Never before has a single clothing item been as basic and contentious as leggings. The athleisure staple adheres to the butts of many, many people—young and old, gym rats and comfy clubwear enthusiasts—yet still, somehow their status as pants is doggedly debated. Seriously, it’s been years. But at this point, I don’t think many people, aside from perhaps conservatives, are really taking up arms for the “please, hide your ass shape” campaign.
One such conservative has delighted us with her presence today. Maryann White, mother of four college-age sons, is pleading—nay, beseeching!—that girls for the love of the Holy Spirit, get their butts out of leggings and into some proper pants. In an instantly legendary line, this mom writes in her letter to University of Notre Dame’s student newspaper The Observer, “I’m just a Catholic mother of four sons with a problem that only girls can solve. Leggings.”
“Leggings are so naked, so form fitting, so exposing,” she continues. “Could you think of the mothers of sons the next time you go shopping and consider choosing jeans instead?” To which I have to say, hell no. Now, listen, I don’t like the idea of dragging someone’s mom, but there’s some sort of inner freak Maryann needs to get in touch with—something she’s repressing—that resulted in this strange Catholic outburst.
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Other lines from the letter include, “Leggings are hardly slave girl outfits” (what!) and the always-fun twisted conservative rhetoric of, “A world in which women continue to be depicted as ‘babes’ by movies, video games, music videos, etc. makes it hard on Catholic mothers to teach their sons that women are someone’s daughters and sisters.”
As Kaitlyn Tiffany of The Goods wrote, “Every time leggings or yoga pants come up, there appears a need to explain, yet again, that the existence of a woman’s body is not, in and of itself, offensive. This is one of the overlooked burdens of combating misogyny: It is extremely boring, and very repetitive.”
It is both extremely boring and very repetitive, but at the very least, I suppose it gives otherwise-ubiquitous, unexciting leggings some sort of edge—at least with moms in church. And listen, can I understand people feeling a little weird about kneeling at the altar in leggings? Absolutely. But if I were part of the church, I’d think at least they’re getting there, huh?