Some of you may have heard of a little protest two weeks ago- a yoga pants protest- in a small town called Barrington, Rhode Island. It is the town next to where I live, and you can see a video about the protest here (you can see me chatting on the lower left side between 0:05 and 0:07 ha ha!).
A quick re-cap of the Yoga Pants Protest (YPP) is this: a man, well known for his opinions in the local paper, wrote about how women over 20 should not wear yoga pants. That they were unbecoming on aging women and that we women should stick to ‘tailored pants’ and stay away from mini skirts as well. The letter is here.
You might imagine, given the current climate of in politics here in America, this pissed me off. And about 300 other people as well.
I went to the parade. I marched peacefully past the house. I exercised my right to free speech (which is what he did, too; our common ground). It was actually a fun time, truth be told.
I’m mentioning this in my health and wellness newsletter because this kind of stuff does actually impact women’s health. This may look like a ‘silly’ protest (and yes, in some ways it was), but it’s also really important. Here’s why.
Every day, as women, we are subjected to images of perfection and ideas of perfection that we are supposed to do our best to live up to (if we don’t there are subtle but impactful consequences). These standards and images hurt us. Some of us get depression or anxiety (or other issues) from the weight of them.
To me, in my practice, the fact that there are little or no images of women in peri-menopause or post-menopause upsets me deeply. Mid-life female role models must be loud to be seen and that doesn’t happen very often. (Have you seen Cyndi Crawford recently? No. There’s a reason.) We don’t see aging and older women for exactly the reasons Alan Sorrentino wrote about: they are supposedly disgusting to the male viewer. I think this is baloney.
And all of us have had to learn to ignore the guy at the office or church or wherever that says ridiculous, sexist things. The fact that we have had to learn to filter that stuff out of our heads upsets me- it steals our precious energy. We shouldn’t have to learn to do that.
For me, the joy of the protest was the idea that all the women in the office had finally had it with this guy, so they all, en masse, walked by his cubicle to make their presence known. Because we are tired of that sh!t, dude.
| all kinds of yoga pants, all kinds of bodies. all of them just fine. |
Another reason this was important to me was that I simply don’t think it’s okay for any dude to tell me what I should be doing with my body. Yoga pants or otherwise. I don’t want to set off political arguments in this post or in my newsletter. What I am simply saying is, men and their opinions about women’s bodies have made it difficult for women for a long time.
For me, this is where peri-menopause and sex come in. We have social standards that say a woman is a slut if she has ‘too much’ sex and that she is frigid if she doesn’t have ‘enough.’ Ninety percent of the women I serve live in both those camps. Either they are ‘slutty’ because they have the Sex Surge and want more sex or they are ‘frigid’ because peri-menopause symptoms have left them with no libido and painful pink parts.
Who determines what is ‘too much’ and what is ‘not enough?’ Men (and patriarchy) do. And those standards have kept women feeling inadequate or ashamed for a long time. And I am not putting up with it anymore. Primarily because I believe that the Sex Surge has been around forever and no one talks about it because of social sexuality standards. Standards which hurt most women.
The other point that really gets me is that I don’t want to shame anyone for their body. Body shaming does not happen in my practice. We focus on feeling good in your body, whatever shape that may be. And if you want to cover that shape with yoga pants, please do so!
Why Yoga Pants Protest? Because, in the end, I believe women have a right to be who and what they are– yoga pants, short hair, tailored pants, mini skirts, armpit hair, corsets, glitter, no glitter, everything- without having to please anyone or meet social standards.
I really believe, because I feel it in my own mind and body and hear it from 99% of the women I know, that these small acts of aggression and control-seeking hurt our spirit. It’s like having to constantly pull the same piece of lint off your shirt all day long, for the rest of your life.
So, I did one small thing- I put on my big girl boots, and I entered a peaceful protest. I didn’t deny anyone else their rights, I simply made my opinion known. And I think that makes such a difference in our spirit and mind and heart. Saying, and showing, “this is how I feel” is immensely healing and healthy and important.
In a lot of ways, this post only scratches the surface of my beliefs and that’s probably as it should be. But I want you to know that I deeply believe in women’s empowerment and freedom. So, lady friends, go! Be the full you that you are– yoga pants or no. Live a life that satisfies you.