Letter: Free speech, and free to wear what you want

Posted 10/20/16

To the editor:

One of the foundational ethical principles of traditional yoga practice is compassion. Kindness is more to yoga than pants or the considerably less covering garments worn a few …

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Letter: Free speech, and free to wear what you want

Posted

To the editor:

One of the foundational ethical principles of traditional yoga practice is compassion. Kindness is more to yoga than pants or the considerably less covering garments worn a few hundred years ago to do yoga. 

I do feel some compassion toward the letter writer. It is difficult to feel a part of a culture that has changed and morphed and to feel as time goes on that people act and think quite differently than they have during the course of one's life.

Society never stands still... even the waltz was considered scandalous when it was new. But I would hope all of us could learn the flexibility (yoga is about flexibility, after all, of mind and body) to adapt and perhaps look for what we can value in things we are unlikely to change. We cannot dam up the tide of change, but we can choose to ride the waves.

I suppose it would horrify you that I have on occasion worn yoga leggings to church (and I serve on the board of deacons of my church). But those within my spiritual family care more about the content of my character than my choice of clothing. I think there is something to be embraced in not judging on externals.  

We all have things that bother us or make us angry or upset. The big question is what is the best use of the time that we have? There is so much good work to be done is it useful and productive to spend one's time in anger or judgement or criticism? When it is my time to cross the bar I hope I will be known as somebody who tried to light a candle rather than fussing about other people's pants.

I imagine that there will be quite a groundswell of response to this letter, and that a large part of it will be in the vein that this isn't your business and you should keep out of it. I quite understand that feeling, and I agree that my clothing choice really is my business. 

But a more important point is that in a free society just as I have the legal right to wear what I choose you also have the right to voice your opinion publicly. Such public discussion can sometimes lead people to make a decision to change behavior. I doubt that this is going to happen in this case. You do not make a logical case. You just have an aesthetic objection.  

So you can either go out and deal with the pants, stay in and avoid seeing them, or find a society that is willing to limit and punish women's clothing choices. Such societies do exist, but I think you would find that they would limit and punish your freedom of speech as much as they do my pants.

Ariadne Greenberg

Barrington

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