By Amanda Tonoli
I am a big advocator of wearing what I want and being comfortable in it. This probably stems from three horrific years in Catholic school — the uniforms day in and day out, blending all of my classmates together into the unhappy, uptight and uncomfortable bunch that we were.
Work uniforms even drove me mad — the specific way you had to wear your shirt and how you always had to put your hair up. I don’t like being told what to do, especially when it concerns what to wear and how to wear it.
In recent weeks there has been a bill proposed, House Bill 365, in Montana by Representative David Moore that threatens this right that I hold so dearly. It attempts to expand the current indecent exposure law to include any article of clothing that overstresses a man or woman’s body — namely tight-fitting clothing that shows off the pelvic area, butt or genitals.
In “Government is Coming for Your Yoga Pants,” published in February in The Washington Post, Fingers Malloy evaluates this proposal in context with the current indecent exposure law and its consequences.
“If you are convicted for indecent exposure three times in Montana, it is legally possible that you could spend the rest of your life in prison,” Malloy said.
Although the bill addresses lessening the life sentence to a sentence not exceeding five years and reducing the original $10,000 fine to $5,000, those consequences still seem outlandish for something as simple as a pair of $40 yoga pants.
In addition, I remember from a young age being brought up with love your body campaigns, teaching kids to do just that: to love themselves in their own skin. It may have not been perfect, but this ideal promoted self-confidence and self-esteem.
Now, places like Montana are telling its citizens to hide themselves and that showing off your body is just plain indecent and unlawful.
Is this really about yoga pants though?
“I submit that modesty stereotypes are only one part of a broader problem,” Malloy said. “Elected officials on a local, state and national level are too eager to write unnecessary laws, enabling the ever-increasing nanny state to become even more powerful.”
Although we do not live in Montana and it is relatively unlikely this law will find any traction, it is this lawmaker’s audacity to try to restrict our choices in what we can and cannot wear, and thus restricting our personal liberties, that is the true problem. It is a phenomenon reflected throughout our culture.
And why? What is it about the human body, male or female, which has us all shaking in our boots? Is there some corrupting power to tight-fitting jeans and the human body that we are not privy to?
Of course there is a purpose to the average indecency law, which usually prohibits nudity, but this bill is such an egregious attempt to extend a personal morality code into our laws — in addition to being poorly defined and thus allowing abuses — that even one state’s attempt to get it on the books is not only unfathomably stupid, but worrying.