Why Are We Experiencing An Anti-Pants Movement?

Illustration for article titled Why Are We Experiencing An Anti-Pants Movement?

Friends, we are in trying times. There is a war going on, and it's against pants.


Over at MMemes, blogger Em Dash writes:

I would blame Lady GaGa, but she didn't start it. I'd also blame American Apparel, but they just sell the paraphernalia… But for the millions of women and men (and children!) adversely affected by this traumatic craze, it's past warning stages. We need to up the terror alert to infrared and distribute our own sort of paraphernalia…

The blog contains a downloadable PDF of small cards good Samaritans can pass out to the pants-less, which read, "Leggings are not sufficient substitutes" and "the lines on your leggings do not make them jeans."

This is a subject of contention around here, but I am just going to go ahead and say it:

Leggings are not pants.

Obviously, neither are leotards or whatever Katy Perry has taken to covering up with. Yes, Merriam-Webster's definition is, "an outer garment covering each leg separately and usually extending from the waist to the ankle -usually used in plural." But, by that definition, pantyhose would be classified as pants. And we know that they are not. So let's turn to The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, which tends to be more thorough: Pants come from pantaloon, which can be traced back to Pantaleon, the patron saint of Venice.

He became so closely associated with the inhabitants of that city that the Venetians were popularly known as Pantaloni. Consequently, among the commedia dell'arte's stock characters the representative Venetian (a stereotypically wealthy but miserly merchant) was called Pantalone, or Pantalon in French. In the mid-17th century the French came to identify him with one particular style of trousers…

Trousers. That's what pants are. Trousers. Are leggings trousers? No. Therefore, they are not pants. Needless to say, a leotard does not qualify as "wearing pants," either. And, though short-shorts are often called "hot pants," they are not, due to their abbreviated nature, pants.

Now, women in the Western world first started wearing pants around the 1880s — after centuries of skirts — because they were doing industrial work. Of course, it wasn't considered "proper" for a "lady" to wear trousers until much later in the 20th century. And if you're of a certain religion, it still isn't right for a woman to wear pants.


But pants-wearing has always been a feminist issue: At a time when studios were looking for skirt-wearing blonde bombshells, Kathereine Hepburn rocked trousers with flair.

Illustration for article titled Why Are We Experiencing An Anti-Pants Movement?

And against the bakcdrop of the "Women's Lib" movement of the 1970s, Virginia Slims marketed its cigarettes as for the pants-wearing women who had "come a long way."

Illustration for article titled Why Are We Experiencing An Anti-Pants Movement?

The point is this: We, as women, have the right to wear pants. Pants can be comfortable, elegant, professional, playful and appropriate. Why is everyone so anti-pants?

Pants-less Ladies Save the World (and How You Can Save the Pants) [MMeme]



Whenever Jezebel gets on the topic of fashion / clothes / style, she usually just sounds like an old person complaining about the kids today.