We live in a world full of problems. Thankfully, we also live in a world of problem-solvers, such as one Rep. David Moore of Montana. The Republican legislator recently proposed an innovative response to a tricky situation his town found itself in last summer: A group of naked cyclists biked right on through Missoula in August, and they couldn’t be stopped for fear of violating free speech rights. So, to get back at ‘em, Moore would like to ban yoga pants in public.
On Tuesday, the GOPer introduced House Bill 365, which would expand the state’s current indecent exposure laws to include “any nipple exposure, including men’s, and any garment that ‘gives the appearance or simulates’ a person’s buttocks, genitals, pelvic area or female nipple,” according to the Billings Gazette. There’s more:
The Republican from Missoula said tight-fitting beige clothing could be considered indecent exposure under his proposal.
“Yoga pants should be illegal in public anyway,” Moore said after the hearing.
Moore said he wouldn’t have a problem with people being arrested for wearing provocative clothing but that he’d trust law enforcement officials to use their discretion. He couldn’t be sure whether police would act on that provision or if Montana residents would challenge it.
“I don’t have a crystal ball,” Moore said.
As one of Moore’s colleagues in the Legislature, Rep. Virginia Court, has already noted, the bill’s provision banning accentuation of women’s nipples might be problematic. “I think you are kind of being a little prejudiced against women,” Court said. Indeed, specifying whose body parts are banned from (implied) public exposure, and not applying the same rule to all citizens, is prejudiced!
But let’s get back to the yoga pants thing, because I have a real question: What is the deal with male legislators, in particular, trying to ban yoga pants? Is this a jealousy thing, because social custom generally denies men the freedom to wear the soft, stretchy, oh-so-comfortable garment? Is it because men can’t control themselves (read: their erections) when they see a woman in jersey knit leggings? We’ve already gone over the ways in which it unfairly targets women to restrict the wearing of yoga pants, but seriously … what is going on?
Yoga pants are comfortable. They are not a threat. Banning them is not an appropriate way to deal with angst about some naked cyclists. Kudos to Rep. Moore for trying to address society’s problems by burdening women and limiting freedom. But really, someone needs to reconsider his priorities. Launching a full-scale attack on nipples, cotton athletic wear and even Speedos takes Montana’s efforts to police people’s bodies — particularly women’s — to a whole new level. A level that is damn near inconceivable, undergirded by straightforward sexism and just plain bizarre.