t tell you what to wear, I will view you as a full human being, I will not assault or disrespect you and make sure my friends don’t either, and you do some research on male privilege.

  20. I’m curious…is there anyone else here besides me who had no idea what yoga pants were before this round of articles? I mean, now that they have a name I realize what they are and that I’ve seen (and appreciated) them, but I never knew they were a thing, or “the uniform of modern motherhood”. I just thought of it as a general fashion trend where women wear tights or leggings as pants way more than they ever used to. (On a man, I’d have identified them as running tights.) It’s like tight jeans, only more so. I’m still not clear if “skinny jeans” just means form-fitting, or jeans only skinny women can wear. If you’d asked me to describe what I thought “yoga pants” were before these articles, I think I’d have described what I’ve come to believe are known as “harem pants”, sort of loose fitting but very light and comfy, usually with a drawstring. I’m probably wrong about that, too. (Actually, I just googled those and it appears I’m wrong again, because most examples look like MC Hammer pants to me. I have no idea what the name is for the kind of style that was “yoga pants” in my mind until two days ago.)

    • The world of fashion is a strange and complicated one, lol!

    • I thought they were leggings, a resurgence of an unfortunate fashion trend from the ’80’s. Personally only very fit women look good in those types of garments. If you have an ounce of fat, your butt looks enormous. Most of the women I see in yoga pants or leggings look pretty bad.

    • Guess what! It turns out I wasn’t wrong about what yoga pants are, I was just wrong about what they are for women. I did an Amazon search on “yoga pants men” and almost all of the long pants versions are exactly what I pictured. Somehow, running tights for women became “yoga pants”. Go figger.

      I recently got a pair of Under Armour black leggings that are form-fitting, and crazy comfortable. I can’t imagine going to the grocery store or walking around a mall in just those, but I’m vaguely tempted to try now, just as an experiment to see what unusual attention I’d get, if any. I kinda think I’d get checked out, but not in a good way, like those guys who wear Speedo bikinis at the beach – especially if they’re not European.

    • Mr Supertypo says:

      ” I’m curious…is there anyone else here besides me who had no idea what yoga pants were before this round of articles? I mean, now that they have a name I realize what they are and that I’ve seen (and appreciated) them, but I never knew they were a thing, or “the uniform of modern motherhood”. I just thought of it as a general fashion trend where women wear tights or leggings as pants way more than they ever used to.”

      Me to, I was actually wondering what thise yoga pants was and I was picturing something ala pajamas. But now I know, and IMO they arent that sexy. I prefer short shorts or miniskirts. Yoga pants dont actually cut in for me. But hey thats me…and this is the testimony that not everybody is the same.

  21. Women being a lot more selective only respond to visual stimuli if the man is very attractive.

    Consider a very attractive young man. If he wears tight speedo like shorts that show off his a.ss outline of his c0ck, lot of thighs and legs, a tight sleeveless shirt, revealing the shape of his torso and showing his bare sculpted arms; women in close proximity are bound to get sexually uncomfortable. If this became a common sight we would see women on the same side of the debate as most men are now in the yoga pants debate.

    It will be a double edged sword for women too. On one hand there will be eye candy but on the other the writing will be on the wall that you can only look, but not stare and certainly not touch.

    Since men are more egalitarian in their sexual attraction, find a much larger number of women physically appealing, and most men have at least some sexual attraction to nearly every young woman; this issue of staring, checking out, lusting after, objectification appears to be a one sided gender specific issue.

    • There are many more scantily clad young men out and about than there were, say, 20 years ago, as men, like women, become more and more objectified.
      It comes down to this: having a reaction to someone you find attractive is normal, natural, and shouldn’t be anything to be ashamed of. It’s when either the reaction is taken to more of an extreme (touching, commenting, openly staring) or when the person having the reaction lashes out against the person they find attractive that the problem starts.
      And I disagree that men find more variety of women attractive. I think it’s definitely an individual thing, not a gender thing.

      • Women only check out hot guys. They’ve acknowledge it here as well.

        Men check out like 80% of young women

        • But it’s up to each of us, individually, to decide what is “hot.” What one person finds attractive, another may find repulsive.
          It may seem like women only check out certain men. Just as it seems, to women, that men only like one type of woman. Turns out neither case is true.

        • But it’s up to each of us, individually, to decide what is “hot.” What one person finds attractive, another may find repulsive.
          It may seem like women only check out certain men. Just as it seems, to women, that men only like one type of woman. Turns out neither case is true. So we’re all probably getting checked out a lot more than we think!

        • But it’s up to the individual to decide what’s ” hot”. If we all found exactly the same thing appealing, I imagine very few of us would ever get married.
          It’s funny: women think men only like stick thin, Amazonian supermodels, while men think we only want ripped 25 year- olds. My guess is that we’re ALL being checked out a lot more than we know!

          • Thats not what the vast majority of men expereince…being checked out by women.

            But most women, even avg looking ones say they are frequently in the male gaze.

            I can see youre going in the wishy washy everything shade of gray vague mode. But its just not the same for men and women.

            Women only check out conventionally hot men. The sight of the bodies of avg/alright looking men do little for women. Women even cover it up by saying “we are not as visual”. In reality they are ‘visual’…just selectively visual.

            • First of all: Multiple posts on my part, ugh, and sorry. My phone kept telling me my comment post had failed.
              I cannot speak to the level of checking out that goes on on the part of all women, but I DO know I’m a bit more shy about it than others.

            • Not true! I check out guys that don’t exactly fit the model of “conventional attractiveness” all the time.

              Women tend to be much more subtle about it, because according to societal standards, it’s “weird” for us to do it.

            • If a guy looks like what you’re suggesting (sculpted body in a speedo) I’m not going to be interested at all, honestly. I’m usually put off by guys who are to “pretty” or buff. I’m into intellectuals with good character and kind hearts. I think there are few gender differences here: one, I do think that the MAJORITY of men are more visual than the MAJORITY of women. I think their brains tend to work that way. I’m a sexual person, but I don’t picture anyone I see walking down the street naked, or get bombarded by sexy images that I’ve seen of men or women. My brain just doesn’t work that way. From what I understand, many men’s brains do.

              Beyond that, you have the fact that men are socially conditioned to be the pursuers, while women are taught to be passive. If we aren’t even supposed to ask guys out on a date (traditionally and usually) it would be completely against the “feminine” character that we’re supposed to have to blatantly look at guy up and down. It would be considered coming off way too strong, not to mention pretentious. Whereas men growing up (many times) learn that that’s what men do, that boys will be boys! They even do it groups. So I think there’s a social construct gender role in play as well as different brain patters (in the majority of men).

        • I don’t even notice hot guys, actually. Male bodies have very little effect on me. I might notice a guy has a nice face or is dressed well, but it’s more aesthetic than sexual. I’m not aroused by looking at men. I think I’m truly not visual.

          • sarah, it is the same for most hetero women.
            thats why their surprise at the reaction to yoga pants,’ men find yoga pants on women attractive, or to be nearly nude???’. yet they claim they are as aroused by visual stimulus as men are.

      • “It comes down to this: having a reaction to someone you find attractive is normal, natural, and shouldn’t be anything to be ashamed of.”

        This is rather a hard statement to accept when, in the very sentence preceding it, you labeled men being checked out as being objectified.

        “It’s when either the reaction is taken to more of an extreme (touching, commenting, openly staring) or when the person having the reaction lashes out against the person they find attractive that the problem starts.”

        This I agree with. It’s just a shame that if/when someone tries to point out the second part IS a problem, they are accused of promoting the first, told they don’t respect women, or even hate them, and insulted in all sorts of ways, which really just promotes the kind of shame the author is feeling which started this whole conversation.

        • By “objectified” I mean by advertisements, movies, TV, etc. rather than by being checked out. Should’ve been more specific. It’s gotten to the point where you can’t watch an hour of TV without seeing men being portrayed as either vapid eye candy, completely inept, or as pure brutes.

  22. I think I just noticed something else.

    Has anyone heard from Nathan since this post was published?

    • good point, hope someone has checked in on him.
      as the hunts of tom.m, alyssa.r showed, when the feminists have decided you are the prey-of-the-day, it is not an easy thing to go through

  23. So you really don’t respect women, huh? You think women are always in the wrong and it doesn’t matter if men make them feel like objects? You think men should just be able to gawk and stare at women as much as they want regardless of whether women feel comfortable with that or not? Women should just shut up and deal with it because men are turned on by us and how dare we think that we exist for any purpose except to turn men on? Right?

    I’m done with you. Your hatred of women is so thick that you can’t even see it.

  24. So what I think I’m seeing in this dicsussion is a question over comfort zones. How far do they reach out, who is crossing whose zone, and so on.

    So a woman wears an outfit. Does this cause any problems in anyone else’s comfort zones?

    A guy checks out a woman who is working an outfit. Does this cause any problem in anyone else’s comfort zones?

    Also I think one thing that’s going is a bit of talking past each other over when does looking becomes staring ( think that most people here agree that actual commentary, gestures, and touching are wrong).

    Does that sum up with is going on?

  25. so the main points here is that everything women do, including their choice of comfort clothes, is geared towards attracted men; that it is inconceivable that a woman would don an article of clothing with no consideration for how it will affect men; and that women choose yoga pants over sweatpants because they are more attractive to men. you’ve got to be kidding me…

  26. I’m sure this point has already been made that if yoga pants/tights are comfortable, so are bathrobes and karate gis. But I dont see women wearing them casually.

  27. OMG! Yoga pants turn men on! So that’s why I’ve been wearing them! Here, I thought I was just donning these lycra pants just to keep from becoming a sweaty mess or but, no, it turns out deep down inside I’m asking for male attention.

    Yoga pants are comfy as hell. I might be wearing them at the supermarket because I didn’t have to change. Or because I’m about to do something active. Or just because I feel like going through my day in comfort. Trust me when I say yoga pants are not for attracting your attention. If they’re creating uncontrollable desires within you, well, then bud that’s your problem.

    Damn Nathan, it’s a male-centered universe you’re living in.

  28. Drew, I don’t think you are creepy at all for glancing at a woman in yoga pants or any other article of clothing that you might find appealing on the female form. I do the same sometimes when I see men that I think are hot or wearing clothes that show off their physiques. And you’re right, sometimes you don’t intend to be creepy but it can be read that way by strangers and that sucks but I also don’t think it’s that big of a deal. If someone that I don’t know keeps looking at me I’m probably going to be a bit weirded out. I mean, I don’t know the person. And I’m not a mind-reader either. I can’t tell if that person is harmless or is planning on harassing me so I might be a bit defensive at first. It goes both ways. I guess we all just have to do our best to respect each others boundaries as best we can. We won’t always get it right and signals might be misread, but I think if our intentions are not malicious then no real harm will be done. Not sure what else to say.

  29. Mr Supertypo says:

    ok my take.

    SOME women use yoga pants, because their are confortable, some other women use them because they like attention. We are all different people. So get over it.

    Finally, a observation, labeling someone as creep is actually objectification. The person you call creep is actually a human being, dont forget that. So please erase that human degrading word from the dictionary and stop using it. Thank you :-)

  30. I haven’t ever considered yoga pants or other tight fitting workout attire “sexy” but if Nathan does, I think he’s a grown man who should be able to handle seeing women he finds attractive without feeling “doomed” and resort to leering at her.

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