Thursday, October 22, 2015

OPINION: Nobody should be shamed for their attire.

Yesterday the CBC posted an opinion piece by a woman of the name Jo Holness called 'Jo Holness Takes a Stand Against Women Wearing Tights in Public.'

Holness begins her essay by proclaiming that she is a "long time fan of the vagina." She speaks of her admiration for the vagina by using a number of different names for it, for five whole paragraphs before she gets to her whole point of the essay.  

After awkwardly marvelling the wonders of the female anatomy she drops this bomb: "However, as much as I admire the range and ability of your garden variety hoo-haw, I think I could quite happily live the rest of my days without seeing one more of them packed into a pair of whisper-thin tights or yoga pants."

From there it just gets worse. Holness writes "As a woman of the 21st century, I believe we have every right to put on our bodies whatever the heck we want — from burqa to bikini — with no apologies to anyone..." before killing her entire point with: "But just because you can do something, does that mean you should do something?"


My gut feeling is that the writer was trying to be funny...Witty even, but instead the entire piece comes off as condescending and judgemental. Quite frankly, it's a weird fit for the webspace of the public broadcaster who has done such an incredible job covering some of Canada's most marginalized women; The nearly 1,200 missing and murdered Indigenous women. 

I am so mad about this post. I am mad that the CBC published something that is so shaming towards women. I'm mad because in this day and age we live in a society that thinks it's ok to objectify women and girls and then tell them what they can and can't wear. I am so mad that I keep seeing social media posts about young girls being sent home from school because of their clothes. I am mad because this opinion piece is just another step back for women... We already live in a society that makes us prove that we've been raped or sexually assaulted before anyone even believes us because our word is seldom good enough. We live in a society that is so quick to blame our "slutty" attire and our attitudes rather than our attackers. 

This opinion piece just reinforces all of that slut-shaming bullshit.

Aside from the sexist undertones, this post is shameful in that it's making fun of people for what they wear. Look man, I wear tights and yoga pants regularly. I wear them even more now that I've had a baby and my pre-pregnancy clothes don't quite fit me anymore. I also wear them because they're comfortable. I wear them because they're easy. I wear them because I want to wear them. As far as I know my vulva isn't showcased, but if it is, stop looking. 

In 2011 (and probably a number of other times) I have written about tights not being pants. I remember vividly trying to be funny while hammering home my point about how I wore some see-through tights and unintentionally showed everyone "the goods." It will take you five seconds to do a Google search and find this post. Looking back, I fully admit that I was a jerk for trying to tell anyone what they should or shouldn't wear. 

Jo Holness is entitled to her opinion about yoga pants. I'm disappointed that the CBC chose to publish it.