Just Relax: Montana Lawmaker Attempts to Ban Yoga Pants
A proposed bill that would ban yoga pants in Montana has been tabled, eliciting joy from practitioners, women who like to be comfy, and rational human beings everywhere.
If you’ve never worn yoga pants before (or their closely related cousin the leggings) they’re basically like wearing a hug on your legs. But not everyone is that happy with yoga pants, because they tend to conform to our bodies, apparently rendering them a scourge to society that needs to be outlawed.
At least, they’re that scourge according to one Montana lawmaker. Rep. David Moore, a legislator from Missoula, proposed a bill that would redefine indecent exposure laws, making it illegal to wear in public:
any device, costume, or covering that gives the appearance of or simulates the genitals, pubic hair, anus region, or pubic hair region.
Moore explained that “Yoga pants should be illegal in public anyway” during a hearing on the bill. He also cited that tight-fitting beige clothing would be something included under the new bill as indecent exposure.
So, the bill didn’t really actually ban yoga pants–but it did leave determining indecent exposure up to the discretion of police officers, and yoga pants could certainly have been included.
One of the most concerning things this about this bill is that it didn’t amend the penalties for breaking indecent exposure laws. According to the Billings Gazette:
A first offense for violating Montana’s indecent exposure law carries a fine of no more than $500 and six months in jail. A second offense carries up to $1,000 or one year in jail.
That seems incredibly extreme for pants that don’t even show skin. A year in jail for yoga pants, really?
In addition, there are many worries that Moore’s legislation is sexist in nature–after all, it mentions only the “female nipple” and based on societal norms alone, women are more likely to wear tight-fitting clothing. One of Moore’s female colleagues, Rep. Virginia Court, even attempted to point that out to him, to seemingly no avail.
The debate over yoga pants in our public spaces is nothing new–the fight over whether to ban them in schools has been waging for a couple years now. Read fellow Law Streeter Noel Diem’s breakdown of the subject here.
The applicability of a ban of yoga pants in school is debatable–those who believe in instituting one argue that the tight-fitting garments are distracting to students, while those who disagree with a ban argue that young men should be taught not to objectify women for their clothing choices. Either way, schools are somewhat different; they usually have stricter dress codes than the real world, and they do have to take special considerations into account, such as bullying, and developmental differences between students.
To ban yoga pants and other tight clothing for adults, however, would most likely be both significantly more difficult, and receive even more ire than a similar move inside a school. Expression concerns aside, it’s important to take into account that yoga pants, spandex, and other forms of tight-fitting clothing are often used by athletes, as they provide minimal interference to physical performance.
The entire move on Moore’s part paints him as outdated and puritanical. While there’s certainly many, many times and places where yoga pants shouldn’t be worn–and private businesses are more than welcome to institute dress codes that exclude them–outlawing them for all of public society is extreme to the point of being laughable. Moore’s bill has been tabled–which means that nothing will really come of it. Meanwhile, people of Montana, relax easily tonight in your comfy, form-fitting clothes.