This article created a discussion on modesty and standards that was greatly appreciated. However, there seems to have been some confusion as to the Scroll’s stance in regards to the Honor Code, which we wish to clarify. The current standard for BYU-Idaho in regards to form fitting pants at the John W. Hart Fitness Center states, “Types of form fitting exercise or fitness pants (leggings, yoga pants, running tights or similar) should be solid black in color (no patterns, designs or writing).” This can be found on the BYU-I Student Activities Web page, which we have included below.
We at the Scroll desire to support the current standards of the university and simply disagreed with the petition seeking to ban yoga pants, as well as some of the arguments associated with this topic.
Scroll Editorial: Approved by a 28-0 vote from the Scroll editorial board.
The BYU-Idaho gym is in the process of changing the color of tight, form-fitting exercise pants to solid black.
A group of BYU-I students have started a petition protesting the wearing of specific articles of clothing in the gym.
“We respectfully petition that the use of spandex, skin-tight yoga pants, compression pants or other uncovered, skin-tight apparel does not conform to the standard of modesty of the Lord or his Church based upon the teachings of the scriptures or modern-day church leaders and prophets,” according to the petition.
We submit that form-fitting exercise pants are not immodest in the BYU-I gym and that all individuals are responsible for their own thoughts.
Let’s talk about yoga pants. Citing them as immodest and immoral because they are tight is incorrect. If one were to apply this thinking to any sport, the athletic world would be full of a lot of terrible people.
When a professional swimmer changes into his or her swimsuit, is that immoral? When a baseball player squeezes into his form-fitting pants, is that immoral? When a professional distance runner dons her running shorts, is that immoral?
Certain activities require a certain uniform. To ask an Olympic swimmer to wear a loose-fitting outfit is impractical for the activity at hand.
At a gym where people are moving, stretching and lifting, a certain uniform is required. Those who are gym junkies would never wear jeans or a dress no matter how loose or modest. Exercise clothes are more form fitting to move along with the body and to not restrict movement as much as possible.
For women, wearing basketball shorts can be very awkward and revealing when the shorts ride up or move out of place. So which is more immoral? Seeing a woman’s whole thigh as she is doing crunches or just seeing the shape of it in her form-fitting exercise pants?
The issue of modesty has been talked about in many circles and among many people. In countless Young Women’s classes, our rising generation of women has been taught, “Cover up to help the boys not have bad thoughts.”
Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are counseled to dress modestly. It is our responsibility to do so. But when a woman is dressed appropriately, it is not their fault when men have impure thoughts. To say such an idea is to assume that men have no agency or control of themselves.
“Agency is the ability and privilege God gives us to choose and to act for ourselves,” according to lds.org. So why is it that women everywhere are being blamed for men using their own agency?
It’s the same principle if a woman were to walk through a chocolate aisle, eat everything in it and for a store associate to accept the excuse, “It was right in front of me. I couldn’t help it.”
Part of this life’s challenge is to become the master of our natural instincts and carnal desires. We can blame no one for our thoughts and actions. We each carry the divine right of agency to act and think for ourselves.
No one is forced to use the gym. Just as Joseph fled from Potiphar’s wife, if a young man feels he simply cannot control his thoughts during his workout when a girl is pumping iron in form fitting exercise pants, perhaps he should move to a different part of the gym.
The principle applies to women. If you go to the gym and can’t stop wanting to touch every bicep around you, go work out somewhere else. But if thoughts can’t be controlled in the BYU-I exercise facilities where people are far more modest than any other gym in the country, the issue is no longer yoga pants, but self control or a lack thereof.
“If we are unsure about whether our dress or grooming is modest, we should ask ourselves, ‘Would I feel comfortable with my appearance if I were in the Lord’s presence?’” according to lds.org.
Although we may feel a bit underdressed to be in the Lord’s presence in our workout clothes, we would be comfortable in our yoga pants if we had just come from the gym upon his arrival.