The New York Times came for yoga pants, and women aren't having it

An op-ed in the New York Times has many people seeing red over its claims that yoga pants are “bad for women.”

The column, credited to senior staff editor Honor Jones — though some have speculated that this is a generic pseudonym used by multiple people at the Gray Lady — calls out yoga pants for being too constricting, sexy, and unforgiving. According to the Times, they “threaten to show every dimple and roll in every woman over 30” and offer less comfort and modesty than the baggy sweatpants of yore.

The opinion piece also argues that women wear tight workout leggings to “look hot at the gym,” choosing fashion over functionality.

“We aren’t wearing these workout clothes because they’re cooler or more comfortable,” “Jones” writes. “(You think the selling point of Lululemon’s Reveal Tight Precision pants is really the way their moth-eaten design provides a ‘much-needed dose of airflow’?) We’re wearing them because they’re sexy.”

RELATED: The healthiest states in America:

50 PHOTOS
Healthiest states in America in 2017
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Healthiest states in America in 2017
50. Mississippi ranked as the state with the highest rate of cardiovascular deaths, has a high smoking prevalence, and a high rate of children in poverty. The state does have a relatively low rate of drug overdose deaths.
49. Louisiana has high rates of obesity, physical inactivity, and infant mortality. It also had the highest rate of infection in the US.
48. Arkansas has a high prevalence of obesity, physical inactivity, and smoking. The state also has the fewest dentists per 100,000 people of 50 states.
47. Alabama has a high prevalence of cardiovascular deaths and diabetes and a low number of dentists for its population. The state also has the lowest number of mental health providers.
46. West Virginia has the highest rate of drug overdose deaths in the US, the highest rate of obesity, and the highest rate of smoking, though it also one of the most insured populations in the country and had the highest rate of public health funding per person.
45. Tennessee has a relatively high obesity rate, and a high prevalence of smoking. The state also has among the highest violent crime rates in the country.
44. South Carolina has a fairly high infectious disease rate and at the same time has low teen vaccination rates. The state also has a relatively low number of dentists.
43. Oklahoma, which also rose in the rankings from 2016 when it came in at 46, has a high cardiovascular death rate. Oklahoma also was among the states with the highest uninsured rate, while having a relatively high number of mental health providers.
42. Kentucky, which rose in the rankings from 45 in 2016, has a high prevalence of smoking, along with the highest rate of cancer deaths. Kentucky also had the second highest rate of drug deaths, next to West Virginia. The state also has one of the lowest uninsured rates in the US.
41. Georgia is among the least physically active states, and has some of the highest child poverty rates, and a relatively high percentage of uninsured people. On a more positive note, Georgia was among the states with the least drug overdose death rates.
40. Missouri fell 16 places from 2016's rankings. Missouri has a high rate of violent crime, contributing to its lower ranking.
39. Ohio was one of the states that's experienced the largest increase in drug-related death rates. The state also had relatively high air pollution and smoking rates.
38. Indiana experienced a decrease in air pollution levels in the past five years. The state had relatively lower rates of children in poverty, while its smoking and obesity rates were relatively high.
37. In the last five years, Nevada has seen its cancer death rates decline, while cardiovascular death rates have increased. Smoking rates have also dropped over the last five years. Nevada has among the highest uninsured rates.
36. New Mexico has among the highest rates of premature death and drug deaths, though it has among the lowest rates of cancer and cardiovascular deaths.
35. Michigan has among the lowest public health funding per person, though it does have a relatively low uninsured rate and a high number of primary care doctors.
34. Texas has a relatively low rate of drug deaths, though it does have among the fewest primary care doctors for its population. The state had among the lowest smoking rates as well as cancer death rates.
33. North Carolina has among the highest infectious disease rates, though it had among the highest immunization rates for children. The state also has a higher uninsured rate.
32. Florida improved its rankings in 2017, with the report citing improvements to rankings in children in poverty, and disparity in health status.
31. Arizona has among the most air pollution in the US, along with relatively few mental health providers in the state. The state has low rates of cancer and cardiovascular deaths.
30. Delaware saw a decrease in its cancer death rate over the last five years.
29. Alaska was one of the most physically active states in the US. It also had the second-highest uninsured rate in the country.
28. Pennsylvania is among the states with the highest number of primary care doctors for its population, but it's among the lowest when it comes to mental health providers.
27. Illinois saw a large decrease in smoking rates over the past five years, though obesity prevalence did increase over the same period. Illinois also had the second highest air pollution levels in the US.
26. Wyoming had the least amount of air pollution of the 50 states. The state also had among the lowest rates of diabetes in the country.
25. Kansas saw its obesity prevalence decrease over the past year from 34% of adults to 31%. The state also had among the lowest rates of drug overdose deaths.
24. South Dakota experienced an increase in smoking prevalence over the last five years.
23. Maine dropped in the 2017 rankings from the 15th spot. The state had the least amount of violent crime in the country, and a relatively high number of mental health providers.
22. Montana had relatively low rates of obesity and diabetes, and high rates of physical activity.
21. Wisconsin had the highest rate of excessive drinking in the country. The state also has among the lowest uninsured rates.
20. Oregon is among the most physically active states in the country and is one of the states with the most mental health providers.
19. Virginia has among the lowest rates of drug overdose deaths in the country and a low violent crime rate.
18. North Dakota has low levels of air pollution, and a lower rate of drug overdose deaths. Smoking has become more prevalent in the state over the last five years.
17. California saw a large decrease in the number of people who were uninsured in the state. California also had among the lowest obesity prevalence, and smoking rates. The state did have the most air pollution in the country, however.
16. Maryland has a low prevalence of smoking and child poverty rate, while the state does have relatively high levels of air pollution and a higher violent crime rate.
15. Iowa has one of the lowest rates of drug overdose deaths in the country, and a high insured rate. The state is among the states with the fewest mental health providers, though.
14. Idaho has some of the cleanest air in the US, and a low violent crime rate. The state does have the fewest primary care doctors for its population.
13. Nebraska has the second-lowest rate of drug overdose deaths in the country, though it is among the states with the highest rates of excessive drinking.
12. New Jersey has a low prevalence of smoking and is tied with Massachusetts for the most dentists for its population. The state is also one of the least physically active in the US.
11. Rhode Island has a relatively low rate of uninsured people, but a high rate of drug overdose deaths.
10. Since the start of the health rankings in 1990, New York has risen 30 places to get to #10. The state has among the most primary care doctors for its population and has a relatively low cancer death rate.
9. Washington has a low smoking prevalence and a low rate of physical inactivity.
8. New Hampshire had among the highest rates of drug overdose deaths in the US, while it has the lowest rate of children in poverty and a low violent crime rate.
7. Colorado has the lowest prevalence of both diabetes and obesity in the US. The state also has the second lowest rate of cancer deaths in the country.
6. Minnesota has one of the lowest uninsured populations in the US and the lowest rate of cardiovascular deaths. The state does have a high prevalence of excessive drinking.
5. Connecticut has one of the lowest rates of obesity in the country and has one of the lowest percentages of uninsured people. But the state does have a higher rate of drug overdose deaths.
4. Utah had a meteoric rise in the rankings based in part on its improved rankings in air pollution and immunizations among children. Utah also has the lowest prevalence of smoking and the highest rate of physical activity.
3. Vermont has a low uninsured population, and a low prevalence of diabetes. In the last five years, the drug overdose death rates in the state have increased by 50%.
2. Hawaii, which held the top spot on the health ranking for five years, has a low prevalence of obesity and smoking, along with the second lowest percentage of people who are uninsured.
1. Massachusetts ranked the healthiest state for the first time in the ranking's 28-year history. "Massachusetts’ strengths include the lowest percentage of uninsured at 2.7% of the population, a low prevalence of obesity and a high number of mental health providers," the report said.
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The op-ed goes on to lambaste the booming fitness industry for pressuring women to splurge on pricey gym classes and the latest athleisure looks. But while there’s no doubt that a SoulCycle membership and a gym bag stuffed with Lululemon leggings have a certain prestige, the yoga pants tirade has rubbed many readers the wrong way.

Much of the backlash stems from the implication that yoga pants are too tight and “sexy” to be comfortable, and that anyone with a less-than-perfect body should opt for something slouchier. It’s also worth noting that women who wear workout leggings are often criticized for being overly casual. They’re either too seductive or too sloppy, with women getting shamed either way.

The op-ed does raise one valid point: Sweatpants are comfy too. Still, they’re not for everyone, and nobody should feel pressured to wear one thing over another. A pregnant woman might prefer the stretch of a yoga legging; someone else might want a garment that wicks away sweat, or something tapered that won’t catch on her jump rope or Reformer machine.

Yoga Girl CEO and instructor Rachel Brathen told Yahoo Lifestyle that fashion judgments have no place in the yoga studio.

“I very much disagree [with the article],” she said. “I do not wear yoga pants because they are sexy, and I don’t think many women in the yoga community do. Some might feel sexy in them and wear them for that reason, and in that case, good on them! I am not one to criticize or judge.

“The reason yoga pants are tight-fitting is simple: It makes for a more fluid and comfortable yoga practice,” she continued. “You can practice yoga in anything — yoga pants, sweatpants, naked, what have you. At the end of the day, you should wear what makes you feel comfortable. Clothes shouldn’t be the focus of your practice; your breath should. I find that having to think about my pants sliding down or accidentally stepping on a wide pant leg when I’m transitioning to my Warrior II is a distraction (however minor) and if I can avoid it, I will.”

Bottom line: Wear what suits you, don’t judge others who do the same,  ignore the haters, and brace yourself for the eventual takedown on sports bras. You know it’s coming.

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Activewear products we're currently loving
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