I Say Legging, You Say…

Somehow, it seems appropriate that a self-proclaimed shameless hussy should write a response to Veronica Partridge, the focus of the leggings-post-heard-round the world.

Ad Hominem: Latin. Literally: “To the man.” It refers to responding to an argument by attacking a person’s character, rather than to the content of the argument itself.

I disagree with virtually every aspect of Mrs. Partridge’s stance on leggings and yogapants.  But the decision by some who share my dissent to name-call and launch such a venomous attack on her for her beliefs and opinions….well, welcome to the internet. Playground for the cowards and passive-aggressives. I can’t imagine how it must feel to face that much hatred from so many people she has never met for a 523 word post that, given her background and the overall message of her blog, should surprise no one. Shame on us.

I say “virtually” because I believe she has a right to hold and express this opinion, as she states in the first paragraph that this was a decision she made for herself.  At that point, Mrs. Partridge and I part ways.

In truth, the claim that the pants in question can make a man “have lustful thoughts” and look at another woman “in a way that he should only look at his wife,” are not my concern – I’m not about to try to tell anyone what kind of lustful thoughts he or she should be having.  My issue is not with her decision, nor the theology behind it, or even her decision to post about it and hurl herself into the pit of trolls.  Had she left it at that, I wouldn’t have had a response. I wouldn’t have even read her piece. Because who cares what God told her to wear?

However, her response to the same post, that was published two days ago contains some objectionable content, in the guise of further explanation. You can read that post here.

“Responsible sexuality should be led by both men and women.”  Indeed it should, although our definitions of both words differ – but that is not what she is saying.  She is holding women responsible for the potential actions others – those who are affected by what she is wearing.  “And I might not realize the effect I have on the bus driver who may be fighting through his own battle with sex addiction.”  I am very uncomfortable with the implications of that statement.  Do you have the same concerns for people drinking in public without knowing the effect they are having on a nearby, unknown alcoholic? People eating in front of those battling eating disorders?  And if we have some accountability for the reactions of that bus driver, then it is implicit that we have some responsibility for the actions that follow.

From there, it is a short leap over a bottomless pit to blaming victims for their own sexual assault.

I understand that making unwise decisions can lead to tragic consequences, sometimes at the hands of someone who is already prone toward hurtful or violent behavior, and I understand that we have to protect ourselves.  But when we do not have the foresight or the wisdom or luxury to do that, we do not assume responsibility for the actions of others.

To perpetuate the notion that a certain type of legwear can incite lustful thoughts in our “brethren” and cause them to “stumble,” and imply that we are even partially responsible for their actions is profoundly irresponsible.

Mrs. Partridge has expressed that she and her husband will be adding more thoughts to the post as they arise.

I would respectfully suggest that they both  reconsider.


5 thoughts on “I Say Legging, You Say…

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  1. I can honestly say I never even thought about a relationship between yoga pants and men’s lustful thoughts until I read Mrs. Partridge’s post. It’s obvious from her posts that she is a “Godly” woman and if dressing in baggier clothing makes her feel more comfortable about her sexuality, then she is certainly entitled to do so. And she certainly has the right to explain her stance if she chooses. What she is not entitled to do (in my humble opinion) is attempt to make those who DO feel comfortable dressing in yoga pants and leggings feel as if they are responsible for other’s thoughts and actions – that’s just bologna. As for me, if I’m wearing yoga pants and a man looks at me with lustful thoughts, I smile and call it a good day 

  2. Yes, let’s turn to Stacey Dash for party-foul guidelines. LOL! It is very hard to remember, sometimes, that even stupid people have the right to talk. I don’t even think she knew what she was actually responding to, I think she just knew she hadn’t made any noise in a few minutes and it was her turn. 🙂

  3. As a writer who posts my thoughts and feelings with a certain audience in mind, I’m disgusted by the hateful comments she received. She wasn’t speaking for anyone but herself and her original post was written for her world, the people she surrounds herself with and the people who relate to her life and struggles. I don’t have an issue with that at all. Some of the comments she received in response to her original post were frightening and I can see how she was caught off guard. But like you, I have an issue with her follow up post. I have a fairly large audience of women and men who have been sexually abused as children and as adults. If I wrote what she did, the people who read my blog would shit their pants and hang me from the highest post.

    She wrote, in part: “…I might not realize the effect I have on my neighbor’s 13 year old son entering the age of sexuality. I might not realize the effect I have on a mother’s daughter who may be struggling with the shape of her body. And I might not realize the effect I have on the bus driver who may be fighting through his own battle with sex addiction.”

    On the surface this sounds reasonable but I think she is naive. I think she hasn’t experienced what I have. I think she believes that she can control men by how she presents herself. I think that she thought she was only talking about modesty but it struck a chord with people who know that no amount of modesty can prevent rape. I think she hasn’t been exposed to abuse the way I have. I also think that her intentions are good and she just wants to do good in the world. If she shuts up, she’ll only get feedback from people who see the world the way she does and that won’t help the discussion. I hope that she has the courage to keep speaking because she strikes me as someone who might be able to do good with what she learns.

    1. “I think she believes that she can control men by how she presents herself.” – exactly.

      And you are right, Karen, I shouldn’t tell another blogger to shut up, respectfully or not, especially since she does seem to be trying to make sense of all of this, at least right now. I hope she does have the courage to weather the storm of unwarranted personal attacks and perhaps gain some new perspective. Thanks for reading. I always enjoy your comments.

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